Are at­tacks dead­lier on ‘walk-through’ trains?

Daily Mail - - Terror On The Tube - By James Sal­mon Trans­port Cor­re­spon­dent j.sal­mon@dai­ly­mail.co.uk

YES­TER­DAY’S ter­ror at­tack raised safety con­cerns about the new gen­er­a­tion of ‘walk-through’ Lon­don Un­der­ground trains.

Pas­sen­gers said the ex­plo­sion from the im­pro­vised de­vice sent a ‘wall of fire’ through car­riages on the packed train at Par­sons Green sta­tion.

The car­riages have no in­ter­con­nect­ing doors, mean­ing pas­sen­gers can walk through the whole train. The de­sign al­lowed the fire to spread through the car­riages.

The District Line S-Stock train af­fected yes­ter­day has a ca­pac­ity of nearly 1,000 peo­ple.

The trains were in­tro­duced in 2010 to pro­vide more ca­pac­ity.

Will Ged­des, chief ex­ec­u­tive of se­cu­rity con­sul­tants ICP, said there were ‘ pros and cons’ with walkthrough trains.

‘If there is an ex­plo­sion it is more eas­ily con­tained within a sin­gu­lar car­riage,’ he said.

‘The blast could spread out fur­ther caus­ing a larger num­ber of fa­tal­i­ties and ca­su­al­ties. But in other cases, for ex­am­ple if there is a lu­natic with a ma­chete, walkthrough car­riages make it eas­ier to es­cape. They also make it eas­ier for first aiders and po­lice to re­spond to an in­ci­dent.’

Mr Ged­des said there was no ‘clear cut’ an­swer, be­cause in some cases the blast from a bomb could be more lethal if con­cen­trated in a sin­gle car­riage.

The S-Stock trains fully re­placed the old tube trains on the District Line ear­lier this year. The old trains had sep­a­rate car­riages and were built in the 1970s and 80s. The S7 ver­sion can hold up to 951 pas­sen­gers, with 256 seats and space for 695 stand­ing.

The older D- Stock trains had more seats but space for only 800 pas­sen­gers.

The S7 model has been grad­u­ally in­tro­duced since 2010 on the District, Cir­cle, and Ham­mer­smith & City Lines.

The longer S8 ver­sion, which con­sists of eight car­riages rather than seven, runs on the Metropoli­tan Line. Trans­port for Lon­don paid Cana­dian firm Bombardier around £1.5bil­lion to build 192 trains at its plant in Derby, which em­ploys 2,000 staff.

As well as be­ing able to carry more pas­sen­gers, bosses at TfL wanted the trains to feel safer.

The walk-through trains mean women trav­el­ling alone at night can more eas­ily switch car­riages.

The newer trains have CCTV through­out and are de­signed to make it eas­ier for pas­sen­gers to es­cape any danger. They are big­ger and brighter than the old trains, with big­ger win­dows, air con­di­tion­ing and des­ig­nated spa­ces for wheel­chairs.

In the UK, walk-through trains also op­er­ate on the Lon­don Over­ground. Walk-through trains are in­creas­ingly com­mon on metro ser­vices around the world, in­clud­ing in Paris, New York, Toronto and Tokyo. The Depart­ment for Trans­port, TfL and Bombardier de­clined to com­ment.

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