Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Sliding Door Trains Would Have Saved My Daughter'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Sliding Door Trains Would Have Saved My Daughter'

Article excerpt


THE family of a City worker who fell to her death from a slam door train have blamed the rail industry for failing to improve safety standards.

The parents of Joanne Swain, 29, believe she would still be alive if new sliding door carriages had been introduced on commuter routes into London instead of lying idle at depots.

A police investigation into the death of Miss Swain, whose body was discovered next to tracks near Paddock Wood station in Kent, has concluded that she may have opened the train door thinking she had arrived at her station.

Miss Swain, a "bright and vivacious" employee of the ABN Amro investment bank, was last seen boarding a late-night Connex service from London Bridge to Canterbury West on 18 January.

Her father Richard Swain, 59, blamed train companies for continuing to use antiquated carriages with slam doors, which unlike sliding doors can be opened by passengers while in transit.

He is angry that more than 100 sliding door trains bought by Connex last year for about [pound]220 million - for use on main commuter routes including the one his daughter travelled on - are still lying idle at Ashford and Derby because they don't work properly.

Mr Swain, from Staplehurst, said: "The fact is my daughter would not have died if she had been travelling on a sliding door train because she wouldn't have been able to open the door.

"It's incredible that Connex has sliding door trains sitting at Ashford but no one has the technology to get them moving. Given the record of accidents involving slam door trains, getting rid of them should be a priority. The rail industry needs to get its finger out."

The train on which Miss Swain had been travelling was impounded by scenes of crime officers, and tests have found nothing wrong with the closing mechanisms of the doors. …

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