Australia

'Let my accident be a warning': Blind train accident victim weighs in on safety concerns

A design fault in new Sydney trains leaves guards with 15-second blind spot when departing stations. (AAP)

A man who fell between a train and a platform wants the accident that cost him an arm, a leg and part of his ear to serve as a warning to the NSW government.

Martin Stewart almost lost his life when he fell between a train and platform in Melbourne, and now wants his accident to serve as a warning to the NSW government.

Blind since birth, in 2002 Mr Stewart lost an arm, a leg and part of an ear when he was dragged under the train for 200m.

The train had recently had its guards removed, so there was no one to hear his desperate calls for help.

On Friday, Mr Stewart will join the Rail, Tram and Bus Union at the Fair Work Commission in an attempt to convince the NSW government to fix a design fault on its new intercity fleet.

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Watch: Close call for child after falling through gap at Sydenham station in Sydney.
Watch: Close call for child after falling through gap at Sydenham station in Sydney.

Mr Stewart says the fault means train guards cannot open their door to check on commuters as the train prepares to depart - leaving a 15-second blind spot where adults or children could fall between the gap.

"Unless the design fault with these trains is rectified, there's no doubt we'll see accidents like mine here in NSW," Mr Stewart said in a statement on Thursday.

"Let my accident be a warning - we can't afford not to allow guards to conduct their safety-critical role on NSW trains."

A spokesperson for NSW TrainLink said the safety of customers and staff had been paramount in the design of the new intercity fleet.

Commuters are seen at Central Station  - Sydney's biggest train station - on Wednesday, January 10, 2018.
Commuters at Central Station.
AAP

"Guards will use CCTV during train departure so they no longer need to lean out of door of a moving train to inspect a platform," the spokeswoman said in a statement to AAP.

"CCTV cameras offer guards full visibility of the entire length of the train, even on curved platforms and in bad weather."

However, RTBU NSW secretary Alex Claassens rejected Trainlink's safety assurances.

"The bureaucrats ... will try and claim that all the safety aspects are covered and that there's nothing to worry about. That's simply not true," he said in a statement.

"This design fault is bad for commuters, bad for the train guards, and bad for other workers like the train drivers who are already under immense pressure. The mental and emotional toll traumatic incidents take on everyone involved is immeasurable."

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