The Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) has released an updated Platform Train Interface Risk Assessment Tool (PTIRAT) for identifying safety concerns and evaluating the efficacy of safety management arrangements on the Platform Train Interface (PTI).

The PTI is where trains and platforms meet, allowing passengers to board and depart from the train, is a crucial element in safeguarding millions of passengers and workers.

The safety board stated that the risk to passengers at the PTI is 48% of the total passenger fatality risk on the mainline railway network, which is equivalent to nearly 13 fatalities each year.

Due to the severe proximity risk posed by the PTI, various train operators, infrastructure managers and industry regulators recognised the need for an integrated risk management strategy.

Six years ago the RSSB announced PTIRAT, which has now introduced recently enhanced features.

RSSB’s principal strategy implementation manager Tony Ellis, highlighted how they have continued to improve their tool, with regard to rail safety, over the six years: “Our newly enhanced PTI Risk Assessment Tool will ensure the rail industry takes a consistent approach in identifying and quantifying risks at the platform train interface – which is one of the highest safety risks areas on the railway.

“The tools new features and functionality were developed following dedicated workshops and extensive feedback and input from RSSB’s members, to ensure it better meets their needs in managing operational safety risks, protects their passengers and employees whilst being confident that they are using a methodology compliant with the associated Rail Industry Standard.”

The upgraded PITRAT features a new user-friendly interface, the capacity to assign actions and keep track of suggestions and a new set of configurable questions allowing for more personalised evaluations.

Users of the tool may now also compare station strengths and shortcomings across multiple locations, making it particularly valuable for railway operators that want to evaluate their safety precautions across different stations and lines.

Another crucial element across rail safety includes level crossings and according to RSSB’s 2023 annual health and safety report, level crossings account for about 6% of the total mainline system risk.

The safety board said after the pandemic there has been a rise in the number of near misses with pedestrians at level crossings.

As a safety warning, Network Rail released a compilation of CCTV footage showing people risking their lives at footpath level crossings.

Network Rail Level crossing safety manager Alexandra France emphasised the danger at crossings and how recent incidents are a warning call: “In so many of the incidents filmed, the difference of just a few seconds could have led to tragedy for those involved. I can’t downplay the danger they were in – with a serious injury or worse a huge possibility.

“No matter how well you think you know a crossing, all users must obey the rules around using level crossings every time they use it. It just really isn’t worth the risk.”

It is the second safety warning due to dangerous actions on UK railways in two weeks. British Transport Police put out the first warning after two teens suffered serious injuries on rail tracks.