Tactile strips should be installed on railway station platform edges at high-risk locations following the death of a visually impaired passenger at Eden Park, according to a report.

The lack of a distinctive surface to assist people with vision loss was a “possible causal factor” in Cleveland Gervais, 53, falling onto the tracks and being struck by a train, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said.

Mr Gervais was probably unaware he was close to the edge when he fell from the platform at Eden Park station, near Bromley on February 26 last year, according to the report.

The report also revealed that ambulance staff had to wait 12 minutes after arriving at the scene before they could treat Mr Gervais, as staff were unable to determine whether the third rail had been turned off without someone from Network Rail being present.

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Chief inspector of rail accidents, Simon French, said: “Our investigation concluded that the absence of a tactile strip along the platform edge may have been a factor in this accident.

“These strips are used to provide visually impaired passengers with an indication that they are approaching the platform edge.”

He added: “Although RAIB (Rail Accident Investigation Branch) recognises that the immediate provision of tactile strips across the network would be very expensive, there is a need to develop a new policy to guide decision makers.

“This would inform the development of a programme for installation of tactile strips, particularly at places where the risk is likely to be higher, such as busy unstaffed stations.

“It cannot always make sense simply to wait until platforms are refurbished to install the strips.”

The report makes six recommendations aimed at improving the safety of visually impaired people at train stations.

The first and second addressed to Department for Transport and Network Rail; to seek improvements in the processes that govern when tactile surfaces at the edge of station platforms should be installed, and develop a plan for installing tactile surfaces at higher priority locations.

The third is addressed to the Rail Delivery Group to develop means of reducing the risk to visually impaired people using station platforms where tactile surfaces have not yet been installed.

The fourth is addressed to Office of Rail and Road, a Government Department, and seeks improvements in the information made publicly available to help visually impaired people to decide whether it is safe to travel.

The fifth is addressed to RSSB, to develop processes to ensure that the rail industry has sufficient information, guidance and decision-support tools to fully address the safety risks associated with disabled people using the railway.

A sixth recommendation is addressed to the British Transport Police, National Fire Chiefs Council, Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, London Fire Brigade, London Ambulance Service and Network Rail to improve the processes associated with emergency services staff responding to incidents on the national rail network.