LONDON - A man tries to kick a train station pigeon, misses and falls onto the tracks; a seemingly insensible figure tumbles over and over on an escalator; another man staggers against a moving train before falling underneath.
Drunken Brits have become so much of a problem for the U.K.'s main rail infrastructure company that it has issued a public education film to warn of the dangers.
Network Rail launched the safety campaign, saying one person had been killed and more than 1,600 people had been hurt after slipping or tripping at the country’s main stations in the past year.
And a major factor appears to be that many of the victims were heavily intoxicated.
“We do everything we can to make moving around our stations as easy and safe as possible, but our teams deal with far too many people who have injured themselves where it appears alcohol has been a factor,” Robin Gisby, the firm’s managing director for network operations, said in a statement Wednesday.
“We want people to enjoy their evenings and get home safe. The only thing I want to see fall is the number of incidents, so hopefully the campaign will be a gentle reminder for people to take extra care as they travel home through our stations.”
British Transport Police Deputy Chief Constable Paul Crowther sounded a little weary about the level of liquor consumption.
“Somewhat inevitably, drinking alcohol can impair people’s judgment and coordination. Encouraging passengers to be more aware of their surroundings, particularly when they have had a drink, and to be alert to the inherent dangers that exist in stations will, we hope, reduce avoidable slips and falls across the network,” he said.
The video showed a clip from security cameras at Scotland's Edinburgh Waverley station in which two men dressed in kilts – possibly supporters of Scotland’s rugby or football teams – on a platform.
One tries to kick out at a pigeon but misses and his momentum causes him to fall onto the tracks in front of a stationary train.
“The pigeon will always win when you are beer-goggled,” the caption says, using a slang term for the altered perceptions of a drunk.
A video from Leeds station in northern England shows a figure rolling over and over again at the bottom of an up-escalator in a scene reminiscent of a silent comedy film. A passer-by tries to walk down the escalator to help, but struggles to make progress.
The third clip shows an apparently drunk man stumbling close to the edge of a platform at Manchester Piccadilly station, also in northern England. He staggers against the side of the train, rolls forward and then onto the tracks below.
“Thankfully none of those involved sustained any permanent injuries – but no doubt bruised their pride,” Network Rail said in the statement.
The single fatality occurred in March this year when a man fell down stairs at Leeds station. The statement said the circumstances of the death were still to be determined by a formal inquiry.
First published August 1 2013, 1:55 AM