Merseyrail must cut platform gaps after Georgia Varley death

CCTV image showing Georgia on the platform
Image caption Georgia Varley fell between the train and the platform at James Street station in Liverpool

Merseyrail has been told it must reduce platform gaps and improve emergency stop procedures following the death of a teenager at a Liverpool station.

Georgia Varley, 16, from Moreton, Wirral, died in October 2011 after falling between the train and the platform at James Street station.

Guard Christopher McGee, 45, was jailed for five years for her manslaughter by gross negligence.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said improvements must be made.

During McGee's trial at Liverpool Crown Court, the jury was told he had given the signal for the train to depart while Ms Varley, who was drunk, was leaning against it.

A blood analysis following her death showed she had 236mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in her system - the legal driving limit is 80mg.

Safety 'paramount'

She also had the drug mephedrone, also known as M-cat, in her system at the time of her death.

McGee, from Wallasey, was sentenced earlier this month.

The RAIB said Merseyrail systems should be improved so the guard could look out of the train for as long as possible, ideally until a train had left a station.

It also said the driver should be able to stop the train quickly in an emergency.

In addition, it said it should reduce the likelihood of falls through the platform edge gap, either by installing platform edge gap fillers or adding a plate or vehicle body side panel to the edge of its trains.

A spokeswoman for Merseyrail said: "Following the publication today of the RAIB report about the accident at James Street station on 22 October 2011, Merseyrail's thoughts and deepest sympathies remain with the family and friends of Georgia Varley.

"The safety of passengers remains of paramount importance to us and we respect the analysis and conclusions of this independent report.

"Merseyrail will respond constructively to the recommendations made to us, believing that the report contributes positively to the continuous improvement of safety, not only on our own system, but throughout the UK rail network."

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