Mother and young son in ‘near miss’ on South Devon train

A MAJOR investigation was launched after a mother saved her young son from falling through the open floor of a toilet compartment on a moving South Devon Railway train.

The service from Totnes Riverside to Buckfastleigh had just passed Staverton on June 22, when the pair opened the door of the lavatory compartment on the fourth carriage. They found that the floor was missing, exposing the wheels below.

The view through the toilet floor to the coach underframe and tracks. SDR

The mother managed to catch hold of her son and stop him falling through the hole on to the undercarriage and tracks. He was reported to have suffered minor bruising, while both were in shock. The train was travelling at around 20mph at the time.

The mother reported the incident to the guard of the train, and the lavatory door was secured. The incident was reported to the Rail Accident Investigation

The BR Mk.1 Open Second coach had undergone repairs to its brakes and the toilet floor was removed to allow the work to take place. The floor was not replaced afterwards and staff had placed a notice on the toilet and made attempts to secure the door – but they had not worked.

Read more in Issue 231 of HR – on sale now!

Enjoy more Heritage Railway reading in the four-weekly magazine. Click here to subscribe.