TfL: Woman who lost limbs in Northern line station Tube accident takes transport authority to court

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Sarah de Lagarde was seriously injured when she was hit by two Northern line trains at High Barnet after falling on the tracks.

Woman who lost an arm and a leg when she was run over by two Tube trains has issued a legal claim against Transport for London (TfL)

Sarah de Lagarde was travelling home from work on September 30 2022 when she slipped on a "wet and uneven platform" at High Barnet Station and fell onto the track. She was run over by the train she had been travelling on as it pulled out of the station and then by a second train as it pulled in.

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Ms de Lagarde, from north London, survived the incident and has been fitted with a prosthetic leg and an arm which uses AI technology.

The legal claim, filed at the High Court, argues that safety failings by TfL led her to remain on the tracks undetected by staff for 15 minutes despite her screams for help. The claim questions whether TfL breached its own safety procedures and whether those procedures are fit for purpose.

Ms de Lagarde said "On September 30 2022, I was travelling home from work on the Tube when I slipped on a wet and uneven platform at High Barnet Station on the Northern line. I fell down the gap between the train and the platform. I was wearing a bright pink coat and had a neon phone lanyard. I have white blonde hair.

"The driver didn’t see me fall because he had already left his cab to take a break. There were no staff on that platform and no one was watching the CCTV. No one had responded to my screams for help."

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She said she remained on the tracks for 15 minutes before anyone came to help but "by that point it was too late".

"My laptop bag had become wedged between the train and the platform," she said. "When the driver of the tube returned from his toilet break, he saw my bag, picked it up, assumed it was lost property and returned to his cab. If only he had looked down the gap, he would have seen or heard me. Instead he drove off and 22 tonnes of steel crushed my limbs.

"But it got worse. I remained on the tracks undetected until the second train came into the station. I was crushed a second time. I was lying across the tracks. With my bright pink coat. My white blonde hair. I have no idea how the second driver did not see me. The vision of those train lights coming towards me and the noise of those giant steel wheels will haunt me for the rest of my life."

She said the "thought of my children kept me conscious".

Sarah de Lagarde is taking TfL to court following a Tube station accident in which she lost an arm and a leg.Sarah de Lagarde is taking TfL to court following a Tube station accident in which she lost an arm and a leg.
Sarah de Lagarde is taking TfL to court following a Tube station accident in which she lost an arm and a leg.

TfL denies liability and having caused the incident, arguing that Sarah’s injuries were the result of a series of unfortunate events.

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An investigation into Ms de Lagarde's accident was carried out by TfL and the Office of Rail and Road Accident Investigation Branch was notified, but concluded no further investigation was necessary.

Sarah de Lagarde said: “This incident has left me with devastating injuries which affect every aspect of my life, yet TfL continues to deny any responsibility or address the serious safety concerns that have been raised. What happened to me could have happened to anyone and, since my accident, I have been contacted by many people with safety fears or who have experienced near misses on the tube network. I believe TfL is putting millions of people at risk every day. It is vital that it learns lessons from my case to make a safer network for everyone and stop incidents like this happening again.”

Leigh Day partner Thomas Jervis, representing Ms de Lagarde said: “What happened to Sarah should be regarded as a never event. The number of serious incidents and fatalities that occur when people are using our public transport system is deeply concerning. This incident has obviously had a devastating impact on Sarah and her family and she will not stop until she obtains justice.”

Nick Dent, director of customer operations at London Underground, said: “TfL is responding to a legal claim which has been brought by solicitors on behalf of Sarah De Lagarde and I am not in a position to comment publicly further.

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“However, our thoughts continue to be with Sarah and her family following the devastating incident at High Barnet station and we have offered her direct support.

“Safety is our top priority and we continue to take every possible measure to learn from any incident and put in place appropriate improvements.”

An investigation was carried out into the incident at High Barnet by TfL, and the Office of Rail and Road and the Rail Accident Investigation Branch were notified. The Office of Rail and Road investigated and closed its investigation in February 2023. The Rail Accident Investigation Branch concluded an investigation was not required.

A spokesperson for mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: "The mayor's thoughts remain with Sarah and her loved ones. He has asked to be kept updated and is very keen to meet with Sarah once the claim is resolved.”

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Anyone affected by serious incidents on the TfL network can contact the Sarah Hope Line on 0343 222 5678 from Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm. The service is run by TfL staff to provide practical, financial and emotional help. They can make referrals for counselling and specialised support.

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