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Tragic Taiyah Peebles’ mum backs call for rail platform safety barriers

By Gerry Warren

The mum of a Canterbury schoolgirl killed on train tracks believes her daughter would still be alive if there had been safety barriers at the end of the platform.

Grief-stricken Hayley Peebles says her life has been turned upside down by the death of 16-year-old Taiyah Peebles, who was found on the line in July, thought to have been electrocuted.

She is backing a petition started by a friend calling for better safety measures at all stations, including Herne Bay where the tragedy occurred.

Taiyah-Grace Peebles who died on the railway line
Taiyah-Grace Peebles who died on the railway line

And now Network Rail says it will install fencing at the end of the town’s station platforms by the end of the week.

Spires Academy pupil Taiyah got off a late-night train at Herne Bay after a night out in Whitstable with friends.

CCTV shows the last image of her wandering down the platform before she somehow ended up on the tracks.

Her body was discovered early the following morning, although she had not been hit by a train.

School kitchen assistant Hayley is convinced that if there had been barriers to stop her walking onto the line, the tragedy would never have happened.

“I don’t want any other family to go through what we are and I just hope that by getting some sort of barrier at the end of the platforms, it might prevent another tragedy,” she said.

“Even building sites have to have security fences around them for health and safety, so why not railway platforms when there is a live rail so close?”

Hayley, 46, has not been back to work since the tragedy and has moved away from her former home in Spenser Road, Herne Bay, to live with a friend in Bexhill.

She said: “I just couldn’t stay there with so many memories of Taiyah and I can’t go near a railway station. I am on tablets for anxiety and sometimes I feel like I am having a meltdown.

The scene from the platform at Herne Bay railway station near where Taiyah was found
The scene from the platform at Herne Bay railway station near where Taiyah was found

“It seems never-ending because we have still got Taiyah’s inquest and that of her dad Paul to go through.”

Taiyah’s father Paul Butters was found dead at his home in Wellington Crescent, Ramsgate, a month after his daughter’s death.

The petition for extra safety measures at all rail stations is on change.org and was started by Taiyah’s friend Georgia Kirsten.

Hayley added: “This is about making sure all stations are safe, especially for children, because it could happen anywhere.

“I am just hoping that some good can come out of Taiyah’s death.”

Network Rail spokesman Carl Ferguson said: “Our thoughts remain with Taiyah’s family and friends following this tragic incident.

Taiyah's mum Hayley Peebles: Picture: BBC South East
Taiyah's mum Hayley Peebles: Picture: BBC South East

“Safety is always our top priority and we continue to work with British Transport Police and the Samaritans, going out to schools and youth groups to talk about the risks associated with the railways.

“While Herne Bay is not one of our higher risk locations, we will be installing platform-end fencing at the station, which we hope will be completed by the end of this week.”

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