RAIB has today released its report into a freight train collision near Logan, East Ayrshire, 1 August 2015.

2016-07-13 13_32_00-R132016_160713_Logan.pdf - Nitro Reader 3

Aerial image of the accident site (image courtesy of Network Rail)

On 1 August 2015 at about 11:11 hrs, a freight train travelling within a work site collided with the rear of a stationary freight train at 28 mph (45 km/h).

Engineering staff had authorised the driver of the moving freight train to enter the work site at New Cumnock station, travel about 3 miles (4.8 km) to the start of a track renewal site, and bring the train to a stand behind the stationary train.

There were no injuries but the locomotive and seven wagons from the moving train and eleven wagons from the stationary train were derailed; the locomotive and derailed wagons were damaged. One wagon came to rest across a minor road. There was also substantial damage to the track on both railway lines.

The immediate cause was that the moving train was travelling too fast to stop short of the rear of the stationary train when its driver first sighted the train ahead. This was due to a combination of the train movement in the work site not taking place at the default speed of 5 mph (8 km/h) or at caution, as required by railway rules, and the driver of the moving train believing that the stationary train was further away than it actually was.

An underlying cause was that drivers often do not comply with the rules that require movements within a work site to be made at a speed of no greater than 5 mph (8 km/h) or at caution.

Recommendations

As a consequence of this investigation, RAIB has made four recommendations addressed to freight operating companies.

One relates to the monitoring of drivers when they are driving trains within possessions and work sites.

Two recommendations relate to implementing a method of formally recording information briefed to drivers about making train movements in possessions and work sites.

A further recommendation relates to investigating the practicalities of driving freight trains in possessions and work sites for long distances at a speed of 5 mph (8 km/h) or at other slow speeds, and taking action to address any identified issues.

RAIB has also identified three learning points including:

  • the importance of providing drivers with all of the information they need to carry out movements in possessions and work sites safely
  • a reminder to provide drivers (before they start a driving duty) with information about how and when they will be relieved
  • the importance of engineering staff giving instructions to drivers through a face to face conversation when it is safe and practicable to do so.

On publication of RAIB’s report concerning a freight train collision near Logan, East Ayrshire Simon French, Chief Inspector of Rail Accidents, said:

“Collisions between trains within a work site create the potential for very serious harm to those involved, major damage and days of disruption to the travelling public. I believe that our report on the collision near Logan will provide an important insight into the types of issues that need to be addressed if the risk is to be more effectively managed.

“Train movements within work sites and possessions are not regulated by normal railway signalling systems – which is why special care is needed to make sure that trains are always able to stop in the distance that the driver can see to be clear, and that communications between drivers and engineering staff are precise and mutually understood.

“In the past ten years there have been six significant collisions between trains in work sites. A number of recommendations have been made by RAIB to address the ways that movements of trains in work sites are regulated, and ways of ensuring clear and accurate communications. Although I am disappointed that these recommendations have not yet led to substantive action to fix the problem, I am encouraged to see that the railway industry has now decided to reconsider some of the issues.

“Driving heavy freight trains over long distances within a work site or possession, and ensuring that the train can stop in the distance seen to be clear, is a very different challenge to driving a freight train on an open line. ‘Line of sight driving’ at speeds above 5 mph requires high levels of discipline and concentration, as well as detailed knowledge of the line ahead so that drivers do not find themselves travelling too fast. I hope that RAIB’s recommendations will lead to a careful evaluation of:

  • what practical steps can be taken to reduce the lengths of worksites
  • the skills needed to drive freight trains over long distances without the protection of signals in work sites and possessions
  • the human factors that may influence the behaviour of drivers and their ability to drive trains at an appropriate speed in work sites and possessions
  • ways of monitoring the performance of drivers when driving in work sites and possessions
  • ways of conveying important information to drivers when entering work sites and possessions so as to minimise the risk of confusion and misunderstandings.”

R132016_160713_Logan PDF, 7.76MB, 61 pages

Rail Accident Investigation Branch has today released its report into a tram collision with a pedestrian near Market Street tram stop, Manchester, 12 May 2015.

2016-04-12 12_30_17-R062016_160412_Market_Street.pdf - Nitro Reader 3

At about 11:13 hrs on Tuesday 12 May 2015, a tram collided with and seriously injured a pedestrian, shortly after leaving Market Street tram stop in central Manchester. The pedestrian had just alighted from the tram and was walking along the track towards Piccadilly.

The accident occurred because the pedestrian did not move out of the path of the tram and because the driver did not apply the tram’s brakes in time to avoid striking the pedestrian.

Recommendations

As a result of this accident, RAIB has made three recommendations. One is made to Metrolink RATP Dev Ltd in conjunction with Transport for Greater Manchester, to review the assessment of risk from tram operations throughout the pedestrianised area in the vicinity of Piccadilly Gardens.

A second is made to UK Tram, to make explicit provision for the assessment of risk, in areas where trams and pedestrians/cyclists share the same space, in its guidance for the design and operation of urban tramways.

A further recommendation is made to Metrolink RATP Dev Ltd, to improve its care of staff involved in an accident.

Rail Accident Investigation Branch has today released its report into a passenger train derailment at Godmersham, Kent, 26 July 2015

2016-04-06 18_33_28-R052016_160406_Godmersham.pdf - Nitro Reader 3

At around 21:40 hrs on 26 July 2015, a passenger train derailed after striking eight cows that had gained access to the railway at Godmersham in Kent, between Wye and Chilham stations. There had been a report of a cow on the railway an hour earlier, but a subsequent examination by the driver of the next passing train did not find anything. There were no further reports from other trains that passed before the accident occurred.

The train involved in the accident was travelling at 69 mph (111 km/h) at the point of impact. There were 67 passengers on board plus three members of staff; no injuries were reported at the time of the accident. Because the train’s radio had ceased to work during the accident, the driver ran for about three-quarters of a mile towards an oncoming train, which had already been stopped by the signaller, and used its radio to report the accident.

The accident occurred because the fence had not been maintained so as to restrain cows from breaching it, and because the railway’s response to the earlier report of a cow on the railway side of the fence was insufficient to prevent the accident. In addition, the absence of an obstacle deflector on the leading unit of the train made the derailment more likely.

Recommendations

As a result of this accident, RAIB has made five recommendations addressing the fence inspection process, clarification of railway rules in response to reports of large animals within the boundary fence, the fitting of obstacle deflectors to rolling stock (two recommendations), and the reliability of the train radio equipment.

RAIB has also identified two learning points for the railway industry, relating to the railway’s response to emergency situations, including the response to reports of large animals within the boundary fence and the actions to take following an accident.