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Speed was a factor in railway crash

By MIG2-Nuneaton News  |  Posted: August 09, 2013

By LISA BUCKLEY

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AN INVESTIGATION into a railway collision has concluded that speed was a factor.

A crash occurred near to Arley last August involving a stoneblower and ballast regulator during engineering work.

Now the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has released a report into the incident which left a worker injured and the line closed for a couple of hours.

The crash occurred at around 4.21am on Friday, 10 August 2012, when an engineering machine used for maintaining track, known as a stoneblower, collided with a stationary engineering machine, at approximately 22mph near to Arley.

A member of staff on the stoneblower was treated in hospital for a minor injury. The stoneblower was badly damaged and deemed to be beyond economic repair.

The investigation found that when the stoneblower driver sighted the stationary machine he was driving too fast to avoid a collision.

The report found that the driver’s speed was probably influenced by a number of factors which led him to expect that the line was clear.

It is also possible that the driver was distracted immediately prior to the collision which caused him to be driving faster than he realised.

“If planned arrangements for the engineering work had been followed the collision would not have occurred,” said a spokesman for the RAIB.

“An underlying cause of this accident is the tendency of long worksites, in the absence of controls to keep engineering trains (including machines) apart, to increase the risk of collision.

“Although not a factor in this accident, it is observed that, for driving at night, the 40 mph maximum speed of travel permitted in engineering worksites is incompatible with the braking and headlight capabilities of the type of engineering machine involved in the collision. The report observes a number of non-compliances with railway industry rules and company procedures during the management of the engineering work.

“There is also an observation on the difficulties of maintaining the necessary discipline in the driving cab, where mobile telephones are used for communications, to avoid distracting the driver.

The RAIB has made three recommendations to Network Rail.

These relate to:

* Undertaking a fundamental review of the fitness for purpose of the current arrangements as part of its planned review of the management of engineering work.

* Implementing measures to ensure that train drivers are given all the information they need to make movements safely and to address issues on the use of intermediaries when conveying information to drivers.

* Addressing a recurrence of specific behavioural issues at its Saltley depot, which the RAIB noted in a previous investigation.

The purpose of RAIB investigations is to prevent future accidents and incidents and improve railway safety, although it does not establish blame, liability or carry out prosecutions.

The RAIB operates, as far as possible, in an open and transparent manner.

Its investigations are independent of the railway industry, however it maintains close liaison with companies and if it discovers matters that may affect safety, it makes sure that information is circulated to the right people as soon as possible.

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