Press Release from the UK Rail Accident Investigation Branch: Investigation into a fatal accident at Grosmont, North Yorkshire Moors Railway, on 21 May 2012
The RAIB is carrying out an investigation into a fatal accident involving a volunteer member of railway staff who was carrying out guard’s duties on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. This is a standard gauge heritage railway running from Pickering to Grosmont.
The accident occurred at about 12:10 hrs on 21 May 2012, following the uncoupling of a coach from the end of a rake of coaches stabled in one of the platforms at Grosmont. As the uncoupled coach was being drawn off by a steam locomotive working tender first, the direction of the movement changed, causing the locomotive and coach to move back towards the rake of vehicles from which they had been uncoupled. This resulted in the guard, who was carrying out the actions necessary following the uncoupling, being crushed between the coaches.
The RAIB’s preliminary examination and tests found that when the steam locomotive concerned (an ex Southern Railway S15 class) was working tender first, the reverser could change from reverse to forward gear unless it was prevented from doing so by the operation of a locking device. Should the reverser not be secured in position, any change may not be noticed by the driver and, in these circumstances, would only become evident on opening the regulator, when a change in direction would occur.
The RAIB’s investigation is independent of any investigations by the safety authority (the Office of Railway Regulation) or the British Transport Police (BTP).
The RAIB will publish its findings, including any learning points to improve safety, at the conclusion of the investigation. This will be available on the RAIB website.