UK Rail Accident Investigation Board Press Releases About Train Accidents in the UK
First Press Release…
Buffer stop collision at Chester station
At 12:10 hrs on Wednesday 20 November 2013 a passenger train collided with the buffer stop at the end of platform 1 at Chester station and became derailed. The train involved was the 10:10 hrs Virgin Trains service from London Euston to Chester. Two passengers on the train were slightly injured in the collision.
As the train approached Chester station the driver applied the brakes to reduce the speed for the 20 mph speed limit into the platforms. The weather at the time had been dry but a rain shower was just starting and the adhesion between the wheels and rails was reduced. The train’s wheel slide protection system detected that the wheels were sliding on the rails, regulated the application of the brakes, and the train was able to achieve a rate of deceleration sufficient to bring its speed down to within the speed limit as it approached the station.
As the train approached the platform the driver lightly applied the brakes again but the wheels immediately started to slide. Despite the immediate automatic activation of the wheel slide protection system, the train’s deceleration was insufficient to bring it down to a safe speed as it moved along the platform. Consequently, the emergency brakes were applied by train protection and warning system and the driver pressed the emergency stop button very shortly afterwards. The combination of emergency braking and the detection of wheel slide triggered the automatic sanding system on the leading vehicle to drop sand onto the rail head.
The presence of the sand improved adhesion for the wheels that ran over it and the speed was reduced before the train collided with the buffer stop at the end of the platform.
The buffer stop was of an old design with only minimal capacity to absorb energy. The train destroyed it before overriding its remains to mount the platform where it came to rest. The front bogie was lifted off the track as the front of the leading vehicle rode up onto the platform.
Platform 1 was closed to traffic until the following day for recovery of the train and repair of the track and buffer stop.
The RAIB’s investigation will seek to identify the sequence of events. It will include consideration of the braking system on this train, in particular the wheel slide protection system and the sanding equipment. It will also consider adhesion conditions in the area at the time (using information from other trains that experienced low adhesion conditions that day), the condition of the rails on the approach to the platform and the efficacy of any actions taken to treat the rail head.
The RAIB will also take into consideration the findings from other similar events that the RAIB has investigated; most notably the investigation into a series of low adhesion events in the autumn of 2005 (RAIB report 25/2006, parts 1 to 3).
The RAIB’s investigation is independent of any investigation by the Office of Rail Regulation.
The RAIB will publish its findings, including any recommendations to improve safety, at the conclusion of its investigation. This report will be available on the RAIB website.
Second Press Release…
Barratt’s Lane No.2 footpath crossing (image courtesy of BTP)
Fatal accident at Barratt’s Lane No.2 footpath crossing, Attenborough, Nottinghamshire
The RAIB is investigating a fatal accident that occurred at Barratt’s Lane No.2 footpath crossing, at Attenborough, Nottinghamshire, on Saturday 26 October 2013. At about 14:50 hrs, an elderly female pedestrian who was crossing the railway, was struck by a train travelling from Nottingham to Birmingham, and killed instantly.
The crossing, which is over two tracks, links two residential areas. Immediately prior to the accident another train, travelling towards Nottingham, had been stopped at a signal near to the crossing and its presence may have distracted the pedestrian.
The RAIB’s investigation will identify the sequence of events which led to the accident and any factors which may have influenced the actions of the user. It will also examine:
• Network Rail’s management of the crossing; and
• the history of the crossing.
The RAIB’s investigation is independent of any investigation by the safety authority (the Office of Rail Regulation) or the British Transport Police.
The RAIB will publish a report, including any recommendations to RAIB website.