RAIB is­sues safety re­minders af­ter Padding­ton de­rail­ment

Rail (UK) - - Network News -

The Rail Ac­ci­dent In­ves­ti­ga­tion Branch (RAIB) is­sued an ur­gent Safety Di­gest on Au­gust 18, fol­low­ing the de­rail­ment of a Class 165 diesel mul­ti­ple unit at Padding­ton on June 16 ( RAIL 804).

The RAIB is re­mind­ing rail­way op­er­a­tors of the im­por­tance of driv­ers us­ing the re­sources avail­able to them to re­fresh knowl­edge of track lay­outs and sig­nals that they do not drive over reg­u­larly, as well as as­sess­ing the risk of us­ing trap points to pro­tect lines and why as­sess­ments should in­clude ex­am­i­na­tion of the po­ten­tial con­se­quences of de­rail­ing.

It also says driv­ers should be alert to the pos­si­bil­ity that when a po­si­tion light sig­nal is cleared, the route may only be set as far as an­other po­si­tion light sig­nal rather than to a main sig­nal or buf­fer stops, and that it is im­por­tant sig­nallers com­ply with any lo­cal in­struc­tions ap­pli­ca­ble to clear­ing po­si­tion light sig­nals when a route can­not be set all the way to a main sig­nal or buf­fer stops.

The train in­volved was an empty stock work­ing (3H52) that was planned to cou­ple to a train at Plat­form 1 to strengthen the ser­vice. It was be­ing held in Royal Oak sid­ings along with the other unit that would form the train (5H52).

The for­mer was switched to strengthen the 1818 Padding­ton to Ox­ford rather than the 1812 to Hen­ley-on-Thames. The sig­naller routed train 5H52 to sig­nal SN6004 to clear space in the sid­ings for an­other empty stock train. The short-formed 5H52 was then routed into Plat­form 1 to be­come 1H52.

The driver of 3H52 was in­structed to wait in the sid­ings un­til 1H52 had de­parted from Plat­form 1. At 1811 the route was set for 1H52 to depart. A minute later, the sig­naller cleared ground po­si­tion light sig­nal SN6006 for 3H52 to leave the sid­ing. The sig­nal au­tho­rised the train to run as far as a sim­i­lar sig­nal (SN6004), plac­ing it in a po­si­tion to run into Plat­form 1 as soon as 1H52 had cleared its sec­tion.

Af­ter SN6006 cleared, the driver ac­cel­er­ated to the line­speed of 25mph. Although he had not seen 1H52 leave Plat­form 1, the RAIB says “the driver had formed the im­pres­sion in his mind that the clear­ance of sig­nal SN6006 meant that the route was set all the way into Plat­form 1. Sig­nal SN6005 was clearly vis­i­ble, but the driver did not re­alise that it ap­plied to his train, so he drove past it although it was show­ing two red lights.”

The driver ap­plied the emer­gency brake as soon as he re­alised that his train was be­ing di­verted to the right and off the track. The first three bo­gies of the train ran off the end of the rails, with the front right-hand cor­ner strik­ing the mast of a can­tilever struc­ture sup­port­ing over­head line equip­ment on line 1. The can­tilever dropped far enough to be­come a haz­ard for trains trav­el­ling on lines 1 and 2 into the station. The de­rail­ment caused the sig­nal at the end of Plat­form 1 to turn to red and the driver of 1H52 stopped his train.

Writ­ten spe­cial in­struc­tions to sig­nallers stip­u­late that when a move­ment start­ing from a po­si­tion light sig­nal re­quires to run via an­other be­fore reach­ing a plat­form, sid­ing or main as­pect sig­nal, the sig­naller must clear all the in­ter­me­di­ate po­si­tion light sig­nals in the route first. When it is es­sen­tial to route a move­ment to an in­ter­me­di­ate po­si­tion light sig­nal, the sig­naller is re­quired to reach a clear un­der­stand­ing with the driver be­fore the move­ment starts.

The RAIB says that the con­ver­sa­tion be­tween the sig­naller and the driver in Royal Oak sid­ings should have re­sulted in the driver un­der­stand­ing that his train could not en­ter the station un­til 1H52 had de­parted.

An­other find­ing from the RAIB sug­gests that while the driver car­ried copies of the line di­a­gram in his bag and could have re­ferred to them, he sat in the pas­sen­ger ac­com­mo­da­tion and used an elec­tronic de­vice to ac­cess the in­ter­net. “There is no ev­i­dence that this de­vice was used while the driver was in the driving cab of the train, or that it played any part in what hap­pened next,” says the RAIB.

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