‘Run­away’ sleep­er­train over­shoots station

The Scotsman - - FRONT PAGE - By ALASTAIR DAL­TON

A guard had to use emer­gency brakes to halt a Cale­do­nian Sleeper train af­ter it overshot Waver­ley Station.

The in­ci­dent at 7:30am yes­ter­day caused ma­jor dis­rup­tion af­ter the overnight ser­vice from Lon­don came to a halt at a junc­tion in Abbey­hill, east of the station, block­ing the east coast main line.

Op­er­a­tor Serco said: “We can con­firm the emer­gency brake brought the train to a halt and was de­ployed by the train man­ager.”

The Sleeper driver is un­der­stood to have sent an emer­gency mes­sage to sig­nallers to be given a clear path through the station.

Emer­gency brakes had to be used by a guard to halt a Cale­do­nian Sleeper train af­ter it overshot Waver­ley Station in Ed­in­burgh.

The in­ci­dent around 7:30am caused ma­jor com­muter dis­rup­tion af­ter the overnight ser­vice from Lon­don came to a halt at a junc­tion in Abbey­hill, east of the station, block­ing the east coast main line.

Op­er­a­tor Serco told The Scots­man: “We can con­firm the emer­gency brake is what brought the train to a halt and was de­ployed by the train man­ager.”

The Sleeper driver is un­der­stood to have sent an emer­gency mes­sage to sig­nallers to be given a clear path through the station.

A rail en­gi­neer trav­el­ling as a pas­sen­ger wit­nessed the drama. Andy Pic­ton, an en­gi­neer with South West­ern Rail­way who was on the train, tweeted: “Was stood in the vestibule in the coach be­hind the loco as we flew through Waver­ley.

“Don’t think the loco stopped us, as the guard hit the emer­gency stop right by us and only then did we come to a halt, that af­ter hit­ting the one in the guard cabin that didn’t seem to work.

“Driver re­alised there was an is­sue as he ap­proached Hay­mar­ket and couldn’t slow down. Un­sure if guard aware of prob at that time.

“Was quick think­ing by the driver, who phoned through to the sig­naller as we went through Hay­mar­ket and got the route through Waver­ley cleared to avoid any­thing more se­ri­ous. Hats off to him!”

The in­ci­dent de­layed or can­celled LNER and Cross­coun­try cross-bor­der ser­vices and about a dozen Scotrail trains to and from North Ber­wick, Dun­bar and Tweed­bank.

The Scots­man has been told by a source with knowl­edge of what hap­pened that the fault may have been caused by hu­man er­ror - the brake sys­tem not be­ing re­set cor­rectly when the Glas­gow por­tion of the Sleeper from Lon­don di­vided from the Ed­in­burgh sec­tion at Carstairs in South La­nark­shire.

The source said: “Some­thing was not set up prop­erly that caused the brake is­sue.” The train was hauled back into the station, where pas­sen­gers alighted at 8:45am - more than an hour late.

Another pas­sen­ger, Gerry Carroll, said: “Went very fast through the station, seemed to swerve, then stopped in tun­nel for an hour, then re­versed out. The crew told us the train had lost power.”

An in­dus­try source said: “The train was un­able to stop at Waver­ley and came to a halt at Abbey­hill. The line through the station was clear and it was well man­aged.”

Another rail source said: “The re­ac­tion of the sig­nalling cen­tre upon hear­ing the emer­gency ra­dio mes­sage and in se­cur­ing a clear run through a con­gested Waver­ley and pre­vent­ing a col­li­sion de­serves com­men­da­tion.”

The in­ci­dent comes as the lat­est of a se­ries of prob­lems with a new £150 mil­lion Sleeper fleet, which was in­tro­duced on the Ed­in­burgh and Glas­gow to Lon­don routes in April.

In June, wheel dam­age was caused by emer­gency brakes be­ing un­in­ten­tion­ally ac­ti­vated near Stafford.

Ryan Fla­herty, Serco’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor for Cale­do­nian Sleeper, said: “Our north­bound Low­lan­der ser­vice into Ed­in­burgh Waver­ley this morn­ing over­ran the plat­form, due to an ear­lier op­er­a­tional is­sue at Carstairs. An in­ves­ti­ga­tion is un­der­way into the cause, but early in­di­ca­tions are that there are no tech­ni­cal prob­lems with the rolling stock.

“As a re­sult of the de­lay, guests dis­em­barked at Ed­in­burgh Waver­ley at around 8:45am and we’re sorry for the ef­fect this de­lay had for our guests.”

Mr Fla­herty said the Sleep­ers were due to run as nor­mal last night.

A Scotrail spokesman said: “Our ser­vices be­tween Ed­in­burgh and North Ber­wick/ Tweed­bank were sub­ject to de­lay from around 7:30am un­til around 9:30am.”

LNER said sev­eral ser­vices be­tween Ed­in­burgh and Lon­don ser­vice were disrupted.

A spokes­woman said: “Some have started and ter­mi­nated at New­cas­tle and oth­ers have been di­verted via Carlisle.”

0 The Cale­do­nian Sleeper train caused ma­jor dis­rup­tion

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