Killed track workers “unaware” of train until it hit them at 50mph

Grant Prior 5 months ago
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The Rail Accident Investigation Branch has released initial findings of its probe into a double fatality during track maintenance work in Wales earlier this month.

Investigators confirmed at least one of the victim’s was wearing ear defenders when struck and fatally injured by a passenger train at Margam East Junction on the South Wales Main Line.

A third track worker came very close to being hit. The three workers were part of a group of six staff, who were undertaking scheduled track maintenance on lines that were still open to traffic.

The train driver saw three track workers walking away from him on the adjacent line and, beyond them, three more track workers on the line ahead of his train.

He sounded the train horn and applied the emergency brakes. The track workers walking on the adjacent line became aware of the train approaching and tried to warn their colleagues as the train passed them.

The RAIB said: “The three track workers on the up line were working on a set of points, using a petrol-engined tool for loosening and tightening large nuts.

“Consequently, at least one of the workers was wearing ear defenders.

“CCTV images taken from a camera at the front of the train suggest that the workers did not become aware of the train until it was very close to them. By this time, it was travelling at around 50 mph.”

The RAIB’s investigation will now identify the sequence of events that led to the accident and consider:

  • what might have influenced the actions of those on site
  • the protection arrangements that were in place
  • the planning of the work and the implementation of Network Rail’s standard for keeping people safe on or near the line
  • any relevant underlying management or organisational factors

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