Track repair team in 125mph train near miss

Grant Prior 6 years ago

Rail safety experts have launched an investigation after a team of track workers narrowly avoided being hit by a 125mph passenger train.

Forward facing CCTV footage from the driver's cab showing the train approaching the group of track workers at 125mph (image courtesy of Virgin Trains East Coast)
Forward facing CCTV footage from the driver's cab showing the train approaching the group of track workers at 125mph (image courtesy of Virgin Trains East Coast)

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch has revealed initial details of the incident on October 5 involving the the 10:03 Virgin Trains service from London Kings Cross to Leeds.

The near miss took place close to Egmanton level crossing between Newark North Gate and Retford on the East Coast Main Line.

The train was approaching the crossing on the down main line at near to the maximum permitted line speed of 125 mph when the driver saw a group of track workers in the distance.

The driver sounded the train’s warning horn, but could see no response from the group. The driver sounded the horn again a few seconds later.

He could still see no response, so he initiated an emergency brake application, while continuing to sound the horn.

As the train approached, the group of track workers became aware of the warning horn and started to move into the cess.

The last member of the group got clear of the track very shortly before the train passed them.

It subsequently came to a stand around 0.9 miles after the emergency brake application was made.

There were no injuries but the driver, who believed that the train had struck members of the group, was distressed by the incident.

The RAIB investigation will determine the sequence of events. It will also include consideration of:

  • how the system of work the team was using was planned and authorised, including the availability of protection and warning systems
  • the way in which the system of work the team were using was implemented on site, including how this may have been affected by the layout of the track, the proximity of the crossing and the work being undertaken
  • the competence management of those involved in the planning, authorisation and implementation of the system of work
  • the non-technical skills of the site team and any issues associated with workload and fatigue
  • any relevant underlying cultural or management factors

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