Network Rail regulation and performance

16.10.19

RAIB releases new safety recommendations following recent fatal accident

The RAIB has delivered a new set of safety recommendations after a passenger suffered fatal injuries after leaning out of a window of a moving train last year.

The rail safety branch has made four recommendations and identified two learning points, including changes for the operator and operators in general to reduce future risk.

The train, a Great Western Railway service, was travelling from London Paddington to Exeter St. David’s on 1 December 2018.

The passenger was leaning out of the window of the moving train when her head came into contact with a lineside tree branch near Twerton, just outside of Bath. The train was travelling at approximately 75mph at the time.

The report by the RAIB found that a warning sign above the droplight window met industry guidance but did not sufficiently illustrate the level of danger. The sign said: “Do not lean out of window when train is moving.”

Investigators claimed following the incident that the use of the word caution did not fully illustrate the level of danger if one was to lean out the window whilst the carriage was moving.

The first recommendation from the RAIB is addressed to operators of mainline passenger trains, including charter operators, and seeks to minimise the likelihood of passengers leaning out of droplight windows when a train is away from stations.

A second recommendation, is addressed to operators of heritage railways and seeks to improve their management of the risks associated with passengers leaning out of vehicles.

The third recommendation relates to the operator, Great Western Railway, and looks to reduce the potential for hazards associated with its operations being overlooked.

The fourth recommendation is addressed to the RSSB and seeks to ensure that its advice on emergency and safety signs reflects the level of risk associated with the hazard being mitigated.

RAIB also highlighted the importance of undertaking regular tree inspections and the value of train operators having well briefed procedures for dealing with medical emergencies on board trains.

 

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