Latest Rail News

06.12.16

Ealing Broadway derailment due to miscommunication, RAIB finds

The RAIB has released its report into the derailment of a Tube train at Ealing Broadway station in March of this year, concluding that the accident was caused due to miscommunication between control room staff.

At 1:29am on 2 March 2016, the leading bogie of the District Line train derailed with 19 passengers and two members of staff on board after being authorised to pass a red signal at danger, despite the set of points being in the wrong position for the route the train was due to follow.

While no one was injured as a result of the incident, the report has led the RAIB to recommend to London Underground that they improve the quality of information provided to and communication between control room staff.

“Due to the inadequate level of information available to the service control staff, the poor relationship between the two control rooms involved, and a lack of understanding of the way in which the type of points involved were shown … the operational control staff did not identify the correct positions of all the sets of points that needed to be secured in the route,” the report found.

“Consequently, the train was authorised to pass the signal at danger with a set of points in the wrong position for the route the train was due to follow.”

The RAIB’s investigation found that the service control staff were not entirely clear from the information available to them which points they needed to set and so they asked the maintenance team for assistance. However, the two teams did not communicate effectively and did not fully understand the needs of the route.

The RAIB has consequently advised London Underground to improve how information is presented to control room staff; to further train staff to ensure that they can reach a full understanding when passing messages in safety critical situations; and to enhance team working.

Steve Griffiths, London Underground's chief operating officer, said of the report: “The safety of our customers and staff is our number one priority and we welcome the RAIB’s findings. We have already started work to carry out the RAIB’s recommendations and we will ensure that they are implemented as quickly as possible.”

London Underground have also been reminded of the need to have proper safety arrangements in place if work needs to be done near live electrical conductors and the need to avoid confusion when passing messages by having as few people involved in communication as necessary.

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