Latest Rail News

28.04.16

Network Rail told to review gate opening equipment after tractor collision

The dangers of gate opening equipment on railways should be re-evaluated, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has said in its investigation into a collision between a train and a tractor near Knaresborough.

The incident occurred at 6.18pm on 14 May 2015 when the class 150 diesel Leeds to York train collided with the tractor at Oakwood Farm user worked crossing.

The tractor continued onto the crossing while the train was approaching despite warning lights and signals being activated and the driver sounding his horn.

The tractor driver suffered minor injuries, the train driver suffered shock and the collision caused the front of the tractor to become detached from its cab, but the train did not derail.

The power operated gate opening (POGO) system was installed on the crossing, which is on a private farm, after a number of near-misses caused by the previous manually operated gates being left open.

However, the button originally designed to close the gates was now being used to close them because of faulty wiring.

This meant that the driver, who was an Oakwood Farm employee who had not used the crossing before, missed the warning light because it lit up after he stopped to open the gates and he did not re-check the light.

The RAIB criticised Network Rail for failing to perform a safety assessment on the POGO before installing it and failing to adequately control the design and installation of the control buttons for the system.

Network Rail also failed to implement recommendations from an initial trial of the POGO in 2010, and that they should install instruction signs with the system.

The RAIB said that as well as carrying out a comprehensive review of the Oakwood Farm crossing, Network Rail should carry out a review of the safety of other user-operated crossings with POGO systems and should review the robustness of its processes for accepting new equipment and technology onto the railway.

(Image c. British Transport Police)

Comments

Andrew Gwilt   03/05/2016 at 00:34

I think that the tractor driver was given the go ahead to cross onto the railway line when the Class 170 train heading towards Cambridge from Norwich collided into the tractor and 13 people were injured as a result of the accident but no fatalities.

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