Latest Rail News

10.10.18

Passengers could have been killed walking alongside live electric track in stranded London Overground train evacuation, RAIB says

Passengers on a London Overground train could have died when evacuated and asked to walk alongside live rail lines, the rail accident investigator has found.

On 7 November 2017, around 80 people, including children, had to walk 30m on an overgrown path alongside the live track in wet and slippery conditions when the Overground service from Dalston Junction to Battersea Park came to a standstill shortly before reaching Peckham Rye station due to a fault which caused the train’s brakes to apply, with the driver unable to release them.

The train driver spoke over the radio system to the service controller, train technicians, and the signaller. Following these conversations, he began to evacuate the passengers from the train via a door at the front of the vehicle.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) found that the evacuation of the train— which was ran by Arriva Rail London and held 450 people in total— involved passengers climbing down vertical steps to ground level, very close to the 750-volt live electric conductor rail (third rail) and walking along the line to Peckham Rye station.

Shortly afterwards, an operations manager from Govia Thameslink Rail, which manages Peckham Rye, immediately instructed the driver to halt the operation, and instead put the driver in touch with control room-based technicians, who were able to isolate various train safety systems and move the train forward to Peckham Rye station almost an hour later.

It was then possible for all remaining passengers to depart the train normally. No one was hurt in the incident.

The RAIB found that the driver initiated the evacuation of passengers without the current in the lines being switched off because he had been given instructions from control room staff who misunderstood where the stranded train actually was.

The accident investigator also found that the train driver was under stress caused by passengers— 200 of them left standing— during the delay and size of the task, which “affected his decision making,” according to the report.

Some passengers were also seen stepping over the rail to take pictures, some of them to be posted on social media, the report found.

Chief inspector of rail accidents Simon French said the 80 people who went down to track-level were “very fortunate” that no one was hurt in the incident.

He explained: “Minor technical faults on trains are a daily reality on the railways, but sometimes these minor events, if not identified and dealt with promptly, can quickly develop into a potential safety incident.

“Following previous incidents, the railway industry has put in place policies for managing incidents in which trains become stranded. This incident has shown that when things go wrong, these policies may not be effective.”

French noted that over recent years there have been a number of incidents on the railway in which train drivers have not been adequately supported when managing a difficult situation in unfamiliar circumstances.

Underlying factors were that Arriva Rail London strategic command and Network Rail signalling staff “were not adequately prepared” to manage the incident, and the railway industry standards and procedures relating to stranded trains place “little emphasis” on the need for practical training for those involved.

The RAIB recommended that, “both locally and nationally,” the incident management arrangements should be reviewed and processes put in place to exercise them regularly.

“It’s not enough to have a plan - it must work when it is needed, and if it has never been practised the chances are it won’t work,” French said.

Enjoying RTM? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Scheme to double train capacity on West Norfolk line awarded funding

15/02/2019Scheme to double train capacity on West Norfolk line awarded funding

The capacity on West Norfolk’s trains is set to double after funding for an extension of trains running between Lynn and Cambridge has been... more >
Battered Dawlish rail line gets £80m for new protective sea wall

15/02/2019Battered Dawlish rail line gets £80m for new protective sea wall

A new taller sea wall is to be built at Dawlish as the DfT announced that up to £80m is being made available to build it – five years... more >
Urgent safety advice calls for louder horns on Edinburgh trams after pedestrian’s death

15/02/2019Urgent safety advice calls for louder horns on Edinburgh trams after pedestrian’s death

The RAIB has issued urgent safety advice calling for louder warning horns to be fitted on Edinburgh’s trams following the death of a pedest... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >
Exclusive: Midlands Connect and WMRE talk collaboration and investment in the Midlands' railway

22/01/2019Exclusive: Midlands Connect and WMRE talk collaboration and investment in the Midlands' railway

In the jigsaw puzzle of regional transport decision-making, there must be collaboration and compromise. Midlands Connect media lead James Bovill ... more >
Rail Ombudsman interview: RTM sits down with CEO Kevin Grix

20/12/2018Rail Ombudsman interview: RTM sits down with CEO Kevin Grix

In November, the first ever Rail Ombudsman was established in a bid to give passengers a free independent service to allow passengers to claim co... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. ... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Williams Rail Review: The end of saying sorry?

05/02/2019Williams Rail Review: The end of saying sorry?

Keith Williams’ ongoing Rail Review presents a golden opportunity to rebuild the industry’s weakened relationship with its users and ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

TrackWater: Embracing data in flood prevention

05/02/2019TrackWater: Embracing data in flood prevention

Mike Harding, from Lancaster University’s Data Science Institute, introduces us to TrackWater: an innovative project between Lancaster Univ... more >
High-speed rail cannot stand in isolation

05/02/2019High-speed rail cannot stand in isolation

Last year, the Scottish Government announced two feasibility studies to better understand the economic and environmental implications of options ... more >
Flying Banana reaps the fruit of its labour

05/02/2019Flying Banana reaps the fruit of its labour

Steve Quinby, Network Rail’s head of data collection, gives us the rundown on the state-of-the-art ‘Flying Banana’ train. ... more >
Introducing the new Passenger Assist app

05/02/2019Introducing the new Passenger Assist app

Jacqueline Starr, managing director of customer experience at the Rail Delivery Group, explains how a new app developed for the rail industry wil... more >