Latest Rail News

16.03.15

Probe into HST hitting bridge debris in Wiltshire

An investigation has been launched after a train hit fallen debris on the line between Reading and Pewsey – despite a warning call to the emergency services from a member of the public 10 minutes earlier. 

The front end of the First Great Western train lifted into the air, but fortunately did not derail, during the incident on Sunday February 22. The London Paddington to Penzance service was travelling at about 90mph at the time of impact. 

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said nobody was hurt in the incident, which happened after an entire bridge parapet, weighing 13 tonnes, fell onto the track after being hit by a reversing articulated lorry. 

It happened on the line between Reading and Pewsey at Froxfield on the Wiltshire/Berkshire border. 

RAIB added that the train managed to stop after travelling a further 730m after the initial collision. But the leading power car sustained underframe damage and there was damage to the train’s braking system. 

It was noted that the parapet had been struck after a lorry driver had driven down an unclassified road and realised it was too small for his lorry. 

However, he was unaware when the rear of his trailer first made contact with, and then toppled, the brick parapet on the east side of the railway bridge. 

Investigators said: “This was witnessed by a car driver who was travelling behind the lorry. The car driver left his vehicle to alert the lorry driver and he then contacted the emergency services by dialling 999 on his mobile phone at about 17.21 hrs.” 

Despite this, the train driver had no opportunity to brake before hitting the debris approximately ten minutes later. 

RAIB said its investigation will consider the sequence of events and factors that led to the accident. The investigation will include a review of the adequacy of road signage and the overall response to the emergency call made by the motorist who witnessed the collapse of the bridge parapet. It will identify any safety lessons from the accident and post-accident response. 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

Paul Coenraats   17/11/2017 at 19:28

It makes real sense for all Bridges and Structures to have a Plate that contains the Structure Identity and the Emergency Phone Number to call to avoid a similar situation again in the future as calling 999 was the current obvious choice but getting the information from there to the relevant rail centre is another delay in a time critical situation.

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