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RAIB to investigate serious Cardiff signalling irregularity

The Rail Accident and Investigation Branch (RAIB) has announced that it will be conducting an investigation into a serious signalling irregularity discovered just outside Cardiff Central station between Christmas and the New Year.

The irregularity was found on Cardiff East Junction on 29 December 2016 after Network Rail had carried out extensive track and re-signalling work in the area over the festive period as part of the final stage of its Cardiff Area Resignalling Scheme.

The irregularity, discovered by the driver of the first ‘up’ train on the line when service restarted, could potentially have diverted his train onto a line where trains can run in either direction, risking a head-on collision.

“At 08:46 on that morning the driver of train 2T08 from Cardiff Central to Treherbert, which had just left platform 7, noticed that a set of points in the route his train was about to take were not set in the correct position,” RAIB said in a statement.

“If the driver had not noticed the position of these points and stopped, the train would have been diverted towards line E (the former down relief line) on which trains can run in either direction.”

The driver found that only six of the eight point ends were locked and secured and the line had been reopened to traffic without the omission having been identified by the project team, leaving two of the point ends unsecured and undetected by the new signalling system.

A few minutes earlier another train travelling in the opposite direction travelled over the points left unsecured at the other end of the same crossover, although these had been left in the right position.

No injuries or damage was caused by either event and Network Rail quickly secured both sets of points once alerted of the problem.

“Our investigation will examine: the event leading up to the commissioning of the new track layout in the area…; the methods that Network Rail’s Cardiff area signalling replacement project used for project management and assurance processes; the on-site team briefing and works management process,” RAIB’s statement continued.

RAIB confirmed that it will also examine any relevant management issues. The body will publish its findings, along with any recommendations it considers necessary, once its investigation is concluded.

(Image c.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email


Rupert Le Bere   03/02/2017 at 13:10

Woops, this is not good and look forward to seeing the ourcome of the investgation. In the meantime, I'm intrigued to read that the driver found that only 6 out of 8 point ends had been secured. Really?? How does the driver do that?

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