Latest Rail News

10.11.14

Train driver prosecuted for passing red signal and ignoring warnings

A train driver who “put his life, and the lives of others, at risk” has been given a three-month suspended sentence after pleading guilty to a prosecution brought by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR).

An ORR investigation found that Scott Walford, who was driving the 20.40 First Capital Connect service from Cambridge to London King’s Cross on 8 October last year, did not set up his Cab Secure Radio before departing Cambridge, which meant that signallers could not contact him. On the journey he then passed a red signal at Hitchin, which triggered a ‘trip’ in the Train Protection Warning System, automatically bringing the train to a halt.

If the TPWS system is triggered for any reason drivers are required to seek authorisation before restarting the train, but Walford just reset the system without asking for authorisation and continued on his journey, the ORR said.

The investigation found that Walford, who was suspended after the incident and no longer works as a train driver, failed to take reasonable care of the safety of himself, passengers and other persons who might have been affected by his actions.

At Stevenage magistrates’ court, Walford pled guilty to a charge brought by the ORR under the Health and Safety Act. In addition to the suspended sentence he was also fined £500.

Donald Wilson, ORR principal safety inspector, said: “Train drivers hold a position of great responsibility for safety on our railways. They must comply with health and safety law, and work in accordance with their licence and training.

“Mr Walford fell short of these standards, and, in doing so, showed a serious disregard for the safety of his passengers. His actions – ignoring warning signals and systems – could have led to a potentially catastrophic incident. He put his life, and the lives of others, at risk.

“This kind of incident is very rare, but where serious failings are found, those at fault will be held to account by the rail regulator."

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

Comments

Kevin Holt   13/11/2014 at 09:53

Surely this is a flawed system if the driver can restart the train after the TPWS was triggered. With todays technology it is possible to disable the train until the driver is given a code to input before the train will restart... Contact me for details....;-)

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