Railway safety and crime

30.11.17

NR at fault for ‘potentially disastrous’ Liverpool Lime Street wall collapse

Investigators have found that Network Rail was partially at fault for a wall that collapsed onto open railway lines earlier this year.

Services at Liverpool Lime Street ground to a halt earlier this year when the wall collapsed over all four lines into the station, causing commuters five days of disruption while engineers worked to clear the debris.

Today, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) released its report into the incident, which found that Network Rail did not have a suitable risk prioritisation process in place for retaining walls, leaving a “high potential safety consequence in the event of a failure.”

The investigation also found that there had been developments on the leased property adjacent to the cutting, while a small portion of the land was owned by NR. This increase in ground level caused the wall to be subjected to heavy loading.

Heavy rainfall was also cited as another factor that could have played a part in the wall’s collapse.

The RAIB recommended that Network Rail be more aware of walls that have a potentially high safety consequence in the event of failure, as well as that the organisation review its assessment procedure for such walls, using open source data to monitor changes in land use.

“The collapse of the cutting wall on this busy line just outside Liverpool Lime Street occurred without warning, and about 170 tonnes of rubble fell on the railway,” said Simon French, chief inspector of rail accidents. “It had the potential to crush or derail a passing train, with disastrous consequences. However, the signs that a dangerous situation was developing had been there for a long time.

“Network Rail’s examination system did not pick up the significant changes that were taking place behind the wall due to earth moving activities undertaken by the occupier.

“Although I recognise that it can be challenging for the railway industry, it is vital that Network Rail carries out regular and effective checks for activities on its boundaries that may endanger the integrity of its structures.”

Comments

Andrew Gwilt   01/12/2017 at 10:11

Hope that Network Rail can sort it out over the Christmas & New Year period or when they do close the lines as part of the Liverpool Lime Street station upgrade next year.

Martin   01/12/2017 at 13:38

The wall collapse onto the lines approaching Liverpool Lime Street occurred last March and was repaired in five days. The report into the incident (which is the subject of this article) finds that Network Rail 'did not have a suitable risk prioritisation in place for retaining walls'. This is not something Network Rail will be 'sorting out' over Christmas and New Year

Walace58   01/12/2017 at 13:58

Why the misleading headline , corrected in the first line of the text, are your journalists from The Sun?

Peter Jarvis   01/12/2017 at 14:48

It is extraordinary what adjacent landholders will do without telling their neighbours and sometimes they do things which are obvious folly - 'ow, we didn't think of that' - or sometimes plain malevolent, such as heaping cowshed waste next to railway drains. It always helps if the manure goes into the water supply and may be involved in an outbreak of cryptosporidiosis. Railway civil engineers need eyes in the backs of their heads.

Jak Jaye   20/12/2017 at 12:31

Does that apply to the thousands of line side embankments that are devoid of trees i.e. guaranteeing line slides? not holding my breath on that one ,they should be re-named NotWork Fail!

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