Railway safety and crime


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.”


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!

Add your comment


rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Tram passengers demand better value for money from services

21/03/2018Tram passengers demand better value for money from services

  Satisfaction with value for money for tram passengers has dropped slightly, the latest Tram Passenger Survey has revealed. Fare-payi... more >
West of England to get £9.45bn economic boost from new rail partnership plan

21/03/2018West of England to get £9.45bn economic boost from new rail partnership plan

Rail companies across the west of England have set out a long-term plan for the region’s railway, which will boost the economy by £9.45... more >
First Virgin Azuma trains arrive in UK after two-month journey from Japan

21/03/2018First Virgin Azuma trains arrive in UK after two-month journey from Japan

Two brand new Hitachi trains completed their two month journey from Japan yesterday, arriving at Teesport, Middlesborough. The two five-car trai... 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 >

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. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

How biometrics can help improve health and safety measures on railway construction projects

20/03/2018How biometrics can help improve health and safety measures on railway construction projects

In this article biometric identity, time and attendance specialists Donseed look at how biometric technology is already starting to enhance health and safety measures on railway construction projects. Advances in technology are starting to transform the way in which the rail network in the UK is managed, operated and maintained. There is ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Smart Ticketing: The way ahead

13/03/2018Smart Ticketing: The way ahead

Jacqueline Starr, managing director of customer experience at the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), runs through the nationwide progress in rolling out ... more >
A benchmark year for HS2

13/03/2018A benchmark year for HS2

Jim Crawford, managing director of Phase 1 at HS2 Ltd, discusses the many critical activities set to take place this year as the mammoth high-spe... more >
The North has a plan

13/03/2018The North has a plan

There has always been an incredible thirst for change in the north. Now, there is finally a plan robust and forward-thinking enough to make it ha... more >
EWR: Getting it right

13/03/2018EWR: Getting it right

Peter Austin, delivery director at East West Rail Company (EWRco), argues that completing the link between Oxford and Cambridge as quickly as pos... more >

rail industry focus

  • 08/12/2017A game changer for Midland Metro

    The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) updates RTM’s Luana Salles on the latest projects taking place across the growing Midland Metro...
  • 09/11/2017Testing tomorrow's technology today

    David Brazier, site manager and area sales manager for the UK & Ireland at OMICRON electronics, tells RTM’s Luana Salles about the major...
  • 09/11/2017What next for safety?

    As rail businesses edge towards their target of zero injuries, improving safety performance can plateau. Amey’s sector director for rail, Lee...
View all News


Transforming travel in the north west

06/02/2018Transforming travel in the north west

RTM’s Josh Mines talks to Robin Davis, head of new trains at TransPennine Express (TPE), about the huge rolling stock change journey the co... more >