Latest Rail News


Network Rail urged to review signaller competence after train derailment

The RAIB has recommended Network Rail reviews its requirements for certifying signalling operators after an operator allowed a train to pass a signal at danger, causing it to derail at the front.

The accident occurred at 7.22am on 7 November 2015, when the first five bogies of the Northern Rail service from York to Harrogate derailed.

The RAIB investigation found that at the time of the incident, the Knottingley mobile operations manager (MOM) was operating the Knaresborough signal box, which he was authorised to do, as a substitute for the normal signaller, who was off work with a workplace injury.

The MOM authorised the train to bypass the signal at danger, believing it was safe to do so.

This led to the train derailing after it travelled over incorrectly set points.

None of the train crew or the five passengers on board were injured, but the train and track were damaged.

The RAIB found that Network Rail’s competence management system for signalling has less stringent regulations for non-signallers who sometimes operate signalling equipment. For example, they are not required to be observed successfully operating a location before they are certified as competent to do so.

The MOM had last been authorised to operate the Knaresborough signal box in 2010 and Network Rail was unable to produce his complete training plan as proof of his competence.

Network Rail had no procedure for refreshing MOMs knowledge of signal boxes they did not operate regularly, despite the fact that MOMs are used as the first reserve to cover gaps in signalling staff registers.

The RAIB found a previous incident where Network Rail had allowed a MOM to operate the signal box when he had no previous experience of doing so.

Network Rail began working on a new signaller competence action plan in April 2016.

The RAIB said that Network Rail should review whether the changes to the requirements on non- signallers in the new plan have resulted in them maintaining the required level of knowledge and experience needed to operate the signalling locations for which they are authorised.

Earlier this year, West Coast Railway Company Limited was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay £64,000 costs after it was found guilty of health and safety breaches regarding a serious SPAD at Wootton Bassett in 2015.

RTM contacted Network Rail for a comment but had not received a response at the time of publication.

3.55pm UPDATE

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We take safety incidents such as the one at Knaresborough extremely seriously and have worked alongside the Rail Accident Investigation Branch to produce the comprehensive report into what happened on that day. We work hard to prevent incidents like this happening and have already started to implement the recommendations made by the RAIB report to try and stop similar incidents from occurring again in the future.”

(Image c. Network Rail)

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.



Jak Jaye   05/08/2016 at 13:08

Wonder how many more of these SPADS occur that are kept quite?

Pdeaves   08/08/2016 at 09:03

Serious though it was, how is the Wootton Bassett incident of any relevance to this story? The WCR train was not authorised to pass a red signal by a MOM!

Mike   09/08/2016 at 08:19

One rule for NR, a different rule for everyone else - as normal

Add your comment


Rail industry Focus

View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >