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RAIB: Waterloo station crash caused by points mistake

A crash at London Waterloo station in August this year was caused by a set of points which were not in the correct position.

The incident saw a passenger train collide with a stationary engineering train as the first was leaving the station early in the morning.

It also caused chaos for commuters travelling into the capital as platforms 1 to 13 were out of use, causing severe delays.

Interim reports from the RAIB say that the train was travelling about 13mph, and – while there were no injuries – there was serious disruption to services and both trains were damaged.

Due to a temporary modification to the points control system, the train driver and signaller received indications that the points were correctly set, when in fact they sent the train towards a collision.

Although the driver did become aware of the situation and applied the vehicle’s brakes, this was only three seconds before the collision and slowed the train by just 2mph.

The RAIB said it will be looking into “the design processes intended to ensure safe design of modifications made during the engineering work, the processes for identifying errors and the reasons why these were ineffective on this occasion.”

It will also be investigating any underlying management factors and relevant training, working hours and fatigue and competence checks.

When it is fully completed, the RAIB’s investigation report will include recommendations to reduce the likelihood and consequences of such an incident occurring in future.

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Huguenot   21/12/2017 at 12:49

In "the old days", points would be manually padlocked in the correct position in such a situation, making it impossible for them to be set for a conflicting move. Why weren't they this time?

Lutz   21/12/2017 at 13:32

Were working conditions also a factor? i..e was the poor planning by the implementation leading to tight time-scales a contributory factor?

Andrew Gwilt   21/12/2017 at 15:10

That was a South West Trains (now known as South Western Railway) Class 455 that derailed.

PPW   21/12/2017 at 15:39

Andrew, it was actually a Cl 456, clue is in the picture.

Tom   21/12/2017 at 19:41

Huguenot, the report goes into that: the points should have been clipped, but were not. The test plan said this should have been done, but the reason it wasn't done is not known. The report also says there was no record of a work log for the rewiring, and no record of it having been tested, whereas normally there should be both.

Andrew Gwilt   22/12/2017 at 11:40

Why did I not think properly.

Ian D   22/12/2017 at 11:51

Looks like a a rake of sidetipper ballast wagons that it collided with

Tony Glazebrook   22/12/2017 at 12:00

No amount of paperwork and tick boxes will ever eliminate the need for knowledge, experience, eyes and common sense.

Lino   22/12/2017 at 14:31

Surely this is either a mod design error (how was a route set to a line that was occupied) or testing error, fault not found during testing, one of these processes has failed,

Wise Engineer   22/12/2017 at 15:02

Was this blockade the first using those cute Virtual Reality goggles that the Project Manager sat in their hotel room miles away, wears, to keep abreast of the works? Was the asset data not loaded into the VR programme that highlighted the assets under possession, the ALO and associated switches that interface with it? It's only the busiest terminal on the network after all. Perhaps in the modern parlais of Lean & Digital the Go Look See bit got missed as it ain't cool to get yer boots on the ballast. Still, lots of TV opportunity for Mark to get. As above, how could an occupied TC allow a conflicting route be set and points not locked out. Schoolboy error, even your hornby trainset would teach that. What will the Xmas work bring?

John Grant   22/12/2017 at 15:15

Follow the "interim reports" link and all will be revealed -- as usual, RAIB have been very thorough. As Tony says, one does wonder whether bureaucratic process is a substitute for thinking these days.

Jak Jaye   23/12/2017 at 10:37

Network Rail AKA 'Clockwork Fail' were to blame,not surprising when you see the thousands of hi-vis wearing 'workers' standing around looking ,chatting,faces buried in their cellphones. With every day that passes they make the old BR look better and better

Jon   23/12/2017 at 13:23

Yes, Jak, that explains why Britain is seemingly the safest railway in the world at the moment...

Jeds   24/12/2017 at 13:38

I agree with the comments above on lack of experience and how it is affecting the railway safety, in particularly of engineering work sites. Dispensing with knowledgeable front line staff was a policy of both Railtrack and Network Rail, and has cost the railway industry huge sums of money. When I see the American term cell phone I think of the adage that this is about prisoners phoning their lawyers. Perhaps, when the person at fault in this incident is identified, some time behind bars may be in the offing.

Derek   27/12/2017 at 06:51

I agree with some of the comments above... why would points be set to send a train into an already occupied track whether the trains were moving or not.

ICN   27/12/2017 at 10:02

Once again, people should avoid jumping to uninformed and potentially slanderous conclusions. Regarding the use of mobile phones; the NR Rule Book quite clearly states that (when on or near the line) mobile phones should only be used when in connection with the work being undertaken and then from a Position of Safety. I'm not sure who @Jak Jaye was thinking of with his generalised comment.

Dylan Jones   30/12/2017 at 08:32

Brown envelopes cant buy quality staff

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