Latest Rail News

08.03.16

Wootton Bassett SPAD occurred after driver bypassed brake demand – RAIB

A safety breach at Wootton Bassett junction last year involved a crew member on a steam locomotive using an AWS isolating cock to bypass a brake demand, according to an interim report from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB).

The signal passed at danger (SPAD) incident occurred at 5:25pm on 7 March 2015 when the 13-coach steam locomotive 1Z67 passed a signal at danger, although no one was injured.

According to the report, when 1Z67 was approaching signal SN43 an AWS braking demand was issued, but the driver instructed the fireman to open the AWS isolating cock in order to bypass the braking demand.

The railway rule book requires train drivers to bring their trains to a stand and contact the signaller if they have isolated the AWS system, but the driver on this occasion did not do so.

However, he did ultimately apply the brakes, bringing the train to a stop around 550m beyond the signal.

The RAIB report adds that the crew seemed to have used the AWS cock to bypass brake demands on other occasions as well.

The RAIB investigation is ongoing to find out how widespread the practice was and what other factors may have contributed to the SPAD.

(Image c. Network Rail)

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