RAIB releases Annual Report

History should not be repeated says RAIB boss as they release their annual report

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RIAB) has released its 2023 Annual Report, covering the year from 1 January 2022 to 31 December, 2022.

The RIAB has warned that lessons are needed to be learned in the industry with Chief Inspector Andrew Hall saying in the report, he has become more “concerned in the last year about the perils of forgetting what history has taught us.”

The report highlights six areas which the branch structures their investigations around and including railway operations, worker safety, weather management, safety of passengers getting off and on a train, level crossing safety and management of low adhesion.

In the reports concluding comments, Hall expresses concern that some of the themes within it are similar to previous years, reflecting that there is a “pattern that the industry needs to reflect on.”

In 2022, the branch launched 45 preliminary examinations with 11 evolving into full investigations. These included over speeding at Peterborough Station and wrong side signalling failure in Wingfield.

Signalling has been an area of concern for the RAIB this year with the Board publishing their report into the derailment at Dalwhinnie. As a result, RAIB has released a ‘Summary of Learnings’ into wrong side signalling failures alongside the annual report.

The summary of learnings questions the design standards set for software upgrades to signalling and the processes which should be followed. Failures in these areas allowed uncontrolled wiring and design control requirements to be missed at London Waterloo and Cardiff East Junctions.

The summary of learnings also warned that the maintenance renewals process must remain robust, to prevent incidents.

RAIB chief inspector, Andrew Hall said: “In March 2022, we published our report into the catastrophic derailment at Carmont which made 20 recommendations. In addition RAIB published a report into a fatal accident involving a track worker at Surbiton in 2022 and subsequently, in early 2023, reports into fatal accidents involving a train driver at West Worthing and a member of the public at Lady Howard level crossing in Surrey.”

“Such accidents devastate the lives of families and friends of those who lost their lives. Other accidents we have investigated also involved injury, trauma and loss. While relatively rare, such events still have life- affecting and far-reaching consequences for those involved.”

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