Llandovery, United Kingdom: RAIB launches investigation into near miss

9 Jul

Photograph of Llandovery station showing the crossing control box on the post below the 'stop' board, the white light below the word 'Stop' on the board and the level crossing (with barriers raised): source RAIB

Photograph of Llandovery station showing the crossing control box on the post below the ‘stop’ board, the white light below the word ‘Stop’ on the board and the level crossing (with barriers raised): source RAIB

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has announced that it is investigating a near-miss between a train and a road vehicle at Llandovery level crossing on June 6th, 2013.

At approximately 05.56 on Thursday June 6th, 2013, a train passed over Llandovery level crossing when the barriers were still raised and the road open to traffic. As the train ran onto the crossing, a van also crossed, resulting in a near-miss between the two.

Llandovery is situated on the ‘Heart of Wales’ line, approximately 30 miles from Llanelli and 60 miles from Craven Arms. The A40 passes over the railway at the north east end of Llandovery station by means of a ‘trainman operated’ level crossing. The operation of this crossing for trains travelling towards Craven Arms is the responsibility of the train’s conductor, who is required to press a ‘lower barriers’ button in a control box on the platform while the train is standing in Llandovery station. This has the effect of activating the road traffic signals at the crossing and then lowering the barriers across the whole width of the road. Once the barriers are correctly lowered, a white light on a sign above the crossing control box illuminates and flashes as an indication to the driver and conductor that the crossing is closed.

On this occasion, the conductor omitted to operate the crossing. After station duties were complete, he closed the train’s doors and indicated to the driver that the train could depart. The driver started the train without observing that the white light was not flashing, and without noticing that the barriers were still in the raised position.

The RAIB investigation will examine:
• the sequence of events leading up to the incident;
• the actions of the driver and conductor before, during and after the incident;
• the roles and responsibilities of the driver and the conductor when operating the crossing at Llandovery, and at other station crossings on the Heart of Wales line;
• relevant infrastructure arrangements at Llandovery station, including the positioning of the control cabinet, stop board and indicator lights; and
• other relevant accidents and incidents and any recommendations arising from them.

The RAIB will publish its findings, including any recommendations to improve safety, at the conclusion of its investigation. This report will be available on the RAIB website.

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