Shrewsbury, UK: Collision with railway engineers’ trolley

5 Feb

The United Kingdom’s Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has announced an independent investigation into the causes of a serious accident involving a railway engineering welding gang and the engineers’ trolley they were loading at Bridgeway user worked crossing, near Shrewsbury. The accident occurred just before midnight on January 16th, 2014 when a passenger train collided with the engineers’ trolley. At the point of impact the train,was travelling at approximately 85 mph (136 kph). It braked to a stand in around half a mile (0.8 km).

Seconds before the collision a member of the welding gang jumped off the railway engineers’ trolley and clear of the train. A van, inside which another member of staff was unloading equipment, was parked close to the railway at the level crossing and was very nearly struck by the train. Although the train did not derail, it suffered significant damage, including a ruptured fuel tank. The member of staff who jumped clear suffered minor injuries.

The trolley was being loaded on the up line to move equipment southwards, towards Shrewsbury, to undertake a weld repair. However, this line was still open to traffic to allow the last train of the evening to approach (the down line had been blocked by arrangement with the controlling signaller based in Cardiff).

RAIB’s investigation will establish the sequence of events, examine how the work was planned, how the staff involved were being managed and the way in which railway safety rules were applied. It will also seek to understand the actions of the track workers involved, and factors that may have influenced their behaviour and attitudes.

RAIB will assess the railway industry’s current strategy for undertaking work of this type, and will review the actions taken in response to previous RAIB recommendations relating to the safety of track workers.

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