Llandovery, UK: RAIB releases investigation report

28 May

The UK’s independent Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has released its report into a near-miss incident that occurred when a train proceeded across the level crossing in the town of Llandovery, Carmarthanshire when it was open to road traffic at about 05.56 on JUne 6th, 2013.

The Llandovery level crossing is operated by the train’s conductor using a control panel located on the station platform. The level crossing was still open to road traffic because the conductor of the train in question had not operated the level crossing controls. The conductor did not operate the level crossing because he may have had a lapse in concentration, and may have become distracted by other events at Llandovery station.

The train driver did not notice that the level crossing had not been operated because he may have been distracted by events before and during the train’s stop at Llandovery, and the positioning of equipment provided at Llandovery station relating to the operation of trains over the level crossing was sub-optimal.

The RAIB identified that an opportunity to integrate the operation of Llandovery level crossing into the signalling arrangements (which would have prevented this incident)was missed when signalling works were planned and commissioned at Llandovery between 2007 and 2010. The RAIB also identified that there was no formalised method of work for train operations at Llandovery.

The RAIB has made six recommendations. Four are to the train operator, Arriva Trains Wales, and focus on improving the position of platform equipment, identifying locations where traincrew carry out operational tasks and issuing methods of work for those locations, improvements to its operational risk management arrangements and improving the guidance given to its duty control managers on handling serious operational irregularities such as the one that occurred at Llandovery.

Two recommendations are made to Network Rail. These relate to improvements to its processes for signalling projects, to require the wider consideration of reasonable opportunities to make improvements when defining the scope of these projects, and consideration of the practicability of providing a clear indication to train crew when Llandovery level crossing, and other crossings of a similar design, are still open to road traffic.

The full RAIB report can be found at: http://www.raib.gov.uk/cms_resources.cfm?file=/140515_R112014_Llandovery.pdf.

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