A rail company has been told to undertake a review of its training processes for new drivers after an avoidable crash injured 48 passengers and crew.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has made the recommendation to Great Western Railway (GWR) following its inquiry into the Plymouth station crash that occurred on April 3, 2016.
The RAIB found that a newly-qualified driver – with less than a year’s experience – had failed to recognise an empty locomotive was occupying the same platform, and therefore did not apply the brake in time.
‘Assumptions should never be made’
The driver’s train was travelling at 15mph and carrying 42 passengers, all of whom were injured, with one person’s injuries being classified as “serious”.
Six members of staff were also hurt and both vehicles were damaged in the collision.
Simon French, Chief Inspector of Rail Accidents, said: “This accident reinforces the need for drivers to take great care when signalled into an occupied platform – assumptions should never be made about the length of platform that is unoccupied.
“This learning applies to all drivers but is particularly applicable to those who are inexperienced or new to a route.”
Signals were in effect at the time of the incident and an experienced driver should not have assumed that the track was clear for the full length of the platform, the investigation found.
However, the RAIB says GWR and Network Rail – which owns the UK rail tracks – had not effectively assessed the risks associated with the “unusual form of permissive working, the track alignment on the approach to Plymouth station and an inexperienced driver”.
A GWR spokesman said: “We have been working closely with Network Rail since the incident to improve our processes when two trains are occupying a single platform.
“The safety of our passengers and our colleagues is our highest priority, and we will be studying the RAIB’s report closely to make sure that any further recommendations are implemented.”
Source: BBC News
Date Published: February 23, 2017
Author: Jonathan Brown