A railway accident that left more than 30 people injured happened after the space available for two trains to share a platform was misjudged by a signaller, the initial investigation into the incident has found.
The accident happened at Plymouth station on April 3 when the Penzance to Exeter train, which had 60 passengers on board, collided with a stationary train.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) says the train arriving at Plymouth was travelling at about 15mph when it collided with the stationary one, which had one member of staff on board, on platform six.
Driver injured in collision
Witnesses have spoken of hearing a “huge bang” as the two trains collided.
Following the train accident a total of 18 people – including the passenger train’s driver – were said to be in a stable condition. Eight were taken to Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital with two of the casualties kept in overnight.
The RAIB’s initial investigation report has found that while the Penzance-Exeter train was due to stop at platform eight, it had been signalled to stop behind the stationary train on platform six.
The signaller incorrectly estimated there was sufficient room for the second train to fit on the platform behind the stationary one.
Emergency brake applied
When the train approached through a “relatively tight, left-hand curve” at 21mph, the driver had been “surprised” to see the other one on platform six and realised a collision was “imminent”.
He applied the emergency brake about three seconds before the collision occurred, the report says.
Many of the passengers had been standing as they got ready to get off the train. They were thrown forward on to the floor and into the train’s fixtures by the impact.
The RAIB’s full investigation will look at platform working arrangements at the station, the performance of the moving train, signalling and staff actions.
Source: BBC News
Date Published: May 3, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown