News story

Collision near London Waterloo station, 15 August 2017

Investigation into a collision near London Waterloo station, 15 August 2017.

Passenger train and wagons after the collision at Waterloo
Passenger train and wagons after the collision at Waterloo

At around 05:42 hrs on Tuesday 15 August 2017, a passenger train leaving London Waterloo station travelling at about 11 mph (18 km/h) collided with a stationary train of wagons. There were no injuries, but both trains were damaged and there was serious disruption to train services using the station.

The passenger train was the 05:40 hrs South West Trains service from Waterloo to Guildford and comprised 10 coaches, a combination of class 455 and class 456 electric units. The wagons were standing on a line adjacent to the intended route of the passenger train and had been provided as a safety barrier separating passenger services from an area where construction work was being undertaken as part of the Waterloo station upgrade project.

The collision occurred because a set of points were misaligned and directed the passenger train away from its intended route. The misalignment was a consequence of a temporary modification to the points control system which also caused the train driver and signaller to receive indications that the points were correctly aligned.

Our investigation will examine:

  • the circumstances leading to installation of the temporary control system modification
  • the safety measures provided while the temporary modification was in place
  • the checking and testing procedures applicable to the modification
  • any relevant underlying management factors.

Our investigation is independent of any investigation by the railway industry or by the industry’s regulator, the Office of Rail and Road.

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

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Published 30 August 2017