News story

Fatal accident at Margam

Investigation into a fatal accident at Margam, near Port Talbot, South Wales, 3 July 2019.

The railway at Margam (image courtesy of Network Rail)

The railway at Margam (image courtesy of Network Rail)

At around 09:52 hrs on Wednesday 3 July 2019, two track workers were struck and fatally injured by a passenger train at Margam East Junction on the South Wales Main Line. A third track worker came very close to being struck. These three workers were part of a group of six staff, who were undertaking scheduled track maintenance on lines that were still open to traffic.

The train, which was travelling from Swansea to London Paddington, was approaching Margam on the up line at around 73 mph (117 km/h). Its driver saw three track workers walking away from him on the adjacent line and, beyond them, three more track workers on the line ahead of his train. He sounded the train horn and applied the emergency brakes. The track workers walking on the adjacent line became aware of the train approaching and tried to warn their colleagues as the train passed them.

The three track workers on the up line were working on a set of points, using a petrol-engined tool for loosening and tightening large nuts. Consequently, at least one of the workers was wearing ear defenders. CCTV images taken from a camera at the front of the train suggest that the workers did not become aware of the train until it was very close to them. By this time, it was travelling at around 50 mph (80 km/h).

The RAIB’s investigation will identify the sequence of events that led to the accident and consider:

  • what might have influenced the actions of those on site
  • the protection arrangements that were in place
  • the planning of the work and the implementation of Network Rail’s standard for keeping people safe on or near the line
  • any relevant underlying management or organisational factors

Our investigation is independent of any investigation by the railway industry, the British Transport Police 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 4 July 2019
Last updated 19 July 2019 + show all updates
  1. Entry updated to provide further details of the events surrounding the accident and a summary of what the RAIB's investigation will consider.
  2. First published.