Report 21/2016: Collision at Barrow-upon-Soar

Collision between a train and a piece of equipment at Barrow-upon-Soar, Leicestershire, 14 February 2016.

At around 10:26 hrs on 14 February 2016, a passenger train collided with a conveyor boom projecting from an aggregates train standing in sidings at Barrow-upon-Soar, Leicestershire. The train was travelling at approximately 102 mph (163 km/h).

Two of the coaches of the train were damaged by the impact but the train did not derail. The unloading wagon conveyor boom was also damaged. A fitter, who had been working on the conveyor, was seriously injured. Nobody on the train was injured.

The wagon involved in the accident was part of a train which had been loaded with aggregates ready for departure the following day. While checking the operation of one of the wagons in the train, the fitter identified that it needed maintenance.

During the maintenance activity a subsequent failure occurred in the control circuit; a push button switch controlling the movement of the boom became stuck in the ‘on’ position. This caused the boom to fully rotate and, because of the location of the siding in which the maintenance was being undertaken, this placed the end of the boom foul of the nearest of the main lines. There was no instruction to prevent the wagon being maintained on this siding. The risk assessments undertaken in support of the systems of work adopted a at the site had not considered the risk of the boom moving out of control and affecting other train operations.

It is probable that the contact block of the push button switch became stuck due to corrosion deposit obstructing its moving parts. This was most likely due to the contact block being exposed to environmental conditions for which it was not designed.

The underlying causes of the accident related to the maintenance of the electrical system of the wagon, and the management of the associated safety risk.

As a result of this investigation, RAIB has made four recommendations relating to:

  • Tarmac’s (the owner of the wagon) and Wabtec’s (the maintainer) processes for hazard identification and risk assessment
  • Wabtec’s management arrangements and procedures at Barrow-upon-Soar
  • Tarmac’s processes for determining when it is necessary to implement interim safety measures after it becomes aware of deficiencies in the condition of its wagons
  • Restoring the condition of the wagon’s electrical system, should the wagon re-enter service.

Three learning points are also noted relating to the responsibilities of Entities in Charge of Maintenance and vehicle registration holders.


Response to recommendations:

  • RAIB will periodically update the status of recommendations as reported to us by the relevant safety authority or public body
  • RAIB may add comment, particularly if we have concerns regarding these responses.

RAIB Recommendation response for Barrow-upon-Soar

Published 27 October 2016