A passenger train consisting of a former Great Western Railway (GWR) steam tank locomotive, propelling a GWR autocoach, left Norchard station on the Dean Forest Railway (DFR) at 14:40 hrs on Wednesday 15 August 2007.
The train approached and struck the partially open northern secondary gate at Lydney Town level crossing. The train continued through the crossing before being brought to a stand alongside Lydney Town station platform.
The RAIB investigation identified that the immediate cause of the accident was that the driver of the train was unable to stop the train and struck the crossing gates.
A causal factor was the excessive speed of the train, and contributory factors were the wet condition of the rails following recent heavy rain, the locomotive crew’s lack of training and experience in controlling this type of train in these conditions, the failure of equipment that warned the level crossing operators that a train was approaching, and the lack of any system for informing the train crew that this equipment was not working.
Other possible contributory factors were the lack of working equipment on the train to lay sand on the rails, noise from road traffic at the level crossing and pressure on the DFR to minimise delays to road users.
RAIB has made ten recommendations, all targeted at the DFR. The recommendations concern the speed of trains approaching Lydney Town level crossing, adherence to speed restrictions; braking and sanding systems on the Dean Forest Railway; procedures for operating the Dean Forest Railway safely in a degraded mode; maintenance of treadles to a recognised standard; knowledge and experience of footplate crews; appointment of a health and safety adviser; notification of accidents; and age-related standards for train drivers.
The DFR has already taken action to address many of these recommendations, by bringing into use sanding equipment on its trains, providing additional training for locomotive crews, making changes to the warning system at the level crossing, and appointing a qualified person to act as health and safety director.
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.