At around 12:20 hrs on 21 May 2012, a volunteer train guard was fatally injured after becoming trapped between two coaches at Grosmont station on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. The coaches had just been uncoupled and the accident occurred when the steam locomotive that was reversing the uncoupled coach away from the stationary coaches changed its direction. The driver applied the brake as soon as he realised this, but there was insufficient distance to stop and avoid trapping the guard who had moved back between the vehicles to complete the work associated with the uncoupling.
The locomotive changed direction because its screw reverser was not locked and moved under the weight of the valve gear from reverse to forward gear. It is likely that the guard moved back between the coaches because he had no reason to believe that the locomotive and coach moving away from him would change its direction.
RAIB has identified two key learning points relating to the locking of screw reversers and not going between railway vehicles unless they are stationary. It has also made a recommendation to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway relating to the competence management system covering shunting.
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.