On 16 January 2010, a collision occurred between a passenger train and two cars at the level crossing at Moreton-on-Lugg, near Hereford. The front-seat passenger in one of the cars was fatally injured. The driver was seriously injured and detained in hospital.
The two occupants of the other car attended hospital as a precaution. There were no casualties on the train, which did not derail.
The level crossing is controlled from the adjacent signal box. The cause of the accident was that the signaller raised the barriers in error when the train was approaching and too close to be able to stop before reaching the level crossing. He had just been involved in an absorbing telephone call that had interrupted his normal task of monitoring the passage of the train. As a result he believed that the train had already passed over the crossing.
There was no safeguard in the signalling system to prevent this from happening. There was no plan to fit such a safeguard, and no industry requirement to formally consider the safety benefits of one.
RAIB has made four recommendations to Network Rail. They include assessing the need for additional engineered safety measures at level crossings like Moreton-on-Lugg and targeted improvements to its processes for managing risk at level crossings, and for determining when it should bring signalling assets into line with latest safety standards.
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.