On Saturday 29 July 2006 a freight train stopped at a signal near Deal station in Kent. Whilst checking the brakes of one of the wagons, the driver elected to cross between that wagon and the wagon behind to reach the other side of the train. In doing so, he came into simultaneous contact with the live conductor rail and the buffer of the wagon, and was fatally injured.
The immediate cause of the accident was the driver’s leg coming into contact with a live conductor rail at the same time as his arm was in contact with the buffer, thus causing an electric shock. Causal factors were the driver’s decision to pass between two wagons and a subsequent misjudgement, loss of balance or slip by the driver. There were two further possible causal factors, one contributory factor and four factors that may have influenced the behaviour of the driver.
RAIB has made nine recommendations aimed at:
conductor rail safety;
clarification of rules and publications;
the training and briefing of staff;
maintenance of rolling stock; and
the long term development of simplified isolation arrangements.