At about 07:25 hrs on 4 February 2010, a quantity of stone ballast fell from the bottom doors of a wagon in a freight train, running from Acton, west London, to Ipswich, as it passed through Romford station in Essex at about 59 mph (95 km/h). Stones bounced onto the station platform, and struck three people, two of whom subsequently required treatment for minor injuries.
The immediate cause of the incident was that ballast fell through an open door on one of the wagons and ricocheted off the track onto the platform.
The causal factors were: the leading bottom discharge doors on wagon 14513 were open when the train left Acton and when it passed through Romford; the position of the lock handles on the PGA wagon can lead staff to believe that the doors are closed and locked when the doors are actually partially or fully open: the design of the mechanism permits this condition to exist.
RAIB has made five recommendations to the company that operated the freight train, relating to modifications to the type of wagon involved in the incident, instructions and methods for checking that doors are properly closed, training and competence of staff, and the management of safety.
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.