Report 26/2008: Near miss involving railway staff and a train between Bishop’s Stortford and Stansted Mountfitchet

Near miss involving railway staff and a train between Bishop’s Stortford and Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex.


At about 16:21 hrs on 20 January 2008 the driver of train 1B78, the 14:25 hrs from London Liverpool Street to Stansted Airport, was standing alongside his train while two fitters made repairs to it. The driver had to take rapid evasive action to avoid being struck by another train travelling at speed on the adjacent line and threw himself to the ground as the train passed. No-one was hurt in the incident, and there was no damage to trains or infrastructure.

The RAIB investigation identified that the immediate cause of the incident was that the driver of train 1B78 had not made arrangements for his own protection before going on the line.

Causal factors were that the driver did not inform the signaller or request a blockage of the adjacent line before getting out of his cab, the signaller was unaware that the driver had left his cab and did not take any action to caution trains past the failed train or block the other line, the driver assumed that all trains were being cautioned past his failed train and the fitters did not make arrangements for their own protection as required.

As a consequence of this incident, RAIB has made five recommendations targeted at Network Rail and London Eastern Railway (National Express East Anglia). These cover the quality of safety critical communications in the Anglia area , the protection arrangements that apply when drivers need to go on the track, the documents used in signal boxes for recording unusual incidents and the provision of information about trackside hazards to staff working on failed trains.

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.

RAIB Recommendation response for Bishop’s Stortford

Published 10 December 2014