Report 01/2011: Passenger train struck by object at Washwood Heath

Passenger train struck by object at Washwood Heath, Birmingham, 6 March 2010.


A passenger train passing the site of track maintenance work at Washwood Heath, Birmingham on 6 March 2010 struck a piece of rail being moved as part of the maintenance work. The front and lower side of the train were damaged by the impact and the driver of the train was slightly injured. None of the passengers on the train or workers on the site were injured.

The accident was caused by a combination of factors including:

  • the unsafe system of work adopted for the maintenance work did not comply with the rule book or Network Rail’s procedures
  • the supervisor in charge of the relaying work was not adequately managed and was not challenged over his unsafe method of work
  • the lack of effective review of the safe system of work at the planning and implementation stages.

RAIB has made four recommendations to Network Rail, the owners of the infrastructure. The recommendations relate to independent checking of safe systems of work, supervision of staff at the Saltley infrastructure maintenance delivery unit (IMDU), the training and assessment of existing staff for safety leadership roles and changes to operating procedures. A recommendation regarding understanding the causes of rule violation made in a previous report in 2006 was also relevant here

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 Washwood Heath

Published 10 December 2014