At 04.53 hrs on Thursday 29 November 2007, a 62 year old track worker, employed by Network Rail, was struck and killed by a glancing blow from an empty passenger train. The track worker was working alone and lifting track protection at the end of overnight maintenance work. The train was operated by First Great Western Trains.
The RAIB investigation identified that the immediate cause of the accident was that the worker was walking on an open line without keeping an adequate look out for the trains. Causal factors were that he had confirmed that the line was clear to resume operations while he was still some distance from a permanent position of safety. He was also probably using an umbrella in the bad weather, which obscured his view of the approaching train.
As a consequence of this accident, RAIB has made five recommendations, targeted at Network Rail.
- Four of the recommendations address wide-ranging issues related to track worker safety
- The fifth relates to the need for improvements to the monitoring of site visits by managers.
Since the accident, Network Rail have undertaken trials aimed at removing the need for on-track protection measures, which in some circumstances, would reduce the requirement for staff to access the track.
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.