Shortly after 08:00 hrs on 8 November 2010, a passenger train running from London Charing Cross to Hastings failed to stop at Stonegate station in East Sussex. The train ran for a further 2.45 miles (3.94 km) with the emergency brake applied, passing the level crossing at Crowhurst Bridge before coming to a stop 3.22 miles (5.18 km) after first applying the brakes.
No-one was hurt and there was no damage to the train or to the track. The train completed the journey to Hastings after a short delay.
Rail adhesion conditions were poor on that day due to high winds causing fresh leaf fall, and the onset of rain. The line had been treated to improve adhesion the previous evening.
It is likely that the train failed to stop at Stonegate station because there was almost certainly no sand in the sand hoppers at the leading end. If sand had been present, the train braking system would have deposited sand onto the rail head, improving the available adhesion and allowing the train to stop in a much shorter distance.
RAIB has made three recommendations to London & South Eastern Railway Ltd, covering improvements in maintenance processes, restrictions on the use of trains that need servicing, driver awareness of low sand conditions and the responsiveness of the sand replenishment regime.
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.