At around 06:00 hrs on 8 March 2011, two gangs of Network Rail track maintenance staff were involved in incidents with trains between Clapham Junction and Earlsfield stations. The gangs were setting up an emergency speed restriction after the discovery of a rail defect earlier that morning. The work was being carried out following the late handback of an engineering possession. There were no casualties, and only minor disruption to train services following the incidents.
The staff involved did not follow the rules for setting up safe and appropriate systems of work. This was due to a combination of factors including excessive workload, the pressure to complete the work, fatigue and / or tiredness, the complexity of the rules, the absence of checking of the arrangements by a third party, the ineffectiveness of Network Rail’s competence management process and a shortage of staff.
RAIB has made five recommendations to Network Rail. These relate to the arrangements for carrying out unplanned and / or emergency work, the pressure on those responsible for setting up protection arrangements for access to the railway in such situations, the workload of Track Section Managers, the competence of staff in situations which are encountered infrequently and the provision of confirmation to the signaller that an emergency speed restriction has been set up.
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.