Railway Criticised Over Failings

Rail accident

10.07.2008

A report has heavily criticised a preserved railway for an accident in which a steam locomotive hit a partially-opened level crossing and continued on to a station.

The passenger train was travelling towards Lydney Town station on the Dean Forest Railway, Gloucestershire, on August 15, 2007 when it struck a level crossing gate which was partially open. The train continued through the crossing before coming to a halt alongside Lydney Town station platform.

The Railway Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said the train was going too fast and the crew had not been given the right training to control it in the wet conditions.

The RAIB also pointed to the failure of equipment that warned level crossing operators that a train was approaching, and the lack of any system for informing the train crew that this equipment was not working.

Other possible contributory factors were the lack of working equipment on the train to lay sand on the rails, noise from road traffic at the level crossing and pressure on the Dean Forest Railway to minimise delays to road users, it said.

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David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "Many industrial accidents are caused when employees are not fully training or their equipment is defective. In this case, both factors appear to have contributed to the accident. Work systems need to be in place to ensure both workers and members of the public are protected from injury.

"The factors that caused and contributed to this accident could and should have been identified in a risk assessment.

"I represent many people who have been injured or killed in accidents at work."