Report released after HST collided with debris near Corby

HST Corby Northamptonshire

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch has released its report after a High-Speed Train (HST) collided with debris near Corby.

At 15:53 on Thursday 13th June 2019, a northbound HST was travelling at 40 mph when it collided with debris washed out by floodwater from the adjacent cutting slope near Corby station.

After reporting the incident, the train driver found that the rear of the train had become trapped by the debris.

All 191 passengers on board were later transferred onto a southbound train, which itself became trapped by floodwater.

Between 450 and 550 passengers on board the subsequently trapped train were taken by a southbound train at 23:14 and conveyed them to a nearby station to continue their journey by rail.

No one was injured by the collision or detrainment. However, conditions on the southbound train were uncomfortable due to overcrowding.

Temporary repairs were made to allow the railway to reopen the following day, with a temporary speed restriction (TSR) in place.

The RAIB investigation found that the cutting slope had failed because it was not designed to cope with the amount of water that had accumulated on its crest.

The floodwater had accumulated because two flood storage ponds had overfilled with water from a nearby brook. A blockage beneath the bridge over the brook had caused the water level to rise and caused the water to flow into the spillway and ponds, which had not been pumped down for nearly four weeks.

Exceptionally heavy rainfall was found to not be a factor in the incident.

The investigation had found three underlying causes of this incident:

  1. A lack of communication between parties responsible for flood management
  2. An effective flood management system was not in place to manage the risk to the railway line.
  3. Network Rail had not taken any action to mitigate the risk of the cutting failing, despite knowing about the risk of failure.

The investigation also found that a lack of equipment for transferring passengers from one train to another was a factor in this incident.

The RAIB has made five recommendations:

  1. The first calls for Northamptonshire County Council, Anglian Water, Homes England, Corby Borough Council and Network Rail to work out an effective flood management system
  2. Network Rail needs to identify similar locations that are prone to flooding and review how it manages this risk.
  3. Network Rail needs to provide its staff with training on how to better manage short term risks to earthworks.
  4. Rail Delivery Group and Network Rail need to work on improving the management of stranded passenger train incidents and review their procedures to identify what equipment is needed.
  5. Network Rail needs to take steps with TOCs to make sure that this equipment is available for use when it is needed.

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  1. And only a few miles away, we were flooded and my car and caravan and shed contents destroyed and councils, roads, housing association, parish council were unconcerned and generally unresponsive at the damming and subsequent flood tide of the entire valley between lower Benefield and Glapthorn.
    My own investigation began when I discovered a bridge collapse and blocked culvert at Benefield that when unblocked by whoever had the heavy cranes brought in, they had caused a massive tide and flooding.
    Of course no one was interested about social housing lower down the valley, but the millionaires in Benefield heaved sighs of relief.
    In short… No one is in charge and no one can be charged.
    You’re on your own even on a crowded train.


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