The Rail Accident Investigation Branch has released their report into a fatal accident including a train driver at Tyseley maintenance depot in Birmingham.
At 20:00 on Saturday 14th December 2019, a train driver was trapped between two trains at Tyseley maintenance depot in Birmingham, unfortunately, as a result, the driver received fatal injuries.
The driver was trapped because he passing between two closely-spaced trains, and one of the trains moved towards the other due to a coupling operation. The driver had not been using a safe route for walking within the yard, and “almost certainly” did not expect that the two trains would move as he passed between them.
The other driver who was coupling the trains was unaware that anyone was to close to them, he did not sound his horn prior to coupling because local instructions did not require him to do so.
The RAIB also found that West Midlands Trains had now considered the risks faced by drivers on depots – the investigation found that Tyseley was operating above capacity at night, and management assurance processes at night had not promoted safe working.
The RAIB has recommended that West Midlands Trains must ensure that effective assessments regarding walking and working in depots, they have also been recommended to review their processes to ensure that any unsafe working can be identified and causes addressed.
Simon French, Chief Inspector of Rail Accidents said: “The death of any member of railway staff on duty is a tragedy. As we publish RAIB’s investigation report into the accident which took place at Tyseley depot in December last year, my thoughts are very much with the family of the train driver who died as a result.”
“This sad accident highlights how dangerous depots and sidings can be. When I started on the railway in 1982 one of the first things that was drummed into me was to take care around vehicles, and to only go under or between vehicles when you were quite sure they were not going to move. That is as true now as it was then. No matter how bad the weather, don’t be tempted to make a quick dash through a small gap. It could prove fatal.”
“In a depot like Tyseley, trains are maintained and serviced in readiness for their next duty. Train drivers are required as part of their normal work to take trains into depots for these activities to take place. They will also carry out the final preparation of trains and take them out of depots afterwards. We found that the department within the train operating company responsible for managing traincrew and the department responsible for the servicing and maintenance of trains were not working well together. This meant the company as a whole did not understand or sufficiently manage the risks posed to drivers who were working or walking in depots. The company was also not taking effective action to deal with unsafe actions in depots. Good safety management requires both an understanding of risk and spotting when things are not being done properly, and then doing something about it.”
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