The Rail Accident Investigation Branch has released its report into a collision involving an LNER Azuma and an LNER HST.
At 21:41 on the 13th November 2019, an empty LNER Azuma was approaching Neville Hill Depot in Leeds and caught up and collided with the empty LNER HST which was also moving into the depot. The Azuma was travelling at 15 mph, and the HST was travelling in the same direction at 5mph.
No one was injured in the accident, but the trailing bogies on the second and third carriages and the trailing wheelset of the four carriage derailed.
The collision occurred because the driver was trying to reinstate an on-board system that he had recently isolated.
This was made worse by the driver accelerating too hard due to lack of familiarity with the train.
The driver had isolated the on-board system at Leeds because he was unable to set up the train management system due to LNER misunderstanding the “ambiguous documentation” from Hitachi.
The derailment of the Azuma happened because of the design of the Intercity Express Trains is susceptible to derailment in low-speed collisions. This was due to the use of high-strength couplers that had a large amount of movement.
The trains designers did not consider the impact of these features on the resistance to a derailment at low speed.
The crashworthiness standard used to design the Azuma trains did not require the designers to consider a collision at speeds slower than 22.5 mph.
The RAIB has made five recommendations. Two recommendations are addressed to LNER and relate to correcting its understanding of the setup of the train management system and ensuring that the documentation provided by Hitachi has not led to any other safety issues. The other recommendations relate to:
- Hitachi to revisit the assessment of the design of the Intercity Express Train against the requirements of the crashworthiness standard
- LNER to assess the risk of a derailment of an Intercity Express Train involved in a low speed collision
- RSSB to consider whether it is appropriate for the crashworthiness standard to be modified.
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