The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) is to look into two incidents involving trains colliding with engineering trollies left on the line after overnight work.
The latest incident took place at 06:09 on 21 October 2021 in which the 05:23 Great Western Railway passenger service from London Paddington to Swansea, travelling at 123mph (198km/h), struck an engineering trolley left on the line near Challow in Oxfordshire.
The train came to a stand around 1.5 miles beyond the point of collision. Although there were no injuries among the passengers on board and the train did not derail, the handle of the trolley became wedged under the leading bogie of the train and the trolley itself caused some damage to the train’s underframe. The collision resulted in minor damage to the track, while the trolley appears to have been destroyed by the impact.
The train involved in the collision was the first train to pass through the area after the track was handed back following engineering work which had taken place during the previous night. RAIB’s preliminary examination found that the trolley had been inadvertently left on the railway line following this work, which had taken place within a possession.
In its investigation, RAIB will seek to identify the sequence of events that led to the collision. It will also consider:
- The processes in place for managing vehicles such as trolleys within possessions;
- The training, competence and management oversight of the staff involved and any factors that may have influenced their actions;
- Any relevant underlying factors.
The RAIB investigation will also consider a similar incident which took place at 05:55 on 8 September 2021, when a passenger train travelling between Staines and London Waterloo struck an engineering trolley on the approach to Twickenham station. This trolley had also been left on the line following overnight engineering work. RAIB had intended to publish a separate safety digest concerning this incident but it will now look into the two accidents together.