1.   Engineering work site given up whilst track remained obstructed

2.   Serious physical assault

3.   Runaway trolley

4.   Near miss with trackworker

5.    Drugs & Alcohol

1. Engineering work site given up whilst track remained obstructed


At 05:25 on 15 May 2017 a tamper, travelling at 15 mph transiting to exit the possession safely stopped short of a 5 metre long pile which was obstructing the Down Main line.

The transit was not part of arrangements for verifying the line as clear. Other than the chance presence of the tamper, there were no further controls in place to prevent the first passenger service, at line speed encountering the pile.

Contractors installing piles had recently given up an engineering work site covering the area, declaring it safe for the passage of trains.

The pile, had been loaded into the Movax piling head and taken to the planned work location. On arrival the work group identified a pile "stored ready" on the lineside and set the pile they had been carrying down in the four foot of the opposite line a short distance from the place of work, and then proceeded to install the stored pile.

Due to installation complications the team realised that they would not be able to drive the pile to its complete depth in the time available before the work site was shortened back to allow the tamper to exit the possession.

So the work group installed the pile to a safe depth and travelled back to the access point approximately 20 minutes away. No-one on-site remembered to collect the pile which had been set down in the four foot.

An investigation is underway; however the following contributory factors have been established:

2. Serious physical assault


At around 06:00 on 19 June 2017 a serious assault occurred outside a Network Rail managed construction site. The incident involved a site manager working for a contractor.

When opening the site in the morning while alone, the site manager was stabbed in the chest after he declined to give his phone to a lone male wanting to rob him.

Luckily the assailant quickly left and the member of staff was able to contact his line manager and the emergency services. He was promptly taken to hospital where he received medical attention and has since been sent home to recover.

The event is under investigation by the Police and the contractor with full support from Network Rail. Once the investigation has been completed, further lessons learned will be shared.

3. Runaway trolley


On 23 July 2017, as part of the North-South Wales Projects, a type B trolley was being used to carry tools and equipment approximately half a mile back to Leasows Yard after the recovery of old insulated block joints (IBJs).

The initial report indicates that the trackman pushing the trolley lost his grip on the trolley as it began to increase speed while descending a gradient.

The handle used on the trolley was from a track jack and not the correct handle for the trolley and it is thought that the handle is of sufficient weight to prevent it returning to the vertical position when released, as it should to activate the brakes.

Nobody was injured but the trolley travelled over a mile before coming to rest. The project has halted all works with on-track trolleys until the investigation is complete and the cause is fully understood.


4. Near miss with trackworker


On 24 July 2017 at 09:27 a COSS with a 7-person vegetation clearance team working for a Works Delivery Principal Contractor was less than two seconds from being struck by a train.

The COSS had taken a line blockage for the up line, but the team were actually working on the down line, which was open to traffic.

The train was slowing on the approach to Trowbridge station and was travelling at 25mph on a 50mph line with good visibility during daylight hours.

Since March 2017 there have been two near misses and three close calls on the Western Route. Four of these incidents involved the teams being in the wrong location due to either not understanding the track layout or not understanding the safe system of work pack (SSOWP).

The fifth incident was an error of judgement by the COSS.

No one involved in these incidents challenged that they were working in an unsafe position or even in the wrong location.

Please take time to watch the 'One Near Miss Too Many' on the Track Safety Alliance website.

5. Drugs & Alcohol


All persons on site have a legal responsibility to NOT come to work under the influence of any intoxicants.