1. Pre-use checks and loading of hand trolleys
2. Workforce fatality
3. Lineside materials – vandalism
4. Electrical fire - staff injury

1. Pre-use checks and loading of hand trolleys

On the morning of 20 October a prohibition notice was served by an inspector of the Office of Rail and Road following an unannounced site visit at Woofferton Brook on Wales Route.

During the visit the inspector noticed that several trolleys did not have any lights visible. The teams on site attempted to rectify this issue unsuccessfully.

Another trolley was sourced to carry out the work however the brakes on this trolley were found to be defective. Further checks on the other trolleys uncovered similar conditions.

The inspector was then of the opinion that this constituted a serious and imminent risk of either runaway or collision and served a prohibition notice. The trolleys (both Type A and Type B) were immediately quarantined.

Initial findings from the investigation have shown that there was evidence a pallet on the trolley prevented the brakes from working. The pallet pressed on the spigot at the opposite end to the brake handle, holding the brakes off.

This is not the first time an inappropriately loaded trolley has led to compromised braking. Runaway rail equipment has caused fatalities in earlier events.

2. Workforce fatality

In the early hours of Tuesday 6th November, a member of the Southeast Route's possession delivery team was fatally struck by a train at Stoats Nest Junction, between Purley and Coulsdon. The colleague was carrying out Possessions Support duties.


The colleague arrived at the agreed access point as briefed (point A on the diagram), where he parked his vehicle. Signal protection was granted and he was given authority to access the track and place Possession Limit Boards and detonators. These were placed in the correct position.

After confirming that the Possession Limit Boards and detonators were in place, our colleague walked approximately 400m south, past the access/egress point and the possession protection onto an open line.

At 00:27hrs, a passenger train made a planned movement from the Down Fast on to the Down Slow where the tragic incident occurred.

3. Lineside materials – vandalism

On the 18th December 2018 at 14:00, a passenger train struck an object positioned on the rail head in the vicinity of Gilberdyke (Hull Station to Selby line).

Initial investigation found the train had struck a 20kg metal signal wedge that had been left trackside awaiting recovery after recent signalling project works.

It seems likely that the signal wedge may have been placed on the rail head intentionally. British Transport Police are investigating. This could have derailed the train as similar incidents of vandalism have demonstrated.

While the investigation takes place, it is important to remember the requirements for lineside materials.

Keep your work area tidy at all times and never leave the following and similar items unattended trackside:

4. Electrical fire - staff injury

Whist E&P staff where attending to a fault at Godinton Substation on the evening of the 20th December there was a release of electrical energy (Flashover) when a member of staff attempted to replace a 750V, 2 Amp fuse which had blown earlier.

The flashover caused severe burns to the injured person. He attended hospital and was transferred to a specialist burns unit where he is being treated for his injuries.

The substation was substantially damaged by the fire that resulted.

An investigation into the accident has begun and further information will be shared once it is complete.

An immediate technical bulletin was distributed to Routes on 21st December. That advises no-one should enter the breaker cell in a Whipp & Bourne MM74 DC Circuit Breaker unless the incoming power is de-energised.

In the meantime staff are reminded when working with or around electrical equipment to always follow the life-saving rules and consider the following points below.