Track worker near miss, Shawford

Rail Accident Investigation Branch

July 29
09:59 2016

At 12:22 hrs on 24 June 2016, train 1T29, the 11:09 hrs London Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour service, narrowly missed striking a track worker who had gone onto the railway to locate a reported track defect. He was not injured but was badly shaken by the incident.

The track worker was a Network Rail employee and was part of a team of three carrying out rail inspections and maintenance. He had accessed the railway at Shawford station and walked northwards along one side of the tracks to locate a reported rail defect using GPS equipment. When he was unable to locate the defect, he crossed three tracks to the far side of the railway. After a short time, he began to cross back. While crossing, he stopped and stood still in the centre track (the down fast line) as he became distracted by the GPS equipment. At the same time, train 1T29 was approaching at about 80 mph (129 km/h) around a right-hand bend. The driver sounded the trains horn and made an emergency brake application. The track worker only began to move when the train was about two seconds away and moved clear about one second before the train passed him.

The train driver reported the near miss to the signaller. Neither the track worker, nor another member of the team who was walking towards him along the side of the railway, reported the near miss at the time. The incident was not reported to the RAIB at the time.

Our investigation will identify the sequence of events that led to the incident. It will also consider:

  • why no protection was in place when the track worker went onto the tracks
  • how the work was planned
  • any factors which may have influenced the actions of the team
  • any underlying management factors.

Our investigation is independent of any investigation by the railway industry or by the industrys regulator, the Office of Rail and Road.

We will publish our findings, including any recommendations to improve safety, at the conclusion of our investigation. This report will be available on our website.

You can subscribe to automated emails notifying you when we publish our reports.

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