Rail Accident Investigation Branch
At around 13:00 hrs on 4 May 2023, the 09:54 hrs Sunderland to Kings Cross service, operated by Grand Central, passed over three sets of points at Spital Junction on the northern approach to Peterborough station at a speed of around 65 mph (104 km/h). This was above the maximum permitted speed over the junction which is initially 30 mph (48 km/h) reducing to 25 mph (40 km/h).
The excessive speed over the points led to the train lurching sideways. This resulted in a number of minor injuries being sustained by passengers, with some being thrown from their seats.
The train subsequently came to a stand at Peterborough station under emergency braking. The train did not derail during the incident, and subsequent inspections found that no damage was caused to the infrastructure of the railway, or to the vehicles.
The train involved in the incident was not due to call at Peterborough. It had been approaching the station on a fast line, before being routed onto a slower line via the points where the overspeed occurred. The route onto this slower line was being displayed by the junction signal situated on the approach to the points.
RAIB is currently investigating an overspeed incident at this location which occurred on 17 April 2022. The report of this investigation will be published soon. More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/overspeeding-incident-at-peterborough-station.
On 25 May 2023, RAIB issued urgent safety advice to Network Rail and transport undertakings who operate trains on the East Coast Main Line through Peterborough station. This advised the relevant duty holders to take immediate steps, either operationally, or by technical means, to mitigate this risk. The urgent safety advice can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/urgent-safety-advice-022023-overspeeding-through-spital-junction.
Our investigation into this more recent incident will seek to identify the sequence of events which led to it. This will include consideration of:
- the way in which the train was driven
- any factors which may have influenced the actions of the driver of the train
- the condition of the signalling system at the time of the incident
- the nature of the reported injuries
- 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 whe