RAIB on buffer collision: driver was distracted by cell phone and falling bag

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A Rail Accident Investigation Department (RAIB) report right into a practice hitting buffers in Kirkby says it occurred as a result of the motive force was distracted by their cell phone and their bag, the latter of which fell to the ground.

The motive force was checked in hospital as a precaution, and no person was harm. RAIB says the accident would have been worse had there been extra passengers on the practice or within the platform space behind the buffers.

The accident

At round 18:53 hrs on Saturday 13 March 2021, a Merseyrail practice hit the buffer cease at Kirkby station, Merseyside.

The practice was travelling at 41 mph (66 km/h) because it entered the platform. Quickly afterwards, the motive force utilized the emergency brake, however there was inadequate distance remaining to forestall the collision, and the practice struck the buffer cease at round 29 mph (47 km/h). The practice got here to relaxation below a bridge, round 28 metres past the unique buffer cease place. The motive force was taken to hospital as a precaution and was discharged the next day. There have been no different reported accidents to the guard or to the 12 passengers on board. The collision brought on important harm to the station infrastructure and the entrance of the practice, with the station remaining closed for eight days.

RAIB factors out the accident occurred as a result of the motive force of the practice didn’t apply the brakes in time, as he was distracted from the driving process by his cell phone and by his bag falling onto the cab ground.

No engineered programs routinely utilized the practice’s brakes, because the circumstances for his or her intervention weren’t met. The motive force continued to function the controls for 2 of those programs (the automated warning system and the motive force’s security gadget), stopping their activation, regardless of not being solely engaged within the driving process. A 3rd system (the practice safety and warning system) didn’t activate till after the motive force had already utilized the emergency brake. This technique was put in in compliance with the related requirements nevertheless it didn’t defend towards the actual situation of this accident.

The danger evaluation processes utilized by Merseyrail and Community Rail didn’t determine the chance of the buffer cease being hit at comparatively excessive velocity. RAIB additionally noticed that Merseyrail’s fatigue threat administration process didn’t comply with present business good apply.

RAIB provides this accident would nearly definitely have had a worse end result if there had been extra passengers on the practice or within the platform space behind the buffer cease. On the time, the COVID-19 pandemic had led to restrictions on social contact which resulted in a discount in passenger numbers.

RAIB’s suggestions

RAIB has made three suggestions. The primary is addressed to RSSB and pertains to analysis into units to observe the alertness and consciousness of drivers. The second, addressed to Merseyrail and Community Rail, seeks to enhance the chance evaluation course of for collisions with buffer stops at terminal platforms. The ultimate suggestion asks Merseyrail to enhance its fatigue administration course of to comply with business good apply. RAIB additionally recognized two studying factors. The primary reminds practice drivers of the dangers posed through the use of a cell phone whereas driving a practice. The second reminds practice working corporations of the significance of understanding the bounds of safety supplied by the practice safety and warning system when dangers assessing terminal platforms.

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