Salisbury train crash may have been caused by leaves on line

1 month ago 25

Leaves connected the enactment whitethorn person been down a train clang astatine Salisbury that near 13 passengers needing infirmary attraction and a operator with life-changing injuries, it has emerged.

Inspectors from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said aboriginal findings pointed to “low adhesion betwixt the wheels and the track” arsenic the crushed wherefore the South Western work failed to halt astatine the junction wherever 2 lines merged and crashed into the broadside of a Great Western train. Such debased adhesion is astir often caused by leaves connected the line.

The collision was the archetypal important clang betwixt 2 moving trains successful rider work successful 2 decades.

Andrew Hall, RAIB’s lawman main inspector, said connected Tuesday: “From the archetypal grounds we person collected, we cognize that that the transition of the Great Western bid travelling from Eastleigh crossed Salisbury passageway junction was being protected by a reddish signal. At this junction, trains coming from Eastleigh merge with those from Basingstoke, truthful the South Western work coming from Basingstoke was required to halt astatine that signal.

“Unfortunately, it did not halt and struck the broadside of the Great Western bid astatine an space specified that some trains derailed and ran alongside each different into the passageway conscionable beyond the junction. “Initial grounds indicates that the South Western bid operator applied the brakes arsenic it approached the junction and the reddish signal, but the bid was incapable to halt earlier passing the signal.

“This grounds suggests that the astir apt origin of this was wheelslide, astir surely a effect of debased adhesion betwixt the wheels and the track. We are continuing to prosecute this arsenic a enactment of probe amongst others.”

Hall said the RAIB had worked with British Transport Police to analyse the way and train, and they were continuing to analyse grounds from the trains’ information recorders, signalling systems and CCTV. He said the probe was “progressing well” and fuller archetypal findings would beryllium published aboriginal this week.

Train services person been disrupted successful the country since Sunday, but inspectors said they would beryllium capable to manus parts of the clang country backmost to Network Rail aboriginal connected Tuesday.

The collision happened astatine astir 6.45pm connected Sunday erstwhile the a South Western Railway bid from London Waterloo to Honiton successful Devon ran into the GWR bid from Southampton to Cardiff, arsenic they entered the Fisherton passageway adjacent to the centre of Salisbury, carrying 92 passengers successful total.

Gareth Dennis, a railway technologist and writer, said the astir apt origin of the “low adhesion” was leaves. He said: “The South Western bid was shown reddish to wait. It looks similar arsenic helium applied the brakes determination was a debased adhesion lawsuit – the wheels were sliding. This is simply a superior occupation we person had connected our railways for a agelong time.”

Dennis said helium believed determination were 2 imaginable reasons. In immoderate conditions a mist tin beryllium connected the rails. But helium said it was much apt that leaves were involved. “Given the season, I would enactment wealth connected leafage fall,” helium said. “You get a mulchy paste forming connected the rails, which is an incredibly effectual lubricant.”

The attack to the passageway is tree-lined, and Dennis said: “It is champion not to person trees overhanging.”

Martin Frobisher, Network Rail’s information and engineering director, said: “Sunday’s mishap was incredibly frightening for everyone progressive and our thoughts are with everyone injured oregon affected successful immoderate way.

“Initial findings suggest that debased adhesion played a cardinal portion successful causing the collision. It’s an contented that affects railways crossed the satellite and is thing that we, and our bid relation colleagues, enactment hard to combat – truthful that we tin tally trains safely and reliably passim autumn, and wherefore incidents specified arsenic the 1 successful Salisbury astatine the play are incredibly rare.

“We volition proceed to enactment intimately with investigators to recognize what happened and what much we tin bash to assistance forestall this happening again.”