Near miss with a member of staff at Rowlands Castle

At around 19:14 hrs on 19 December 2020, a Network Rail Mobile Operations Manager (MOM) was nearly struck by a non-stopping passenger train passing through Rowlands Castle station, between Petersfield and Havant. The MOM was on the track retrieving a bag from the line, when he saw the train approaching. He managed to get onto the platform and clear of the train about one second before it passed at around 60 mph (97 km/h). Nobody was injured, although the MOM and the train driver were distressed by the incident.

The MOM did not request that trains through the platform be stopped and was not aware of the train’s approach because he had contacted the wrong signaller to check whether there were any trains approaching. Instead of contacting the signaller at Havant signalling centre, which controls the area including Rowlands Castle, the MOM contacted Petersfield signal box, which controls the adjacent area on the approach to Rowlands Castle. The signaller and MOM did not discuss the fact that Rowlands Castle was not in the control area of Petersfield signal box.

Our investigation will determine the sequence of events that led to the incident and include consideration of:

  • the factors affecting the decisions and actions of those involved
  • verbal communications between the MOM and the signaller
  • the training, assessment and monitoring of MOMs
  • information sources available to, and used by, MOMs
  • any local management factors
  • any other relevant underlying factors.

Our investigation is independent of any investigation by the railway industry or by the industry’s 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.

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