At about 22:44 hrs on Monday 23 March 2020, the 21:05 Cardiff Central to Birmingham New Street service collided with a class 66 locomotive that had derailed at the end of a siding, south of Bromsgrove station. The passenger train suffered significant damage along one side of all three vehicles, although it did not derail. There were four passengers and two crew on board the passenger train and none reported any injuries.
The locomotive had just arrived in the siding and was to act as a ‘banking’ locomotive, assisting heavy freight trains up the 1 in 37 Lickey incline, to the north of Bromsgrove station. It derailed after running through the buffer stop at the end of the siding and came to rest fouling the main line. The driver of the locomotive was not injured in the collision, although the locomotive suffered damage to the corner of the leading cab.
The driver did not stop the locomotive before it reached the buffer stop because he became distracted from the driving task by personal issues arising from the national COVID-19 lockdown announced earlier that evening.
The collision occurred because there was insufficient time between the locomotive derailment and the passenger train’s arrival for the alarm to be raised and the passenger train to be stopped.
RAIB has made one recommendation to Network Rail to review its processes and standards for managing buffer stop collision risk on non-platform terminal tracks.
RAIB has also identified three learning points for drivers, relating to compliance with mobile phone policies in the driving cab, informing signallers of accidents and safe exit from trains during an incident.
The sole purpose of RAIB investigations is to prevent future accidents and incidents and improve railway safety. RAIB does not establish blame, liability or carry out prosecutions.
RAIB operates, as far as possible, in an open and transparent manner. While our investigations are completely independent of the railway industry, we do maintain close liaison with railway companies and if we discover matters that may affect the safety of the railway, we make sure that information about them is circulated to the right people as soon as possible, and certainly long before publication of our final report.