Excessive speed and poor visibility were the reasons a locomotive crashed into a passenger train at a North Yorkshire station, a government investigation has found.
Five Whitby service passengers were slightly injured when the diesel-powered train crashed into their car at Grosmont Station on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) shortly after 10:30 a.m. on September 21 of this year.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said the train intended to stop behind the waiting train, but continued and crashed at around 5 mph.
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The RAIB found that the accident had occurred “because the locomotive was traveling too fast to be able to stop within the available distance when the stationary cars ahead first appeared in the driver’s view.”
The 20 series locomotive, designed in the 1950s, is fitted with a cab only at one end, which means that the driver’s visibility in the line ahead is much more restricted when the nose is in the lead, the conductor having to look through a narrow window beyond the side of the locomotive.
The report also revealed that the locomotive was privately owned and was not intended for use on the NYMR line that day, but was required at short notice.
The report also found that the driver “did not have the specific skill” to drive the Class 20 which was being used as a substitute service, but added that he had enlisted the help of a traction inspector to accompany him. .
The locomotive had already been to Whitby that morning and was returning to Grosmont, where it was uncoupled from the train and replaced with a steam locomotive. He was then stabled in a siding until he was hooked up for subsequent service back to Whitby.
A train was already waiting for departure on the platform, blocking access to the siding, so the locomotive was advised to wait in the open space behind the service towards Whitby and, once departed, to move towards the siding.
The report read: “The conductor began moving from platform three to a position behind signal 11, with the cab of the locomotive in the lead.”
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The driver changed his cockpit and started backing up towards the platform with the end of the cab dragging and increased his speed to around 10 mph.
The initial straight line was a straight line, with the driver’s view of the line being limited by the body of the locomotive in front of him, the line later curves to the right, further limiting his view. The report states that the driver could only have seen the rear passenger cars when he was 16 meters from the passenger train.
The driver applied the brakes and the emergency braking slowed the speed to 5 mph, but the speed decrease began when the cars were only 20 yards away. The driver said he believed the train was further down the platform and had more time and space.
The RAIB discovered that the driver’s ignorance of the engine was another factor in the accident.
The NYMR received an improvement notice in October due to the collision, which required the railway to be able to demonstrate the competence of its drivers to operate both on its own infrastructure and on the line. Network Rail.
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