The investigation team, which is investigating the causes of the Salisbury train accident on Sunday evening (October 31), says that the first results show that the South Western Railway (SWR) train from Waterloo to Honiton went through a red signal and hit a previous GWR train in such an angle that both trains derailed and slid forward into a tunnel ahead before stopping.
The news comes just 24 hours after it was revealed that one of the two drivers suffered ‘life-changing’ injuries. The line is expected to remain closed until November 4, with a preliminary investigation completed by the end of the week.
The team that investigates all rail accidents, near misses and serious safety breaches, RAIB (Rail Accident Investigation Branch), has fire investigators who collect evidence, investigate the site and work with relevant authorities to assess what happened so they can prevent it from happening. again in the future.
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A full investigation with recommendations is expected to take months, as was the case with recent incidents, including a 23-meter near-miss accident on the Metropolitan line and a passenger who was crushed to death in the space between a Bakerloo train and the platform.
The first results were revealed by Andrew Hall, RAIB’s Deputy Chief Inspector. He said: “From the initial evidence we have gathered, we know that the passage of the Great Western train, which ran from Eastleigh over the Salisbury Tunnel Junction, was protected by a red signal.
“At this junction, trains coming from Eastleigh merge with those from Basingstoke, so the south-west route from Basingstoke was obliged to stop at that signal.
“Unfortunately, it did not stop and hit the side of the Great Western train at an angle, so both trains derailed and ran side by side into the tunnel just behind the intersection.
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“The first evidence suggests that the southwestern train driver activated the brakes as it approached the intersection and the red signal, but the train was unable to stop until it passed the signal.
“This evidence suggests that the most likely cause of this was wheel slip, almost certainly a result of low adhesion between the wheels and the track. We continue to pursue this, among other things, as a line of investigation.”
Wheelslide is when the wheels of the train are out of sync with its speed because the rails on which the rails run are too slippery. It often occurs in winter or autumn weather like those seen over the weekend, which caused disruption to railways across the country, especially on the main lines between London and Scotland.
The train called at Waterloo and Clapham Junction in London before running down the less frequently used West of England line, where the crash occurred. This line is rural and has a line speed of 50 mph at the scene of the accident.
A train traveling at 50 km / h and suffering from wheel wear can be dangerous, which is why railway adhesion trains run over tracks to defrost, clean up and ensure that the trains have enough grip (‘adhesion’) between the wheels and rails. In 2010, another crash involving a GWR and SWR train (then FGW and SWT) further down the line at Exeter caused several injuries where wheel wear was a factor.
Network Rail explained the next steps to passengers and thanked them for their patience and understanding in a tweet earlier today.
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