Tyne & Wear

Person at Durham station injured by ballast from train

A person at a railway station platform was hurt when ballast was thrown up as a fast-moving train passed by, prompting an investigation.

A mechanical component had just dropped on to the track from the train at Durham station on the East Coast Main Line on 10 April, investigators said.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said the person had suffered a minor injury from a piece of gravel.

It said the train involved had been travelling at 75mph (120km/h).

The RAIB said the component - a final drive cardan shaft - had dropped on to the track from an empty passenger train travelling from Neville Hill depot, Leeds, to Heaton depot, Newcastle.

'Similar failures'

The component also damaged the underside of two carriages, piercing the fuel tank on one and releasing the contents on to the railway.

The train involved was formed of two 2-car Class 142 units. According to the RAIB, there have been a number of incidents since October 2010 where cardan shafts have failed on similar types of train.

The RAIB's investigation is independent of any investigations by the Office of Rail Regulation.

A spokesperson for the Office of Rail Regulation said it was satisfied well-maintained Pacers, or Class 142 units, were safe.

"However, we are currently investigating an incident involving this type of train which occurred at Durham station on 10 April in which a member of the public was hurt.

"This train operates in other parts of the rail network and following similar failures it is important that our investigation quickly establishes the causes and any lessons for the rail industry."

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