South West Wales

Lucky escape for workers from runaway rail transporters

Iron Man transporter Image copyright RMT
Image caption The trolleys were transporting rail track when they broke free

Workers narrowly escaped injury when runaway railway transporters ran free for six miles along a south Wales line.

The "Iron Man" transporter broke free between Pantyffynnon Junction and Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen, Neath Port Talbot, on Sunday.

Two workers applied the brakes but the trailers failed to stop and they were forced to jump out of its way.

Union RMT is demanding action to "avoid a repeat" of the 2004 Tebay tragedy when four workers died.

A Network Rail report into Sunday's incident said two sets of trolleys were transporting a 52-foot (15m) section of rail when they began to run away.

"After being unable to physically stop the trolleys the staff jumped clear, with one member of staff sustaining a graze to the head after falling on to the ballast," it said.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said the incident had sent "shock waves" through the railway community.

Warning device

"It is pure luck that no-one was killed or injured and we are not prepared to leave the safety of our members to luck," he said.

"Ten years after the Tebay disaster, where four RMT members lost their lives at Tebay in Cumbria, we are still awaiting the full roll-out of the warning device that we have been promised for years."

A Network Rail spokesperson said the safety of its workforce was paramount and it was conducting a formal investigation.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch said it was aware of the incident and was carrying out preliminary inquiries.

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