Beds, Herts & Bucks

Sundon near-miss rail workers 'on wrong line'

Track workers near Sundon, Bedfordshire Image copyright East Midlands Trains
Image caption The men were working on the Midland Main Line close to Sundon, Bedfordshire

Two track workers were working on the wrong line when they were seconds away from being hit by a train travelling at 100mph, a report has found.

The men "unintentionally accessed the railway at the wrong location", an investigation by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) found.

They jumped clear of the East Midlands Train at Sundon, Bedfordshire, at about 23:50 GMT on 12 December.

The workers were left unhurt but shocked.

The report found the men were clear of the train's path "less than two seconds before it passed them" and they only got out of the way after the train driver sounded the horn.

The near miss occurred "because the track workers were walking along a line open to traffic in the mistaken belief they were on a line which was closed to traffic", the report said.

It added: "This confusion arose because the track workers had unintentionally accessed the railway at the wrong location for the planned work."

Image copyright Network Rail
Image caption The access point used by the track workers

The report said the incident demonstrated the importance of providing signs so staff can reliably identify access points and the track layout and the potential for staff to become disorientated, particularly when travelling in the dark to work locations.

It also said staff needed to have maps that help them reach the correct access points.

In light of the serious nature of the incident the RAIB wrote to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), the safety regulator for Britain's railways.

The ORR said it currently considered that Network Rail needed to do more to provide their staff and contractors with reliable information about access point location and track layout information.

Image copyright RAIB
Image caption Map showing intended route and actual route taken by the track workers

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