Driver in Kings Cross buffer crash was 'fatigued'

Train Image copyright PA
Image caption Five people reported minor injuries in the 4mph crash

A driver of a train that crashed into buffers on arrival at Kings Cross station was suffering from fatigue, an investigation has found.

The worker was coming to the end of a "relatively demanding night shift" when the collision happened at 06:23 BST on 15 August.

Five people reported minor injuries in the 4mph crash, which pushed the buffers back more than one metre.

The train involved was the 05:13 GMT Great Northern service from Royston.

The driver, who has not been identified by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), "briefly closed her eyes because they felt tired" in the seconds before the collision, the report said.

When she opened them she made an emergency brake application but it was "too late to avoid hitting the buffers", the RAIB added.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The driver was coming to the end of an "intensive" night shift

Investigators revealed it was the woman's first night shift after a period of rest days and she was "not sufficiently well rested".

It noted the Rail Safety and Standards Board "advocates a limit of eight hours for the first night shift" due to concerns over fatigue. However, the woman's shift was due to be 35 minutes longer.

The driver told the RAIB her tasks were "more intensive than other night shifts" with less opportunity for rest.

She had two years' experience of driving trains on the lines out of King's Cross, the report added.

Speaking on the day of the crash, passenger Natasha Coella, 36, said: "We just all went flying. It's as if while we were slowing down it kind of accelerated again.

"No-one expected it and people just went from one end of the carriage to the other."

When asked whether the driver was still working for the company, a spokesperson for Govia Thameslink Railway said: "Our internal investigation of this incident has not been concluded, so we are not able to comment on any details."

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