Failure to reduce risk at train crash site

Have your say

A report into a train crash near Stowmarket has revealed flaws in the way Suffolk County Council and Network Rail acted to reduce risk at the location.

On November 30 2011, a car travelling towards Old Newton on the B1113 left the road and onto the railway tracks.

The car was struck by a passenger train but the driver escaped before the train hit and nobody on the train was injured.

A report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), published on Wednesday, found that representatives from Suffolk County Council and Network Rail performed a risk assessment of the site in 2005.

But the report identified that Suffolk County Council had not implemented controls to mitigate the risk of vehicles driving on the tracks where the crash occurred and that Network Rail had no process in place to monitor the actions of local highways authorities and had assumed the council were taking action to address this identified risk.

The report also said Network Rail only had limited knowledge of incursions where the road and the railway ran parallel.

Since the accident, Suffolk County Council has installed barriers at the site of the crash and is working with Network Rail to review existing incursion locations.

Lucy Robinson, Suffolk County Council’s director of economy, skills and environment, said: “Suffolk County Council take its responsibilities for ensuring safety on the county’s roads very seriously and every year we invest in measures to prevent and reduce casualties.

“During this period, we were focusing on sites which had seen more accidents in the past and we were prioritising those sites.

“We accept that, in hindsight, we should have taken action sooner.

“We have now installed a barrier and conducted a thorough overhaul of our procedures, including improving communications with Network Rail.”

A spokeswoman from Network Rail said: “We have already started to address the issues raised in the Rail Accident Investigation Branch report and will carefully consider their recommendations and take any necessary action.”