One of the trains involved in the Salisbury crash on Sunday ran 220 metres past a stop sign.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said the driver attempted to brake before reaching the stop sign, however, the train’s automatic protection system that is meant to assist with emergency breaking did not slow the train as it should have.
According to a preliminary report, the RAIB said the train’s wheels slipped on the rails which caused it to crash into the side of a Great Western Railway service.
Both trains derailed and continued “some distance” into Fisherton Tunnel before stopping.
RAIB will be investigating how Network Rail handles what it calls “low wheel/rail adhesion” as well as Network Rail and SWR’s general policies on the matter.
Police said the driver of the SWR service suffered “life-changing injuries.”
13 passengers were treated in hospital for minor injuries.
Autumn can pose a particular problem for low adhesion, especially with leaves falling from trees. The leaves create a thin and slippery layer as trains pass over them, similar to black ice on roads, which makes it more difficult to accelerate and brake.
Martin Frobisher, Network Rail’s safety and engineering director said the issue “affects railways across the world” and that this is something industry bodies “work hard to combat so that we can run trains safely and reliably throughout autumn.”
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