Track workers dive clear from train after safety blunder

Two track workers had a near miss from a passenger train following a mix-up over line possession.

A Rail Accident Investigation Branch report into the incident in July detailed the circumstances behind the near miss at Eccles station.

The workers were on the westbound track in the early hours under the protection of a line blockage organised by the Controller of Site Safety (COSS).

The pair had been standing on the track to paint a white line along the edge of Platform 2 and had just been told to stop work and were preparing to leave the track when an empty passenger train approached on its way to the depot.

The driver spotted their reflective clothing and sounded his horn. They jumped clear with seconds to spare as the train passed at 69 mph.

The incident occurred because the COSS had given up the line blockage before informing the track workers that they had to move clear of the line and making sure that they had done so.

The work on the platform was being undertaken on behalf of Northern Trains Ltd, the operator of Eccles station. It was contracted to TMT Commercial Contractors Ltd, who planned the white-lining task and employed the track workers.

TMT Commercial Contractors Ltd subcontracted the provision of safety-critical staff and the planning of the safe system of work to Trackwork Ltd. The COSS was a contractor who was supplied to Trackwork Ltd by an agency, Spectrum Rail Ltd. He had been certified as competent to undertake the role of COSS for approximately ten years and regularly acted in the role.

The COSS was also the nominated Person In Charge and therefore had overall responsibility for safely delivering the work.

For a full report into the incident click here.

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