Track workers clear path of approaching train with 2 seconds to spare

Photo: Wikimedia.

A group of track workers narrowly avoided being hit by a passenger train when they cleared trolleys from its path with two seconds to spare.

One worker injured their knee as a result and several people who were either involved or witnessed the near miss are said to have been “very distressed”.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) is investigating.

The incident took place at around 00:40 on March 11 when the 22:14 hrs Birmingham New Street to London Euston service was passing between South Hampstead station and Primrose Hill tunnels at 49mph.

The train was approaching along the up fast line when the driver spotted a group of track workers, sounded the train’s warning horn and applied the brakes.

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Image taken from a forward facing CCTV camera showing the incident. Photo: West Midland Trains.
Image taken from a forward facing CCTV camera showing the incident. Photo: West Midland Trains.

According to RAIB, the the track workers believed that they were working on the up slow line.

After hearing shouted warnings from other workers, the sound of the train’s warning horn and seeing the approaching train’s headlights, they immediately began to get out of the way and remove two trolleys that had been placed on the track. The track was cleared two seconds before the train passed.

In a statement, an RAIB spokesperson said that it will determine the sequence of events and consider:

  • how the intended work was planned and authorised, including the adequacy of the geographic information provided for those on site;
  • how the work was implemented on site and the way safe work procedures were applied;
  • the competence management of those involved in the planning, authorisation and implementation of the system of work;
  • any relevant underlying cultural or management factors.

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