Our Ref: HSR/2/11
Head Office Circular: NP/439/21
3rd December 2021
To: The Secretary
RAIB REPORT: TRAINS OVERSPEEDING BETWEEN LAURENCEKIRK AND PORTLETHEN, ABERDEENSHIRE, 4th DECEMBER 2020
At its meeting on 2nd November 2021 your National Executive Committee noted and adopted the following report from its health and safety sub-committee following its consideration of the above report:
Fortunately, the weather on 4 December 2020, when six trains exceeded a reduced speed limit was not as bad as predicted and therefore an earthworks failure was avoided due to insufficient rain fall. This also meant that the possibility of serious accident was avoided. However, it is shocking that this near miss incident happened in the same area, where in August 2020 the Carmont accident took place.
The failure to successfully communicate these speed warnings to drivers is indicative of a fractured rail system, where Network Rail (NWR) implement blanket speed restrictions, following Carmont, to mitigate risk caused by earthwork failures - without sufficient discussion with TOCs as to how best to communicate these speed restrictions.
Given this the General Secretary is instructed:
To write NWR to demand that recommendations and learning points of RAIB report 08/2021 are implemented without delay and while these actions are in the process of being achieved - lineside signage is to be used for blanket speed restrictions - and for reminders to be used if these speed restrictions are in place over large areas.
To write to TOCs demanding that they give sufficient sign-on time for drivers to check and absorb late notices and for TOCs to use best practice human factors issues to make sure that blanket speed restrictions are noticed by drivers.
To issue a press release highlighting the above.
I am acting in line with these instructions and will keep you advised of further developments.