11 August 2023
RMT Press Office
RAIL UNION RMT warned on the eve of the third anniversary of the Carmont rail tragedy tomorrow (Saturday August 12) of an ‘increasing risk of another tragedy’ due to the failure of government and Network Rail to act on safety recommendations made last year.
The report into the fatal derailment of a passenger train at Carmont, Aberdeenshire on August 12, 2020 by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) made 20 recommendations in March 2022 for the improvement of railway safety including the better management of construction activities by Network Rail and its contractors.
However, the safety regulator, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) warned earlier this year that “continuing with, in effect, the status quo may lead to a failure to learn the lessons of Carmont”.[i]
Despite the RAIB making 20 recommendations in its March 2022 report into the Carmont accident, 18 of these recommendations remain open. [ii]
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said that the union would pause to remember the tragic deaths of the three who were killed, including RMT conductor member, Donald Dinnie.
“Our thoughts are also with those who lost love ones in the accident at Carmont and the six people on the train who were injured.
“Unfortunately, we are faced with a toxic mixture of an increasing number of extreme weather events and Government and Network Rail cutting back on railway, safety instead of acting on safety recommendations.
“If the government and Network Rail does not give immediate priority to acting on these safety concerns and recommendations there is an increased risk of more accidents like Carmont putting rail workers and rail passengers at risk of harm”.
Notes to editors
RMT has highlighted numerous areas of concern where a lack of action by the Government and Network Rail has increased the risk of a further tragedy. These include
- In relation to earthworks (Network Rail’s management of the cuttings and embankments), the ORR has said it had “identified concerns with a reduction in volumes of earthworks-specific drainage and Network Rail’s proposal not to use dedicated drainage teams, which is not consistent with one of the recommendations made by Lord Mair on managing rail infrastructure in more frequent extreme weather[iii]
- A recent RAIB report about an embankment washout under a passenger train at Haddiscoe, Norfolk. RAIB said the train involved was not prevented from entering the flooded section of track because Network Rail’s flood risk management processes were not effective at warning that the track was at serious risk of flooding and the company was not effectively managing the risks to its assets and services associated with third party flood defences.[iv]
[i] ORR Annual Report of Health and Safety on Britain’s Railways https://www.orr.gov.uk/sites/default/files/2023-07/annual-health-and-safety-report-2022-23.pdf
[ii] RAIB Corporate report Annual Report for 2022, updated 17th July 2023
[iii] ORR Periodic review 2023: draft determination
[iv] RAIB Report 07/2023: Embankment washout under a passenger train at Haddiscoe