Grayrigg report applauds ASLEF driver

23 October 2008

ASLEF welcomes the Rail Accident Investigation Board’s report into the Grayrigg derailment, and the recognition that the courageous actions of Iain Black, the driver of the Virgin Pendolino which came off the rails in February 2007, averted a much greater disaster.

 

The report states that ‘upon regaining consciousness’ and despite his ‘extensive injuries’ Black ‘had the presence of mind’ to call an off-duty employee of Virgin Trains to relay a message to Virgin Trains Operations control asking for trains to be stopped on the line.

 

The report states that the train derailed as it passed over 2B points which were in an unsafe state. This was the most serious in a number of shortcomings in Network Rail’s safety management arrangements. The RAIB also concluded that ‘there was no systematic overview of the performance of switches and crossings’. (S&C). Network Rail’s ‘incomplete understanding of the performance of S&C resulted in ‘an absence of clear and properly briefed standards for the setting and adjustment of S&C.’

 

Since the derailment the Office of the Rail Regulator has served an Improvement Notice on Network Rails track inspection regime.

 

While no blame is attached to driver Iain Black the report recommends Network Rail to research any links between ‘long working hours and the propensity for human error during safety critical tasks’.

 

ASLEF welcomes this recommendation but would like to point out that the research already exists. Network Rail simply needs to apply it.

 

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