Southeastern face overrun prosecution

17 April 2012

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has confirmed that it is prosecuting Southeastern under the Health and Safety at Work Act in relation to an overrun at Stonegate in November 2010. The incident was the subject of a RAIB investigation last year, and the TOC has, with the backing of the union, implemented all its recommendations.

Graham Morris, the ASLEF officer responsible for the company, says the union has worked with Southeastern to

  • put in place amended sand replenishment processes and routine maintenance schedules;
  • review train driving policy and the advice given to drivers about driving in conditions of low adhesion; and
  • modify the trains concerned so that drivers are given information about low sand levels.

The overrun happened on 8 November 2010 when an early morning Charing Cross to Hastings train encountered poor adhesion conditions as its driver applied the brakes to stop at Stonegate station. The train was unable to stop for some 2.45 miles (4 km) beyond the station. No signals were passed at danger and the train driver contacted the signaller by radio to report the situation. It is clear that very low adhesion conditions were present at Stonegate at the time and the effects of the rail head treatment that had been carried out the previous night had largely dissipated by the time of the overrun.

Southeastern say they are ‘disappointed that ORR has chosen to prosecute’ as they have made changes to procedures to further reduce the possibility of this extremely rare event occurring again.

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