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Railway worker seriously injured in incident at Bristol train station

Today the Rail Accident Investigation Branch released a report into the fatal accident involving a worker who was struck by a train at St Philips Marsh railway station in Bristol.

The accident occurred on September 26, 2023 at approximately 1:03 p.m. An employee responsible for shunting trains at the station was hit by a train leaving the main depot building.

The train was traveling at about 10 miles per hour at the time of the accident. After hearing something hit the driver applied the brakes and stopped the train.

The truck driver suffered serious injuries, was treated by paramedics and taken to hospital.

The investigation revealed that the shunter entered the train path after exiting the building through a shutter door.

The train driver started and accelerated much faster than the shunter had anticipated. He was taking this route to reach the level crossing, which ran along the end of the depot building and had a curve ahead of him with blind spots.

The shunting operator regularly used the area in front of the building and level crossing as a walking route but was unaware that the train had moved and was approaching him.

The investigation also revealed that the train had exceeded the speed limit by 5mph at the depot and that the driver had failed to notice the shunter walking in front of the train.

The RAIB presented recommendations and lessons learned from the incident:

The first recommendation is for Great Western Railway to review the track safety training and assessments it provides to shunters so that they receive an appropriate level of information and assessment on working and walking around the depots.

The second recommendation (also for GWR) is to identify locations at stations where staff may be required to move away from the path of a train, using a footpath or pavement, and then manage the risk of staff being struck by a train at those locations.

Educational points

The first is intended to remind staff working and moving around depots and sidings of the track safety requirement, which requires them to look out for an oncoming train at least every 5 seconds when walking on the tracks.

The second purpose is to remind drivers to comply with all speed limits in the depot and sidings.

The third point highlights how important it is for drivers and shunting operators to have a clear understanding of train movements.

The fourth point concerns employees who work in positions requiring special safety to remember to report to their employer any medications they are taking that may affect their performance.