The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has this week ordered London Underground and two other companies to pay £300,000 of fines after an engineering train ran out of control on the Northern Line in 2010.
The engineering train was being towed uphill when a connection failed on the High Barnet branch of the Northern Line. The train rolled downhill and continued to run out of control for 16 minutes, covering over 6.4km, passing through seven populated stations and reached speeds of 48kph on 13 August 2010.
The train eventually came to an unaided stop caused by an uphill incline on the approach to Warren Street station.
London Underground, maintenance firm Tube Lines and train manufacturer Schweerbau pleaded guilty to charges of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. They also paid costs of £44,074. Schweerbau also pleaded guilty to an additional charge that it failed to learn from problems with the rescue of the same train less than a month earlier.
“This is clearly unacceptable, and led to a potentially catastrophic incident on the Northern Line where the train careered out of control for over four miles,” ORR’s director of safety Ian Prosser.
“It was only the professionalism of control room staff taking decisive action which prevented a collision between trains and averted a much more serious outcome.”