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Grayrigg changes still not done

Network Rail has so far failed to implement five key recommendations arising from the official investigation into the 2007 Grayrigg train crash in which one person died.

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Grayrigg: Points failure caused crash

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) made the recommendations three years ago.

Its recommendations concern the fundamental design, management and maintenance of Network Rail’s switch and crossing assemblies.

RAIB also believes that a recommendation to improve the control of working hours of safety critical staff has yet to be properly addressed.

Numerous failures led to crash, report says

The RAIB’s final report into the February 2007 accident, published in October 2008, says that the immediate cause of the derailment was the failure of the three stretcher bars, the lock stretcher bar and their fastenings.

This came about because of the mechanical failure of a bolted joint, the incorrect set up of the points and a missed track inspection.

Contributory factors to the missed inspection included limited access times to the West Coast Main Line.

Last week an inquest jury ruled that the poorly maintained set of points had caused the crash.

This week RAIB chief inspector of rail accidents Carolyn Griffiths set out the outstanding actions in the organisation’s annual report.

She said the first outstanding recommendation was to be acted upon by July 2012.

It requires Network Rail to “carry out a detailed review of its switches and crossing (S&Cs) non-adjustable stretcher bar assembly design so as to better understand the relationships between the design, loading, usage and the inspection and maintenance regimes, and implement appropriate modifications”.

Worker fatigue “a concern”

Network Rail’s efforts to address the remaining recommendations relating to S&C’s are currently being assessed by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR).

Network Rail and the ORR also believe the recommendation regarding control of working hours had been effectively tackled.

But Griffiths said that in the RAIB’s opinion the issue remains outstanding and “contributes to my concern regarding the management of worker fatigue”.


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