Thursday, 4 August 2011

Oxshott Rail Crash - Review

Today, the Rail Accident Investigation Bureau (RAIB) published their report into the Oxshott rail crash which occurred at Warren Lane, on 5 November 2010. In a freak accident, a cement mixer came off the Oxshott bridge hitting a passing train. Two people were seriously injured, and five more suffered less serious injuries. It was extraordinary that the accident happened at all. Even more so, that the cement mixer hit a passing train - only two passd by per hour at that time. Yet, given the incident, we were relatively lucky that the scale of injuries were not worse. The response of the emergency services was first rate, and Network Rail/ South West Trains ensured that the rail service was back up and running by Monday morning.

The driver pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention and tachograh offences (tachographs are devices that record the speed of lorries). I understand from the police that he was fined and received five points on his licence. However, broader questions were being asked back in November about the safety on the bridge.

The RAIB report finds that the principal causal factors for the crash were the conduct of the driver, but that the lack of visibility of the parapet end of the bridge (the first point the driver would see as he approached the bridge wall) was possibly also a causal factor. The RAIB also notes that Network Rail's review system does not require the visibility of parapet ends to be checked.

The report also examined the resilience of the bridge parapet itself. The bridge at Oxshott is a 'medium containment' bridge. Whilst it is now policy that new bridges over railways will be built with 'high containment' parapets, the report notes that the existing bridge met existing regulatory requirements.

The RAIB made a number of recommendations, including:
  • Surrey CC, Network Rail and the Department of Transport should require and implement regular checks of the visibility of parapet ends on bridges.
  • Surrey CC in consultation with Network Rail should determine and apply the optimum means of highlighting the parapet ends at the Oxshott bridge on Warren Lane.

This is only my summary of the report which has been published on the RAIB website here. I hope it provides some reassurance to local residents, like me, who regularly use the bridge. I will write to Network Rail and the Department for Transport, requesting them to consider whether - in light of the collision and RAIB report - we now need a 'high containment' parapet at Oxshott.


Chris Carver said...

What we need is a ban on lorries over 18T from using the village as a through route. Please support us on this Dominic. You have my contact details please get in touch and show your support for the residents of our village.

Chris Carver

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