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Salisbury Train Crash

(19 Posts)
Chestnut Mon 01-Nov-21 09:39:39

Thank goodness it seems no-one was killed but it sounds pretty serious. The first train was derailed after hitting 'an object' on the track and the second went into it because the signals failed. Both these things are shocking and frightening because they could result in a very serious event, so I hope their investigations will help prevent it happening again.

Oopsadaisy1 Mon 01-Nov-21 11:15:31

I read that the rear carriage that derailed, caused the signal failure by hitting some signal box on the track, thank goodness they were approaching the station, so not hurtling along.

Chestnut Mon 01-Nov-21 11:43:43

I wonder what it was that was on the track to cause the derailment. That is scary. Maybe a tree branch from the high winds? We'll just have to wait and see.

25Avalon Mon 01-Nov-21 11:52:58

In the old days if a signal failed for any reason it would switch itself to red. Modern technology does not seem to have that back up according to dh who is a train fanatic and very knowledgeable on these things.

One does wonder was the object placed on the line or was it there by accident which could be linked to bad weather in the area. The forensic team is in now so their findings should tell us.

MaizieD Mon 01-Nov-21 13:22:58

Modern technology does not seem to have that back up according to dh who is a train fanatic and very knowledgeable on these things.

I find that absolutely unbelievable, Avalon (but not questioning your DH's knowledge for an instant). If that is true than we're back in the days of the 19th C railways where horrific accidents were caused by poor or non existent signalling.

(My father was a bit of a railway buff and I read, and still own, a lot of his books, including the ones about horrific accidents)

MaizieD Mon 01-Nov-21 13:25:31

I now have an image of our rail safety procedures being dependent on someone standing beside the track waving a red petticoat... shock

25Avalon Mon 01-Nov-21 13:34:38

No MaizieD we are not going back to the age of the railway children but more recent before electrification. There were for example rarely accidents on single track line as a train was not permitted unless the driver was given a tablet (bit like a baton) which was handed over at the end of the single track for the next train coming through. Two trains could not be on that section at once as there was only one tablet. Now it is electronic and accidents have happened.

Chestnut Mon 01-Nov-21 13:44:10

25Avalon The old systems did not rely on technology but were often quite brilliant in their simplicity and common sense. The men working on the railways kept to the rules completely because they knew how critical it was to do things correctly.

MaizieD Mon 01-Nov-21 14:10:41

When our train was stranded for a couple of hours outside Darlington a few years ago because someone had nicked the copper wiring to the signals the technology seemed work OK. Nothing shunted into the back of us...

Still, I expect the Enquiry into the accident will clarify just what did happen.

sodapop Mon 01-Nov-21 16:22:52

Thank goodness there were no lives lost, the accident looked horrific. Let's hope they find the cause and prevent it happening again.

puffernutter Mon 01-Nov-21 17:58:27

My wife has been a member of this group for a while, I occasionally read her posts, but seeing this thread, I have now joined in my "own right".
I retired in June after 43 years of being a railway signalling engineer with the last 35 years specialising in safety engineering.
It will be highly unusual for the signalling system to be at fault (unless caused by the derailment of the first train, which is a circumstance nobody could have foreseen). There are many possibilities and I won't set any hares running by mentioning them here. What I will say is that I can cite many railway accidents as a result of a train driver being give the wrong token and travelling down a single line, where permission has actually been given for a train travelling the opposite way.
We actually have one of the safety rail system in the world, until Stonehaven last year there had not been a passenger fatality on NR for over 10 years.

25Avalon Mon 01-Nov-21 19:30:06

I fail to see how the train driver can be given the wrong token when there is only one token for that section. Perhaps puffernutter could give an example then I’ll put it to dh.

JaneJudge Mon 01-Nov-21 19:33:17

It said the initial reports were wrong. It seems both trains entered the tunnel at the same time and that is what caused the accident. Luckily there was a speed restriction of 20 mph otherwise it could have been much worse sad

Scones Mon 01-Nov-21 19:41:49

Hello puffernutter. Welcome to Gransnet and congratulations on your brilliant name.

Chestnut Mon 01-Nov-21 23:34:42

Yes, now they're saying there was not anything on the line. One of the drivers is seriously injured, poor man. I hope he recovers enough to say what he saw, and the other driver has some idea what happened. Although of course you do often black out during an accident and have no recollection afterwards. I experienced that myself when I fell over, very weird, just a second or so of blacking out as I landed.

lemongrove Tue 02-Nov-21 08:49:56

Yes Chestnut I once experienced the same thing, just for a few seconds.
I wonder why the initial report mentioned an object on the line, when it now seems there wasn’t?

Josianne Tue 02-Nov-21 08:55:36

I agree. The driver of the first train is ok and can so presumably tell the investigators the reason for stopping. The driver of the second train was not so lucky in the crash.

puffernutter Tue 02-Nov-21 17:25:50

25avalon- two things. Firstly I heard on the news the accident was caused by poor wheel/rail adhesion, basically the driver slid past a red signal (known as a SPAD - Signal Passed At Danger). The signalling system was working correctly. No different to a car locking up approaching a set of red traffic lights on a wet road (on days before ABS) and ending up on the junction!
Secondly, the bet known accident for a train having an incorrect token was Abermule in 1921.

If dh is interested, mandatory reading for signalling and safety engineers is "Red for Danger" by LTC Rolt. (As a matter of interest he was also one of the founders of the Talyllyn preservation movement.) The book covers all the railway accidents that have occurred in the UK and how we have learned from them.

puffernutter Tue 02-Nov-21 17:26:43

Sorry, should be the "best known accident"