Virgin arrives at Chester. Oops! ….

Posted on November 20th, 2013, by The Chairman

Oh dear!

John Murray tells us:

“In case you missed it, the 10:10 Euston to Chester Virgin service collided with the buffers on arrival, demolishing the glass screen and the cycle racks.

One passenger has been taken to the Countess of Chester Hospital with spinal injuries which aren’t thought to be serious, another was treated by paramedics at the scene.

My wife, who works in A&E, received a call to be on standby but has since been stood down.”

Realtimetrains shows the train as arriving 2 minutes early. The return is shown as cancelled due to “unknown cause” ….

Please leave a comment

  1. Simon Barber Says:

    Good grief, I thought with TPWS and the modern practice of very low speed approaches to terminal platforms, that this couldn’t happen any more. Thank heavens it is nothing like the 1972 accident at Chester station which some of us are old enough to remember. (That was when an oil train crashed through the buffers of platforms 5/6, demolishing a refreshment room which used to stand there. It is the reason why today, 41 years later, there is a gap in the Chester station roof between the main part of the building and platforms 5/6 where our trains leave from).

  2. The Chairman Says:

    RAIB (Rail Accident Investigation Branch) have just announced their investigation into this accident, as follows:


    “Buffer stop collision at Chester station

    “At 12:10 hrs on Wednesday 20 November 2013 a passenger train collided with the buffer stop at the end of platform 1 at Chester station and became derailed. The train involved was the 10:10 hrs Virgin Trains service from London Euston to Chester. Two passengers on the train were slightly injured in the collision.

    “As the train approached Chester station the driver applied the brakes to reduce the speed for the 20 mph speed limit into the platforms. The weather at the time had been dry but a rain shower was just starting and the adhesion between the wheels and rails was reduced. The train’s wheel slide protection system detected that the wheels were sliding on the rails, regulated the application of the brakes, and the train was able to achieve a rate of deceleration sufficient to bring its speed down to within the speed limit as it approached the station.

    “As the train approached the platform the driver lightly applied the brakes again but the wheels immediately started to slide. Despite the immediate automatic activation of the wheel slide protection system, the train’s deceleration was insufficient to bring it down to a safe speed as it moved along the platform. Consequently, the emergency brakes were applied by train protection and warning system and the driver pressed the emergency stop button very shortly afterwards. The combination of emergency braking and the detection of wheel slide triggered the automatic sanding system on the leading vehicle to drop sand onto the rail head.

    “The presence of the sand improved adhesion for the wheels that ran over it and the speed was reduced before the train collided with the buffer stop at the end of the platform.

    “The buffer stop was of an old design with only minimal capacity to absorb energy. The train destroyed it before overriding its remains to mount the platform where it came to rest. The front bogie was lifted off the track as the front of the leading vehicle rode up onto the platform.

    “Platform 1 was closed to traffic until the following day for recovery of the train and repair of the track and buffer stop.

    “The RAIB’s investigation will seek to identify the sequence of events. It will include consideration of the braking system on this train, in particular the wheel slide protection system and the sanding equipment. It will also consider adhesion conditions in the area at the time (using information from other trains that experienced low adhesion conditions that day), the condition of the rails on the approach to the platform and the efficacy of any actions taken to treat the rail head.

    “The RAIB will also take into consideration the findings from other similar events that the RAIB has investigated; most notably the investigation into a series of low adhesion events in the autumn of 2005 (RAIB report 25/2006, parts 1 to 3).

    “The RAIB’s investigation is independent of any investigation by the Office of Rail Regulation.

    “The RAIB will publish its findings, including any recommendations to improve safety, at the conclusion of its investigation. This report will be available on the RAIB website.”


    Thanks to Paul Wilkinson for spotting this.

  3. The Chairman Says:

    The RAIB report is out. Interesting reading.

    Thanks again to Paul for spotting this.


    RAIB report re the voyager buffer stop collision at Chester

    At 12:12 hrs on Wednesday 20 November 2013 the 10:10 hrs passenger train from London Euston to Chester collided with the buffer stop at the end of the platform as it arrived at Chester station. The impact destroyed the buffer stop and caused the leading vehicle of the train to start to override the platform, demolishing a glass screen and damaging the platform. It was fortunate that there was no-one in this area at the time.

    Several passengers fell over as the train stopped, but did not report injuries. One passenger was taken to hospital as a precaution and was released later the same day. The front of the train was damaged by the impact and the leading bogie was derailed.

    Platform 1 at Chester station was closed until 04:15 hrs on 22 November for recovery of the train and repair of the buffer stop.
    The accident was caused by the train sliding on wet rails that were also contaminated with leaf residue and traces of lubricating oil. The train was not equipped with automatic sanding equipment, which could have applied sand to the rails to improve adhesion. The train was fitted with emergency sanding equipment but the driver did not activate this until the train was too close to the buffers to be able to stop before striking them.


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