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RAIB to investigate Plymouth collision


The Rail Accident Investigation Branch is to conduct an investigation into a collision between two Great Western Railway trains at Plymouth station on Sunday 3 April.

The incident occurred at around 15.34, when the 13.39 Penzance to Exeter service entered platform 6 and collided with the 15.41 service to London Paddington, which was stationary in the platform. The signaller had decided to bring the local service forward into the same platform as the London train to assist connecting passengers, but RAIB reports that his estimation that there would be sufficient room for the two trains to share the platform proved incorrect.

Analysis of the data recorder from the Penzance to Exeter train showed that it slowed as it approached a signal to the west of the station, which then cleared to an indication meaning that the train could proceed into platform 6 but would need to stop ahead of any obstruction. The train then accelerated to around 21mph, and as the driver approached he saw the second train in the platform and was surprised to see it so close to the west end of the platform. He subsequently applied the emergency brake around three seconds before the collision, which occurred at around 15mph. Around 35 people were injured in the incident, some seriously.

RAIB says its investigation will examine the actions of the staff involved, the signalling and platform working arrangements at the station, the performance of the train during the collision and any underlying management factors.

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