Lessons need to be learned after ice block train smash

Smash: Outside of the tunnel in Todmorden
Smash: Outside of the tunnel in Todmorden

LESSONS need to be learned after a train accident which should have been avoided, a report has ruled.

The Transpennine Express train from Manchester to Leeds collided with a piece of ice measuring 8.8m long and 1.6m high while travelling at 57mph through Summit Tunnel in Todmorden.

The train, containing 45 passengers and two crew, derailed. The front four wheels came off the tracks and even after the driver applied the emergency brake the front section lifted, landing nine metres further on.

It travelled another 254 metres down the track, hitting the tunnel wall as it went.

Passengers were trapped on board for three hours waiting to be rescued.

A report by the Rail Accident Investigation Bureau lists contributory factors as:

l Water running down and seeping through the ventilation shaft

l Inspections did not identify “excessive amounts of ice”

l The train passed through within the permitted speed

l The risk presented to trains when resuming the service was not identified

During the cold snap, routine checks were made but no guidance was given about what to do when looking for ice formations.

It says inspections were not frequent enough, given the cold weather and no trains had been through the tunnel since Christmas Eve.

It says Network Rail had not considered the effects of extreme cold weather when trains were not running and messages about a similar incident in Morley the day before had not been passed on to staff.

It also says if the train had been travelling at the permitted 70mph injuries may have been caused.