Train derailment in Knaresborough
Train derailment in Knaresborough - Photograph by Dave Milnes

York to Knaresborough train derailment due to human error says investigation report


A Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has found that a signaller allowed a train to proceed through points that were incorrectly set, causing the derailment of a passenger train.

At 07:22 hrs on Saturday 7 November 2015, the 06:52 hrs Northern Rail passenger service from York to Harrogate derailed on the approach to Knaresborough station.

The train consisted of two class 150, 2-car multiple units – 4 carriages in total.

The train derailed on points 3A on the approach to Knaresborough station because the signaller authorised the train to proceed towards the points when they were not set in either normal or reverse.

As a result of the incident, the fire service led 4 people to safety from the train but there were no injuries.

The report has made recommendations that signal boxes should always be operated by members of staff who have the necessary knowledge and familiarity with the signal box and its operation.

The report found that:

  • The signaller did not have a full understanding of the working of Knaresborough signal box
  • A lack of understanding may have come from poor initial training or the way his knowledge had been maintained.
  • Lack of robustness in Network Rail’s competence for people who are occasionally asked to be signallers, when  that is not their core role.

Network Rail have already acted in response to this incident:

  • March 2016 – re-issued the operations manual for the staff in charge of operating signalling equipment.
  • April 2016 – commenced  a review in the way it manages the competence of its signallers.

See the full report:

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