Plymouth train crash: Signaller 'misjudged' space on platform

Two pictures of the crash Image copyright Dominic Parnell
Image caption The driver of one of the trains was among the injured, British Transport Police said

A signaller misjudged the space available on the platform for two trains that collided in Plymouth, an initial investigation has found.

A train travelling from Penzance to Exeter collided with another train on platform six just after 15.30 BST on 3 April.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch initial findings found the signaller believed there was enough space for both trains on the platform.

About 35 people were injured.

The report said: "Allowing trains to share a platform is known as permissive working, and is allowed for passenger trains using platform six.

"The signaller could see the rear of the train from the signal box window and estimated there was enough room for the moving train to fit on the platform. This was not the case."

One of the trains was moved to platform six due to passenger lifts being closed for maintenance on alternative platforms, the report said.

Image copyright Dominic Parnell
Image caption The Rail Accident Investigation Branch will lead the investigation into the crash

While approaching Plymouth, the moving train accelerated to about 21 mph and went through a relatively tight, left-hand curve.

That is when the driver saw the rear of the stationary train on platform six and was surprised to see it so close to the west end of the platform.

The investigation report said: "He looked at the tracks to confirm which route the train was taking and, realising a collision was imminent, applied the emergency brake.

"This was around three seconds before the collision, which occurred at about 15 mph.

"Many passengers were standing in preparation to leave the train and were thrown into the train's fixtures and onto the floor.

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