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Train crashed in Bromsgrove as driver 'distracted by Covid-19 texts'

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  • Coronavirus pandemic
image copyrightRAIB/ CrossCountry
image captionThe class 66 locomotive crashed into a buffer because the driver was distracted by the evening's lockdown announcement

A passenger train crashed into a derailed locomotive because a driver became distracted by "personal issues linked to Covid-19," a report found.

The 21:05 Cardiff Central to Birmingham New Street service collided with a class 66 locomotive on 23 March near Bromsgrove station, Worcestershire.

The driver of the locomotive was distracted by texts following the announcement of lockdown restrictions.

Nobody was hurt, but the passenger train was significantly damaged.

The report, published by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), found the driver of the locomotive, who had 18 years experience, hit a buffer stop at about 22:43 after sending and receiving text messages about how the newly announced lockdown restrictions would impact his childcare arrangements.

image copyrightRAIB
image captionThe front corner of the class 66 locomotive, which had been assisting freight trains, came to rest in the path of an oncoming passenger train

Due to the speed of the locomotive, it tore off the buffer stop and ran off the end of the track, with "only the last two sets of wheels remaining on the track" and came to a rest with its front left corner just 600mm from the Gloucester main line rail.

There wasn't enough time to raise the alarm, the report found, as the driver was in a state of shock and had not realised the locomotive was in the path of the oncoming train.

Just under 50 seconds later, the passenger service collided with the locomotive's front corner at 85 mph.

The report found there was no opportunity to stop the passenger train before the crash and the second driver "had no idea that the locomotive was foul of his line until his train collided with it".

The RAIB has made one recommendation to Network Rail and three learning points for drivers including about compliance with mobile phone policies in the driving cab.

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