Sussex train overshot station due to poor maintenance

Southeastern train
Image caption The train left Charing Cross at 06:45 travelling via the London Bridge line to Hastings

A passenger train overshot a station in East Sussex by almost two-and-a-half miles because of poor maintenance, an accident report has revealed.

The Southeastern London to Hastings train travelled through Stonegate station at 50mph on 8 November 2010.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said it failed to stop as there was "almost certainly" no sand in the sandhoppers which help the train brake.

Southeastern said alarm systems had now been fitted on its class 375 trains.

Covered with leaves

The firm said it had implemented the recommendations but sand would have only reduced the overrun not "mitigated against it completely".

No-one was hurt and there was no damage to the train or track during the incident, which took place at about 08:10 GMT on slippery rail lines that were also covered with leaves.

The report said that the train did not deposit sand when the driver braked because the leading sandhoppers were almost certainly empty.

Maintenance procedures did not ensure the sandhoppers were refilled despite there being information that the sand was low, the report revealed.

The driver, who had no information about the availability of sand, used the emergency brake and the train stopped 2.45 miles from Stonegate station - six-and-a-half minutes after the driver had first applied the brakes.

Southeastern said that its procedures had been changed to remove trains that require sand replenishment from service, and class 375 trains had been modified to provide the driver with an alarm when sand levels become low.

'No danger'

The report also revealed that no passengers had intended to get off at Stonegate.

A spokesman for Southeastern said: "We welcome the RAIB report and have already implemented its recommendations.

"Although the driver and passengers were in no danger of course this was a significant incident that we have taken very seriously."

He added: "More sand, which adds grit and friction helping the train to brake in slippery conditions, would have helped reduce the length of the overrun but would not have mitigated against it completely.

"We've already made changes to strengthen our internal processes and Network Rail has enhanced its track clearance programme to ensure the likelihood of this happening again is much reduced."

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