The driver of a train which crashed into the buffers at King’s Cross station in London was having a mini-sleep, an accident investigation has found.
The female driver was suffering from fatigue at the time of the incident on August 15 at the end of a ‘relatively demanding night shift’.
The collision occurred at the station at 6.23am, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said.
Four passengers and one member of staff reported minor injuries in the 4mph crash, which pushed the buffers back by over one metre, according to the report.
Speaking on the day of the crash, passenger Natasha Coella, 36, said: ‘We just all went flying.
‘It’s as if while we were slowing down it kind of accelerated again.
‘No one expected it and people just went from one end of the carriage to the other.’
The four-carriage train involved was the 5.13am Great Northern service from Royston, Hertfordshire.
The driver, who was not identified by the RAIB, ‘briefly closed her eyes because they felt tired’ in the seconds before the collision.
When she opened them she made an emergency brake application but it was too late to avoid hitting the buffers.
The RAIB revealed that it was her first night shift after a period of rest days and she was ‘not sufficiently well rested’.
It noted that the Rail Safety and Standards Board ‘advocates a limit of eight hours for the first night shift’ due to concerns over fatigue, but the woman’s shift was due to be 35 minutes longer.
The driver told the RAIB that her tasks were ‘more intensive than other night shifts’ with less opportunity for rest.
She had two years’ experience of driving trains on the lines out of London King’s Cross.
(Main picture: PA)