Rail worker removing rubbish from track nearly hit by 60mph train

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A rail worker removing rubbish from train tracks narrowly avoided being hit by a train, an investigation has found.

The Network Rail employee scrambled back onto the platform at Rowlands Castle station, Hampshire just one second before a non-stopping South Western Railway train passed through, according to a report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB).

The investigation found that the mobile operations manager, who was not named, failed to ensure the line would be clear before going onto the tracks.

Rowlands Castle station, Hampshire
The man was removing rubbish from the tracks at Rowlands Castle station (RAIB/PA)

He escaped uninjured but both he and the train driver were left “distressed” by the incident on December 19 last year.

The RAIB said the man was not aware the train was approaching at 60mph until he saw its headlights.

He had telephoned a signaller at nearby Petersfield to explain that he needed to go onto the tracks to retrieve a rubbish bag thrown there by youths.

But the investigation found he did not specifically ask for the line to be blocked to trains, and he did not receive explicit permission to access the tracks.

Four safety recommendations were made by the RAIB, including that Network Rail should introduce measures to ensure its mobile operations managers are “suitably recruited, trained and managed”.

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