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NEAR MISS: Fatigued Chiltern Railways train driver nearly caused crash with another train 

 Published on: 5th August 2021   |   By: Amneet Kaur   |   Category: Uncategorized

A tired Chiltern Railways train driver passed a stop signal and narrowly avoided a head-on crash with another train, an investigation has found. 

The incident in question happened between Amersham and Chalfont & Latimer stations on June 21 last year.

The train was travelling to London Marylebone when the driver passed the stop signal which resulted in the train being halted automatically. 

The driver stated that he decided to proceed without authority because he did not recall passing the stop signal – the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said.

He believed the tripcock safety system activation had been ‘spurious’ which is why he restarted the train without the necessary permission.

This led to him driving towards a northbound London Underground train at Chalfont & Latimer station.

He stopped the train about 23 metres before reaching the other train, which was stationary. 

There were no reported injuries, but there was minor damage to signalling equipment and a set of points.

He told investigators that for many years he had consistently suffered from poor quality sleep and was not waking up feeling rested.

Following the incident, the driver was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea, which causes breathing to stop and start during sleeping.

The condition was not picked up in his regular medical assessments.

The man, who qualified as a driver in 2002, was involved in 15 safety-related incidents before the Amersham near-miss, the RAIB stated.

As a result, he was restricted to driving only empty trains to and from a depot between 2015 and 2018 but was then cleared to return to normal duties.

Picture credit Chiltern Railways

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