Metro train avoids hitting track workers 'by two seconds'

An image from the front of train travelling from South Shields towards Pelaw. Picture courtesy of NEMOL.
An image from the front of train travelling from South Shields towards Pelaw. Picture courtesy of NEMOL.

An incident which saw two track workers avoid being hit by a Metro train by just two seconds is being probed.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) is looking into the near miss, which happened at a junction to the south of Pelaw station on Wednesday, February 21.

The workers were investigating a fault with a track circuit when a train approaching Pelaw from South Shields had to apply the emergency brake to avoid hitting them.

They managed to move clear about two seconds before the Metro passed them.

A statement from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch said: "At about 10.50am on Wednesday, February 21, two track workers were involved in a near miss incident at a junction to the south of Pelaw station on the Tyne and Wear Metro.

"The workers were investigating a fault with a track circuit, which is part of the signalling system.

"They moved onto the track after a train travelling from Newcastle towards South Shields had just passed their location.

"This put them in the path of a second train approaching Pelaw from South Shields.

"The driver of the second train, which was travelling at 37 mph at the time, applied the train’s emergency brake when he saw the workers ahead.

"The track workers managed to move clear around two seconds before the train passed them.

"There were no reported injuries."

The RAIB’s investigation will now look at what happened, with a particular focus on:

- The procedures and competence regime used to ensure the safety of track workers on the Tyne and Wear Metro.

- The application of those procedures in the planning of the work to identify the track circuit fault, and at the time of the incident.

- Any previous similar incidents.

- Any relevant underlying management factors.