Severn Tunnel rail accident
|Date||7 December 1991|
|Location||Severn Tunnel, between English and Welsh borders|
|Rail line||Great Western Main Line|
|Cause||Track circuit failure or driver error|
|Injuries||185 (5 serious)|
|List of UK rail accidents by year|
The Severn Tunnel rail accident occurred in the tunnel on 7 December 1991.
The 08:30 London Paddington to Cardiff Central HST was stopped at a signal guarding the entrance to the Severn Tunnel. On telephoning the signalman according to Rule 55, the driver was advised of a signal failure and given permission to proceed slowly at caution. Three miles into the tunnel, the train was struck from behind by a Class 155 Super-Sprinter travelling from Portsmouth to Cardiff. 185 passengers were injured, including five seriously, but none fatally.
Because track circuits were unreliable in the unusually wet tunnel environment (10 to 20 million gallons of water are pumped out per day), axle counters were used instead. The official report into the accident could not reach a firm conclusion, but speculated that the cause was either:
- an unaccountable error on the part of the Sprinter driver, or:
- technicians in the relay room at Severn Tunnel Junction had reset the axle counter while investigating the earlier fault, thus clearing the signal for the Sprinter.
|This England rail transport related article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|