Two train workers narrowly escaped being hit by an express train near Sundon in December last year.
A Rail Accident Investigation Board (RAIB) found the men jumped out of the way after the train driver sounded his horn.
The report states: “Forward-facing CCTV fitted to the train shows that the track workers were clear of the train’s path less than two seconds before it passed them. Although nobody was physically injured, both track workers and the train driver were left shocked.”
The near miss with the 100mph train at 11.50pm on December 12 occurred because the track workers were walking along a line they mistakenly believed was closed to traffic because they had unintentionally accessed the railway at the wrong location for the planned work.
An investigation found there were conflicting details given in a verbal briefing of safe access points earlier in the evening.
“The [men] had been briefed at Leagrave station at a location on the up slow line side of the railway. Neither realised that during the car journey from Leagrave to Sundon they had driven underneath the railway and so both believed they were at an access point adjacent to the up slow line. However they were actually alongside the down fast line,” the report states.
“They believed they were walking along the up slow line, which was closed to trains, but they were actually walking in the opposite direction along the down fast line which was open to train movements at up to 125 mph (201 km/h).
“Within a few minutes they heard a train’s warning horn. Initially they thought the train was on another line, but when they turned around they immediately realised the train was approaching them on the line they were walking on. They both took immediate action to avoid being struck.”
The report recommends the importance of providing signage so that staff can reliably identify access points, and the need for people responsible for the safety of others to have appropriate local knowledge of the area in which they are to work.
It also warns of the potential for staff to become disorientated, particularly when travelling in the dark to work in remote locations.
TIt also recommends the importance of reaching a clear understanding during face to face safety critical communication and the importance of sounding the warning horn, which on this occasion probably averted a fatal accident.