Salisbury Tunnel reopens after clean-up operation

Salisbury’s Fisherton Tunnel reopened on November 16, 16 days after a crash between two trains that injured 14 people (RAIL 944).

But shortly afterwards, the lines closed again. A track circuit failure at the newly-rebuilt Salisbury Tunnel Junction prevented services from running for several hours. Buses were brought back for passengers between Salisbury and Romsey.

Crash investigators from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) believe slippery rails were a cause of the collision.

A South Western Railway service passed a red signal and collided with a Great Western Railway service at the junction in front of the tunnel’s eastern portal, as both trains moved onto the same track in the same direction. The impact caused both trains to derail, entering the tunnel together before coming to a standstill.

Ninety-two passengers on board the two trains were led to safety. Fourteen people were taken to hospital, where they were treated for minor injuries.

The driver of the SWR train, 74-year-old Robin Tandy, remained in hospital as the line reopened. But SWR Managing Director Claire Mann said: “Robin’s doing really well. He’s in good spirits.” The company said it was hoped that the part-time driver would make a full recovery.

The independent investigators are likely to take several months to complete their final report into the incident.

To read the full story, see RAIL 945

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  • Cliff Beeton - 24/11/2021 11:46

    Why has it taken 16 DAYS to reopen the line after a relatively minor collision,wheras in 1952 after the terrible Harrow & Wealdstone triple train disaster in which 112 people died ,and despite the piles of mangled wreckage all of the six lines had reopened after 4 DAYS!

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  • Güntürk Üstün - 26/11/2021 11:02

    With no fatalities occurred, in all respects, this collision of two passenger trains at Salisbury Tunnel Junction where the Wessex Main Line converges with the West of England Main Line was a narrowly escaped accident on a railway line equipped with modern security systems! To get the line up and running again, Network Rail had to lay 900 meters of new track and 1500 new sleepers which hold the rails in place. However, signalling problems hampered the line after its reopening, causing many services to be cancelled or delayed. Dr. Güntürk Üstün

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  • Güntürk Üstün - 26/11/2021 11:17

    On 2 November (almost two days following the Salisbury train crash), the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) stated that initial evidence indicated that, although the SWR driver had applied the brakes, his train had failed to stop at a signal and collided with the GWR train; wheel slide, as a result of low railhead adhesion, was the most likely cause [Low adhesion between train wheels and rails can be a major problem during the autumn months when leaves fall onto Britain’s railway lines. Trains passing over these leaves can then create a thin, slippery layer, which has a similar effect to black ice on roads]. RAIB will examine how Network Rail managed the risk of loss of adhesion at the track site and also any SWR policy for preventing or mitigating wheel slip on their trains. SWR commented that its driver had acted in an "impeccable way in a valiant attempt to keep passengers safe". The West of England Line had not had a Rail Head Treatment Train over it since 29 October, although one had been scheduled to travel over the line before the accident occurred. Dr. Güntürk Üstün

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