Worthing train driver death prompts safety directives

Rail accident investigators have made a series of recommendations, following an incident at Worthing when a train driver died after he got out of his cab and was hit by another train. 

Driver Michal Olesiak had climbed down from the cab of his Class 313 Southern Railway train, which was stationary in West Worthing Middle Siding, which sits between two active tracks on the West Coastway line. He was then struck by a four-car Class 377 Southern train travelling at 33mph. 

The incident happened at 2033 on February 1 2022. It was dark at the time of the incident, with no external lighting on the siding. The crew in the moving train were aware of striking a dark object but were unaware that they had hit a person. 

When the stationary Class 313 train did not leave at its scheduled departure time, the signaller attempted to contact the driver. When he received no response, the signaller instructed the next train on an adjacent line to stop alongside, and contact the driver. The driver of this third train found the body. 

Rail Accident Investigation Branch staff found that Driver Olesiak did not tell the train’s guard or the signaller that he was going to leave the stationary train. He did not request that trains on the adjacent lines be stopped. 

RAIB has recommended that Govia Thameslink Railway, which operates Southern services, should require that on-train staff should have adequate access to toilets across all of their routes. 

RAIB has further recommended that the Rail Safety and Standards Board considers mandatory fitment of forward-facing CCTV to new trains. It also recommended considering fitting them to existing fleets. Neither of the trains involved in this incident were fitted with such cameras. 

To read the full story, see RAIL 978

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