A train driver was forced to lie down beside the tracks to avoid being hit by a passenger service approaching at 85mph, an investigation report has revealed.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said the driver was only clear of the oncoming train around three seconds before it passed him, after taking evasive action at Stafford station.
Although he was uninjured, the driver of the Virgin Trains service from Manchester to London Euston – who went onto the track to investigate a braking problem – was left badly shaken.
A forward-facing CCTV image from on board the approaching train has been released by the RAIB, showing the driver beside his stationary train.
The RAIB report said the incident at about 2.35pm on Friday March 2 demonstrated the importance of drivers reaching a clear understanding with signallers about arranging protection to go onto the track and examine a train.
Safety digest released into a near miss with a train driver at Stafford station, 2 March 2018. https://t.co/fVxu8cCFGW— RAIB (@raibgovuk) May 23, 2018
The report said of the near-miss: “The driver had stopped his train at Stafford to attend to a fault.
“While on the track and working on his train, he saw a train approaching at speed on the adjacent northbound line and had to take evasive action, lying down on the track next to his train, to avoid being struck.”
The investigation found that the northbound train approached Stafford at about 137km/h on a fast line.
The report added: “As the driver of this train passed the front of train 1A34, he saw someone on the track towards the rear of it.
“The driver sounded the train’s horn and applied the train’s brakes. The driver of train 1A34 became aware of the approaching train and lay down alongside his train.
“He was clear of the approaching train about three seconds before it passed him.
“Following the incident, both train drivers contacted the signaller to report what had happened. The driver of train 1A34 returned to his driving cab and confirmed that he would remain there until a relief driver arrived.
“Although shaken, the driver of the other train was fit to continue his journey.”