BY KIRSTY PURNELL
Three railway workers were seconds away from being struck by a train at Clapham Junction railway station.
The signalling technicians had a lucky escape when they were fixing a machine between two lines at 5.51am on January 17, an investigation report has revealed.
The South Western train driver sounded his train’s horn just five seconds before reaching the group and slammed on the emergency break.
One of the technicians heard the train and shouted a warning to his colleagues who darted out of the way – with just two seconds to spare.
The report said the workers “had all become engaged in the task and lost awareness of the fact that the Up Windsor Fast line was still open”.
Nobody was injured in the incident but the train driver and the railway workers were said to be badly shaken by the incident.
The empty train was moving at 42mph and had been travelling from Wimbledon Sidings Park to London Waterloo.
The incident has come to light after the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) released a safety report on the incident last week.
The RAIB said the incident happened because the technicians had been working in a location which wasn’t protected from moving trains.
One of the tracks had been blocked off for work but the other remained open to trains.
It is thought that the group did not realise they would need to stray outside the safe zone and did not realise when they did because they had been engrossed in the task.
Because of this, the RAIB report said the workers should have adopted a different system of work to give themselves protection. All of the group were experienced railway workers and held a number of relevant competencies.
Network Rail issues a bulletin across its network after the incident reminding staff they needed to use safe working systems at all times.