The third Health and Safety Executive report into the fatal Potters Bar rail crash has found deficiencies in the maintenance of key points on the track.
Its findings include:
- The derailment was due to the failure of points 2182A.
- Components in the points were in a poor condition.
- Nuts on the points were missing.
- The points had been poorly maintained and were not adjusted correctly.
- Other sets of points in the Potters Bar area were found to have similar, though less serious, maintenance deficiencies.
- Other sets of points showed evidence that attempts had been made to
improve the retention of nuts, suggesting there had been difficulties in the area with such nuts loosening.
- The train was being driven normally and within the permissible speed.
- As the third coach travelled over the points, the wheels on each axle were forced in two opposing directions, derailing the rear of the third coach and the fourth coach entirely.
- There appears to have been no guidance or instructions
for setting up, inspection or maintenance of points of the 2182A type.
- There appears to have been a failure to recognise safety-related
defects in the set up and condition of points 2182A, and to record or report them.
- There were deficiencies in the response to a report of a rough ride in the area of the points south of Potters Bar station the night before the derailment.
- Wider inspections of a sample of points of the 2182A type across the rail network in May/June and again in October/November 2002 found conditions that were not consistent with good engineering practice. The deficiencies were less serious than those at Potters Bar.
- No evidence has yet been established to support speculation that sabotage or deliberate unauthorised interference was the cause of the derailment.
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