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Ex-train driver fined for serious failings after overrunning London station platform

A former South West Trains driver has today been fined £400 and ordered to pay costs of £500 after pleading guilty at Lavender Hill Magistrates’ Court to serious failings after overrunning a London train station platform.

At 17.40 on 13 February 2011, Frank Smith was driving the South West Trains service from Twickenham to London Waterloo when he overran the platform at St Margaret’s station, where it was due to stop. After using the emergency brake, the train came to rest past a signal at the end of the platform.

An Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) investigation found that after overrunning St Margaret’s station, Mr Smith failed to follow safety procedures as he neglected to inform the signaller of the train’s overrun; reversed the train back on the platform without authorisation and without driving from the leading cab in the direction of travel and, after allowing passengers off the train, passed a ‘stop’ red light signal without authority. A safety system stopped the train, but Mr Smith reset this essential safety device without contacting the signaller for the necessary authority to do so and continued towards his destination. In slightly different circumstances these failures by Mr Smith could have resulted in a collision or derailment.

David Keay, ORR’s Head of Inspection, said:

“Mr Frank Smith failed to take reasonable care for the health and safety of passengers on the train and station platform after the train he was driving overran the platform at St Margaret’s train station in south west London last year. This is a serious offence which could potentially have had terrible consequences.
“People in positions of responsibility, like Mr Smith, must comply with health and safety law. If they do not, they put their lives, and the lives of others, at risk. Where serious failings are found, those at fault must be held to account.”
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