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RAIB investigates dangerous occurrence in a tunnel near Old Street station, in London, 8 March 2013

The RAIB is investigating an incident that occurred on the morning of 8 March 2013 in one of the two single bore tunnels between Old Street and Essex Road stations.

At 10:09 hrs the driver of train 2V16, the 10:02 hrs service from Moorgate to Welwyn Garden City, reported that water was gushing from the roof of the tunnel. As a consequence the driver of the following train, which was running without passengers onboard, was cautioned and asked to examine the line. When the train was about 420 metres north of Old Street station, the driver (and a Network Rail Mobile Operations Manager who accompanied him) saw two large metallic objects that had apparently fallen from a hole in the roof of the tunnel, one of which was in contact with the live conductor rail. These were later identified as sections of an auger (drill) that had penetrated the tunnel lining before falling onto the track. Each section measured approximately two metres in length and was 0.35 metres in diameter.

Immediate checks revealed that the augering operation was associated with construction activity on land about 13 metres above the top of the tunnel.

 

Image of incident location near Old Street station
Image of incident location near Old Street station

The RAIB’s investigation will include a review of the information that was available to those responsible for the safety of the construction activity and the way in which the risk created by construction activities near to railway tunnels is currently managed.

The RAIB’s investigation is independent of any investigation by the Health and Safety Executive or the Office of Rail Regulation.

The RAIB will publish its findings, including any recommendations to improve safety, at the conclusion of its investigation.

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