Watch: Track worker jumps to avoid being hit by train near Teignmouth station
By Will Goddard
26th May 2023 | Local News
A track worker jumped to avoid being hit by a train going 55mph on the railway line near Teignmouth station earlier this year.
The worker, who was uninjured, had been placing a sign on the track to indicate a work site just after 1.20am on 14 February.
The driver of the train saw the individual after rounding a curve and used the horn immediately. The train hit the sign less than two seconds after the worker jumped clear onto the adjacent line.
The driver's prompt use of the train's warning horn "probably avoided a fatal accident", the Rail Accident Investigation Branch said.
It explained how "informal communication" between the track worker and engineering supervisor, because they had a good working relationship and had been applying the same work site arrangements during the construction of a new rockfall shelter almost every night for several months, led to "assumptions" being made.
The track worker had assumed that the line was already blocked to trains when being asked to set up the work site marker boards. Similarly, the engineering supervisor assumed that the track worker would await further instructions before accessing the railway.
A Network Rail spokesperson said: "This was a serious incident where a railway worker could have been badly injured, or worse. As a safety-critical company, we work hard to prevent this type of incident from happening, but we recognise there is always room for improvement, and lessons will be learnt from this.
"We have already shared the outputs of an internal review, and will also be sharing the findings of the RAIB report with colleagues."