RAIB releases cause of enthusiast’s death

THE death of Bluebell Railway volunteer Simon Brown, 24, on August 7 came as a result of his head hitting a signalling gantry while travelling on a train at 60mph, the RAIB has confirmed.

Mr Brown was travelling on the 17.05 Gatwick Express to Victoria train formed of a Class 442 EMU when the incident happened in South London.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch say that witness evidence indicates that Mr Brown was standing at a door in the third coach on the side facing away from the other railway tracks. This door, which is intended for the use of the guard and opens inwards, has an opening droplight. There is a notice above the window “Do not lean out of window when train is moving”.

The signal gantry involved in the accident is about 700 metres south of Balham station, and spans all four lines. After the accident, RAIB measured the distance between the train, standing on the up fast line, and the post of the signal gantry. We found that, at the height of the middle of the droplight, this distance was around 260 mm (10.25 inches).

RAIB’s  investigation will include examination of:

  • The factors which affected the clearance between the train and the signal gantry
  • The measures in place to control the risks from leaning out of train windows