RAIB to issue Safety Digest on recent incident in West Wales when a train hit a tree

The front and driver's cab of a train that hit a tree in West Wales on 17 October 2019.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has announced that it has undertaken a preliminary examination into the circumstances surrounding an incident that occurred at around 18:33 on 17 October 2019 in which a train, carrying 13 passengers and two members of train crew, collided with a large oak tree that had fallen across the line from third-party land.

The incident took place on the West Wales line after a large oak tree fell on the tracks between Clarbeston Road request station and Fishguard Harbour. The train, a Gloucester to Fishguard Harbour service, hit the tree shortly after passing through Spittal tunnel.

The driver of the train involved suffered a minor injury and was left shocked by the incident. The train did not derail, but it was badly damaged. The passengers were unhurt and completed their journey by minibus.

Network Rail investigated and found that the tree had fallen from neighbouring land. They also found five other trees in the area that needed removal, so the line was closed for that work to be carried out.

Following its preliminary examination into the circumstances surrounding this incident, the RIAB has decided to publish a safety digest on the incident, which will be published at a later date.

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