A MISUNDERSTANDING by an engineer over what was a "down line" led to a crash and the derailment of a passenger train near Settle.

The two-car 142 Northern service locomotive, carrying 28 passengers, smashed into three engineering trolleys on the branch line between Giggleswick and Clapham at 9.25am on August 25.

There were no injuries but the train, travelling on the down line, hit the trolleys at 34mph, the driver having been alerted by a track worker who waved his arms realising the potential for a collision.

A Rail Accident Investigation Branch report following the accident said one trolley and several sleepers became wedged underneath the front of the train, which came to a stop 108 metres beyond the point of collision.

Network Rail staff had been working on both lines between Settle Junction and Carnforth, moving and positioning sleepers in the down line ready for overnight track maintenance work.

"The train struck the trolleys because the Controller of Site Safety had an incorrect understanding of which of the two lines was the down line when he handed it back to the Protection Controller who was communicating with signallers to arrange protection for various works which were taking place on the route that morning," the report reveals.

"For reasons that remain unknown, the Controller of Site Safety formed a belief that the trolleys were on the up line

"The RAIB has concluded that his competence and knowledge did not contribute to this accident. Previous investigations demonstrate that even experienced workers can be become confused about which line is which when working on site.

"The RAIB has in the past been notified of several incidents where engineering trolleys have been left on the line and struck by trains.

"It has investigated incidents in which Controllers of Site Safety and other track workers have lost situational awareness while on the railway, in particular where confusion has arisen as to the line on which they were working."