13th MAY 1976



extracted and adapted from the report by

A. G . TOWNSEND-ROSE, Lieutenant Colonel 

Driver W. Kenchington of Brighton, who was driving the 18.04 Victoria to Brighton passenger train on Thursday, 13th May 1976, admitted to having passed the 3-aspect colour-light Down Main Inner Home signal, No. CR29 at Earlswood, at Danger.
Absolute Block applies between Earlswood and Redhill ’B’ Signal Boxes 831 yards in rear using Sykes ’Lock and Block’ instruments. Although a 70 mile/h speed restriction applies over the line, there are 30 mile/h restrictions through the connections from the Down Redhill platform line and through the Down Main to Down Fast line connection over which the train was signalled. The yards of the former Redhill engine sheds stand on the Down side of the 'Through' lines between the two signal boxes.
The train was formed of 12 cars of CIG stock with its braking fully modified for running at 90 mile/h. After the accident the brakes were found to be in good order.
The signalman had previously set the route for the 18.02 Victoria to Gatwick Airport train from the Down Through to the Down Local line via points No. 22 reversed and was in the act of setting the route for the Brighton train from the Down Main to the Down Through line via points No. 57 reversed and No. 22 Normal when the front of the train passed over No. 57 facing points as they were moving, and travelled a further 50 yards with its leading bogie derailed before coming to a stand. The train suffered little damage.
A single track circuit 24T forms the berth and 49-foot overlap track circuit of signal CR 29. This signal stands only 54 feet from the tips of No. 57 points which are track locked by track circuit 25T commencing only 5 ft 5 in before the tips of the switch blades. It takes about 4 seconds for points No. 57 to complete their movement after the operation of the controlling lever. The preceding signal No. CR 28 is approach controlled by the occupation of track circuit 23T when points No. 22 are reversed.
Although the signalman has a good view of the train's approach around a left-handed curve approaching the signal he was busy pulling or replacing six levers with his back to the railway during the critical moments before the derailment and could not have 
been aware that the train was passing the signal at Danger.
I interviewed Driver Kenchington at Croydon on 13th July 1976, when he told me he had correctly stopped the train at Redhill at the right time. Approaching signal No. 28 its aspect had changed from red to a single yellow and he had allowed his train to run forward on the falling gradient at some 20 mile/h. He remembered looking to his left into the old shed yard where he had once worked as a driver on steam locomotives and his next recollection was when he was only 40 yards from signal No. 29 which was still displaying a red aspect. In spite of an immediate application of the emergency brake he was unable to stop the 
train from its speed of about 22 mile/h.
questioned him at some length as to why he had passed the signal. He did not think that it was because he was expecting the signal to clear; he was either checked or stopped at the signal 3 or 4 times each week and had been stopped at it on the previous Monday. He thought that he must have allowed his attention to wander and accepted that he was in a reverie during the critical time. He was sure that the sounding of an AWS horn 200 yards before the signal would have brought him to his senses and 
prevented the derailment.
Driver Kenchington was 47 years old and had 18 years driving experience on the line. He had a rest day on the previous Saturday. Having finished duty at 22.55 on the day before the accident, he had slept well and had signed on duty at 14.50. This was the first occasion he had passed a signal at Danger and he was unable to account for it, nor was there any record of Signal No. 29 having been passed at Danger by any other driver. I found Driver Kenchington an absolutely open witness and I could find no reason as to why he had allowed his attention to lapse.
At the site, had the occupation of a separate overlap track circuit beyond the signal protecting the junction locked the facing points on which the trains became derailed, the accidents would not have occurred. At Earlswood this can be achieved when the signalling is replaced in 1977. Signals CR 28 and 29 will then be replaced by a single colour-light signal positioned between the two existing signals and a separate overlap track circuit should then be provided.
The provision of standard British Railways AWS at Earlswood would have prevented the derailment because I believe the driver was expecting the signal to clear before he arrived at it, it would not have done so.

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