A systemic analysis of the Paddington railway accident

J. Santos-Reyes, A. N. Beard

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    29 Citations (Scopus)


    The Paddington railway collision may be regarded as the most serious railway accident on Britain's railway system. The accident occurred on 5 October 1999. Thirty-one people were killed and many more were injured. An immediate and 'direct' cause of the collision was the fact that a train that belonged to Thames Trains had passed a signal at red and collided with a First Great Western High Speed Train at Ladbroke Grove Junction, near Paddington, London. Following this and several other accidents that have occurred since privatization of the railways (1994), there has been a large amount of public debate about safety management on the British railways. This article presents the results of a preliminary systemic analysis of the accident. The approach has been to compare the features of the Paddington railway accident with the characteristics of a railway systemic safety management system model, which has been constructed employing the concepts of systems. A number of discrepancies have come to light. Further analysis would be expected to reveal more. It is hoped that this systemic analysis will help to identify 'learning points', which are relevant for preventing accidents on the railways. © IMechE 2006.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)121-151
    Number of pages31
    JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


    • Failure
    • System
    • Systemic


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