A A
To change the text size, hold down the Ctrl key and click + to increase or - to decrease it
2021/04

Report on collision between train 811 and a tractor-trailer on the Borgestad fabrikker level crossing on the Bratsberg line on 29 April 2020

At 11:48 on Wednesday 29 April 2020, Train 811 belonging to Vygruppen AS collided with a tractor-trailer vehicle combination on the level crossing in Borgestadbakken. The level crossing is situated on the Porsgrunn side of Borgestad Station on the Bratsberg Line in Skien Municipality. The level crossing is secured by a half barrier system. The vehicle combination consisted of a tractor and a gooseneck trailer (boat trolley) carrying a recreational craft. The Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority’s investigation has focused on responsibility for traffic safety and accessibility issues relating to road/rail interfaces. The road at the level crossing had an unfortunate vertical alignment, which was decisive in causing the accident. The investigation has found that there is no clear division of responsibility between the road owner Skien Municipality and the infrastructure manager Bane NOR SF regarding level crossings on public roads. At the same time, the road owner lacks requirements and recommendations for road design at level crossings, and no inspections to ensure compliance are carried out.

The driver drove slowly downhill towards the level crossing and raised the tractor by means of the air springs to pass the level crossing, which was perceived by the driver as a ‘hump across the track’. The tractor had just passed the level crossing when the boat trolley got stuck. The driver left the driver’s cabin to lift the gooseneck further up with the aid of an exterior control panel. The driver had just left the cabin when the level crossing’s barrier system was activated, and the barriers started to come down. According to the tractor’s tachograph, the vehicle stood still for less than two minutes before the collision. The driver tried to raise the alert by calling 112, but there was not enough time for the call to be answered before Train 811 ran into the trailer.

The incident is an example of one of the most serious railway accident scenarios. Had it involved a fully loaded passenger train carrying hundreds of passengers, colliding with a heavily loaded trailer, the consequences would certainly have been greater and far more serious.

The safety investigation has also shed light on the lack of requirements for and expectations of risk assessments by the transport sector.
The Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority submits four safety recommendations as a result of this investigation.


Photo: Bane NOR SF

Published 29.04.2021

Safety recommendation

Safety recommendation Rail no 2021/08T

On Wednesday 29 April 2020, Vygruppen AS’s Train 811 collided with a tractor-trailer that was stuck on a secured level crossing in Borgestadbakken in Skien Municipality. Bane NOR SF’s measurements showed that the elevation of the level crossing exceeded their recommendations, but there are no procedures in place to ensure that this is followed up as a risk.

The Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority recommends that the Norwegian Railway Authority request Bane NOR SF to conduct a survey to determine what level crossings entail a risk of vehicles with low ground clearance and widely spaced axles getting stuck, and to inform the respective road owners of the results.

Safety recommendation Rail no 2021/09T

On Wednesday 29 April 2020, Vygruppen AS’s Train 811 collided with a tractor-trailer that was stuck on a secured level crossing in Borgestadbakken in Skien Municipality. The alignment of the municipal road at the level crossing made passing by vehicles with low ground clearance difficult. The municipality did not consider the road at the level crossing to fall within its area of responsibility.

The Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority recommends that the Ministry of Transport inform public road owners of their overriding responsibility for road traffic safety and accessibility on their roads, including at level crossings.

Safety recommendation Rail no 2021/10T

On Wednesday 29 April 2020, Vygruppen AS’s Train 811 collided with a tractor-trailer that was stuck on a secured level crossing in Borgestadbakken in Skien Municipality. The alignment of the municipal road at the level crossing made passing by vehicles with low ground clearance difficult. The Norwegian Public Roads Administration’s requirements and guidelines contain no information about level crossings to support road owners in connection with road safety risk assessments.

The Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority recommends that the Norwegian Public Roads Administration offer all road owners guidance on risk assessment of level crossings.

Safety recommendation Rail no 2021/11T

On Wednesday 29 April 2020, Vygruppen AS’s Train 811 collided with a
tractor-trailer that was stuck on a secured level crossing in Borgestadbakken in Skien Municipality. The alignment of the municipal road at the level crossing made passing by vehicles with low ground clearance difficult. Drivers lack sources of information that would enable them to identify the challenges that such level crossings entail.

The Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority recommends that the Norwegian Public Roads Administration further develop its information services so that they include information about level crossings that pose particular challenges.

Facts

Location Borgestad fabrikker level crossing, Borgestad
Occurrence date 29.04.2020
Train No 811
Type of Transportation Passenger train
Type of occurrence Level-crossing accident
Rolling Stock Multippel Unit (MU)
Operator Bane NOR SF/ Vy AS