Report into Royston company’s tanker crash published

AN investigation into a collision between a train and a Royston company’s sewage tanker found the driver crossed the tracks when it was not safe.

The JK Environmental Services tanker, driven by Arvydas Bartasius, used an unmanned crossing near Sudbury, Suffolk in August last year – but did not phone ahead to contact the signaller before driving on to the track.

A passenger train was in collision with the tanker and was derailed, injuring 21 people – the train driver and four others were seriously hurt.

The Rail Accident Investigation Board probed the incident and a report issued by the body stated: “The RAIB investigation identified that the tanker driver drove on to Sewage Works Lane crossing when it was not safe to do so.

“He had not used the telephone provided to contact the signaller before driving on to the crossing, although it was a requirement to do so, and that he did not see (and may not have looked for) the approaching train.”

The investigation also found the firm had not been briefed by the authorised user of the crossing, Anglian Water, on how staff could use it safely, and that long waiting times led to a high level of “non compliance”.

Sara Powell-Davies of British Gas, which has purchased the company since the accident last year, said: “Safety is our number one priority, and since the acquisition of this business, all engineers have gone through the British Gas health and safety change programme.

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“We will now be reviewing the findings of the RAIB report in full.”

In November 2010 Bartasius, of Littleport, was jailed for 15 months after admitting endangering safety on the railway.