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It's clear and straightforward. Section 11.2 of the Railways (Accident Investigation and Reporting) Regulations 2005 requires RAIB (Read About It Belatedly) to "publish a final report [into any event it investigates] in the shortest time possible and normally not later than twelve months after the date of the occurrence".

(Click here to read the full regulations.)

The word 'normally' is not a catch-all get-out clause. The generous deadline is 12 months unless - according to the safety unit of the European Railway Agency - there are "justified reasons" why it cannot be met.

The RAIB is rated poorly...on the length of time it takes to produce final reports...
Source: Ipsos Mori survey of senior and middle managers

The graph and list below analyses 'heavy rail' accidents or incidents into which RAIB has conducted inquiries. As you can see, compliance with regulation 11.2 is far from 'normal', compromising the ability of the wider industry to learn lessons quickly and effectively from these serious events.

'Reasonable'
(as considered by senior
rail managers)

Compliant

Compliant....just

Non-compliant

Hugely
non-compliant
Pathetic!

The data used to produce the above graph only considers RAIB's 'heavy rail' inquiries - those relating to events on Network Rail infrastructure.

Since 2008, the average duration for the 192 heavy rail inquiries completed by RAIB is 360 days. Of these, 65 have taken longer than the regulatory deadline, or 34% of them.

The target duration is not 12 months - this is the upper time limit. The aim is for inquiries to be published in "the shortest time possible". Senior rail managers, surveyed by Ipsos Mori, considered six months to be a "reasonable" timescale.

RAIB's performance was characteristically poor in 2014 and through the first half of 2015, but then improved markedly. The Branch missed the stated 12-month deadline on 11 occasions in the 18 months to June 2015, but its incident-to-publication average for the 12 reports released thereafter was 303 days: well short of the six-month timescale considered to the "reasonable" by senior railway managers, but much better than its previous performance. Which begs the question, why have things been so bad for the previous ten years? Of course, time will tell whether this improvement is maintained.

The list of heavy rail inquiries below is in order of publication date, with the most recent first. Click the event's title to visit the relevant page on RAIB's website.
Event
Happened
Publication
Days
Serious irregularity at Cardiff East Junction 29/12/16 30/10/17

305

Fatal accident at Alice Holt footpath crossing, Hampshire 05/10/16 26/10/17

386

Derailment and subsequent collision at Watford 16/09/16 10/08/17

328

Partial bridge collapse at Barrow-upon-Soar 01/08/16 06/06/17

310

Fatal accident, Balham 07/08/16 25/05/17

291

Near miss at Dock Lane level crossing 14/06/16 03/05/17

323

Trackworkers class investigation 02/02/16 13/04/17

435

Near miss between a train and a trackworker at Shawford 24/06/16 24/03/17

273

Collision between a train and tractor near Thetford 10/04/16 14/03/17

338

Trains passed over washed out track at Baildon 07/06/16 16/02/17

254

Collision at Plymouth Station 03/04/16 13/02/17

316

Train hitting wheelchair at Twyford Station 07/04/16 19/01/17

288

Fatal accident at Grimston Lane level crossing 23/02/16 21/11/16

272

Structural failure at Lamington Viaduct 31/12/15 14/11/16

320

Collision at Barrow-upon-Soar 14/02/16 27/10/16

256

Collision at Knockmore Junction 04/02/16 17/10/16

256

Overspeed incident at Queen’s Park 05/01/16 06/10/16

275

Two signals passed at danger 03/11/15 29/09/16

331

Derailment at Knaresborough 07/11/15 04/08/16

271

Collision with buffer stops at King’s Cross Station 17/09/15 03/08/16

321

Overspeed at Fletton Junction 11/09/15 01/08/16

325

Freight train collision near Logan, East Ayrshire 01/08/15 13/07/16

348

Passenger accident at Hayes & Harlington Station 25/07/15 30/06/16

342

Derailment of a freight train near Langworth 30/06/15 27/06/16

363

Derailment of freight train near Angerstein Junction 03/06/15 01/06/16

364

Runaway and collision at Bryn Station 27/11/14 09/05/16

529

Fire on board a freight shuttle in the Channel Tunnel 17/01/15 05/05/16

474

Dangerous occurrence at Wootton Bassett Junction 07/03/14 05/05/16

425

Collision between train and tractor near Knaresborough 14/05/15 28/04/16

350

Derailment of passenger train at Godmersham 26/07/15 06/04/16

255

Passenger dragged under a train at West Wickham 10/04/15 29/02/16

325

Collision between a train and a fallen bridge parapet at Froxfield 22/02/15 20/01/16

332

Derailment at Washwood Heath West Junction 23/03/15 11/01/16

275

Unsafe events at Heathrow Junction 27/12/14 16/12/15

354

Container detachments in Lincolnshire and Cumbria 07/03/15 07/12/15

275

Collison between a train and a wooden sleeper 18/06/15 18/11/15

153

Arcing and fire at Windsor & Eton Riverside 30/01/15 21/10/15

264

Trains striking Down platform at Moston, Manchester 28/01/15 07/10/15

252

Derailment of a freight train at Heworth, Tyne & Wear 23/10/14 24/09/15

336

Collision between a train and a signal post at Newbury 11/11/14 23/09/15

316

Near miss at Raven level crossing 01/11/14 17/08/15

290

Train struck and damaged in Watford Tunnel 26/10/14 13/08/15

291

Derailment at Angerstein Junction 02/04/14 12/08/15

497

Derailment at Porthkerry 02/10/14 06/08/15

308

Near miss involving trackworkers near Hest Bank, Lancashire 22/09/14 16/07/15

297

Driver suffers severe electric shock at Sutton Weaver 24/09/14 24/06/15

273

Accident to a track worker near Redhill 24/06/14 15/06/15

356

Fatal accident at Frampton level crossing 11/05/14 28/05/15

382

Derailment of an empty train at Paddington station 25/05/14 30/04/15

339

Derailment of a freight train at Stoke Lane LC near Nottingham 27/08/13 02/04/15

583

Fatal track worker accident near Newark North Gate 22/01/14 16/02/15

390

Unauthorised movement onto a single line at Greenford 20/03/13 22/12/14

308

Collision at Jetty Avenue level crossing, Woodbridge 14/07/13 15/12/14

518

Derailment at Liverpool Street Station, London 23/01/13 11/12/14

308

Buffer stop collision at Chester Station 20/11/13 24/11/14

369

Collision with trolley at Bridgeway User Worked Crossing 16/01/14 20/11/14

308

Rail breaks on the East Coast Main Line 14/09/12 13/11/14
791
Dangerous occurrence at Denmark Hill Station 01/08/13 27/10/14

449

Derailment at Primrose Hill/Camden Road West Junction 15/10/13 15/10/14

366

Freight train derailment at Gloucester 13/10/13 09/10/14

361

Barratt's Lane No.2 footpath crossing 26/10/13 21/08/14

300

Objects rolling onto the track at Southend and Whyteleafe 28/08/13 14/08/14

351

Runaway of RRV in Queen St High Level Tunnel, Glasgow 21/04/13 17/07/14

452

Road vehicle incursion, Aspatria 26/10/13 26/06/14

243

Near miss at Butterswood level crossing, Lincolnshire 25/06/13 16/06/14

356

Locomotive failure near Winchfield 23/11/13 16/06/14

205

Near miss at Llandovery level crossing, Carmarthenshire 06/06/13 15/05/14

343

Accident at Balnamore level crossing, Ballymoney 31/05/13 12/05/14

346

Passenger train collision at Norwich 21/7/13 01/05/14

284

Landslips affecting Network Rail infrastructure 28/06/12 02/03/14
692
Locomotive derailment at Ordsall Lane Junction, Salford 21/01/13 31/03/14

423

Collision at Buttington Hall user worked crossing, Welshpool 16/7/13 27/03/14

329

Fatal accident at Athelney level crossing, near Taunton 21/03/13 24/02/14

340

Penetration of tunnel near Old Street Station, London 08/03/13 13/02/14

342

Derailment at Castle Donington, Leicestershire 21/01/13 16/01/14

360

Fatal accident at Motts Lane level crossing, Witham 24/01/13 14/01/14

355

Derailment of a freight train at Barrow-upon-Soar 27/12/12 11/12/13

349

Fatal accident involving a track worker at Saxilby 04/12/12 29/10/13

329

Trackworker struck by a train at Bulwell 06/08/12 03/10/13

423

Beech Hill level crossing collision 04/12/12 24/09/13

294

SPAD at Stafford 26/04/12 16/09/13

508

Dangerous occurrence involving an engineer's train at Blatchbridge Jnc 19/03/12 12/09/13

543

Train runs onto washed-out embankment near Knockmore 28/06/12 02/09/13

431

Partial failure of a structure inside Balcombe Tunnel 23/09/12 15/08/13
692
Collision between a stoneblower and ballast regulator near Arley 10/08/12 08/08/13

363

Dangerous event at Lindridge Farm user worked crossing, Bagworth 22/03/12 29/07/13

494

Accident at Charing Cross Station 25/11/12 25/07/13

242

Collision of RRV with buffer stop at Bradford Interchange 25/03/12 24/07/13

485

Derailment of a freight train at Shrewsbury Station 07/07/12 22/07/13

380

Near miss involving trackworkers near Roydon Station 16/07/12 27/06/13

346

Accident involving a pantograph and the OLE near Cambridge 05/01/12 20/05/13

501

Dangerous occurrence in a possession near Dunblane 28/10/12 25/04/13
179
Freight train derailment at Reading West Junction 28/01/12 28/01/13

367

Fatal accident at Kings Mill No.1 level crossing, Mansfield 02/05/12 14/01/13

258

Near miss incident at Ufton AHB level crossing, Berkshire 04/09/11 20/12/12

473

Fatality at Johnson’s footpath crossing near Bishop’s Stortford 28/01/12 13/12/12

320

Fatal accident at James Street station, Liverpool 22/10/11 27/11/12

403

Vehicle incursion and collision with a train at Stowmarket Road 30/11/11 21/11/12

358

Derailment at Bletchley Junction 03/02/11 21/11/12

292

Collision between a train and a lorry at Llanboidy level crossing 19/12/11 27/09/12

283

Derailment at Bordesley Junction, Birmingham 26/08/11 19/09/12

390

Derailment at Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh 27/07/11 30/08/12

400

Container train accident near Althorpe Park, Northants 18/07/11 09/08/12

388

12/06/11 06/08/12

421

Fatal accident at Gipsy Lane crossing, Needham Market, Suffolk 24/08/11 18/07/12

329

Runaway track maintenance trolley near Haslemere, Surrey 10/09/11 12/07/11

306

Detachment of a cardan shaft at Durham Station 10/04/11 02/07/12

449

19/06/11 27/06/12

374

3/10/11 21/06/12

262

10/10/11 30/05/12

233

Safety incident between Dock Junction and Kentish Town 26/05/11 23/05/12

362

Collision between a train and tractor at White House Farm crossing 25/09/11 29/03/12

185

Partial failure of Bridge 94
near Bromsgrove
06/04/11 22/03/12

351

Two trackworker incidents between Clapham Junction and Earlsfield 08/03/11 27/02/12

356

08/1/11 15/02/12

403

23/3/11 15/12/11

267

Passenger accident at Brentwood Station 28/1/11 28/11/11

304

Station overrun at Stonegate,
East Sussex
08/11/10 17/11/11

374

Passenger train derailment near Dryclough Junction, Halifax 05/2/11 20/10/11

257

Derailment in Summit tunnel near Todmorden, West Yorkshire 28/12/10 29/9/11

275

Uncontrolled freight train run-back between Shap and Tebay, Cumbria 17/8/10 15/8/11

363

Collision between a tanker and passenger train near Sudbury 17/8/10 11/8/11

359

Lorry strikes bridge and falls onto train at Oxshott 05/11/10 04/8/11

272

Accident at Falls of Cruachan, Argyll 06/6/10 14/7/11

403

RRV runaway and collision near Raigmore, Inverness 20/7/10 11/7/11

356

Collision between a train and tree at Lavington 10/7/10 06/4/11

271

Runaway and derailment of wagons at Ashburys 04/05/10 24/03/11

324

Trackworker struck by train at Cheshunt Junction 30/03/10 23/03/11

358

Fatal accident at Moreton-on-Lugg near Hereford 16/01/10 28/02/11

408

Derailment of freight train at Carrbridge 04/01/10 24/01/11

416

Near miss involving a freight train and two passenger trains at Carstairs 22/12/09 31/01/11

405

Passenger train struck by object at Washwood Heath 06/03/10 24/01/11

324

Incident at Romford Station 14/02/10 09/12/10

298

Fire of freight shuttle in
Channel Tunnel
11/09/08 22/11/10

802

Derailment near Gillingham Tunnel 28/11/09 28/10/10

334

Near miss at Victory Level crossing, near Taunton 19/12/09 07/10/10

292

Fatal accident at Halkirk level crossing, Caithness 29/09/09 23/09/10

360

Failure of a railway bridge spanning the River Crane at Feltham 14/11/09 23/09/10

314

Fatal accident at Whitehall West Junction, Leeds 02/12/09 02/09/10

274

Derailment at Wigan
North Western Station
25/08/09 18/08/10

358

Derailment at Windsor & Eton Riverside Station 04/01/10 05/08/10

298

Overhead line failure at
St Pancras International
04/01/10 05/08/10

316

Collision at Exeter St David Station 04/01/10 21/06/10
168
Fatal accident at Fairfield level crossing, Little Bedwyn, Wiltshire 06/05/09 12/05/10

371

Passenger train derailment near Cummersdale, Cumbria 01/06/09 25/03/10

298

Incident at Greenhill Upper Jnc, near Falkirk 22/03/09 18/03/10

361

Derailment of freight train
near Stewarton, Ayrshire
27/01/09 03/02/10

372

Derailment of freight train
at Marks Tey, Essex
12/06/08 14/01/10

581

Collision and derailment
at North Rode
18/12/08 14/12/09

361

Accident involving a trackworker at Dalston Junction 30/03/09 19/11/09

234

Double fatality at Bayles & Wylies foot crossing, Bestwood 22/11/08 19/11/09

362

Container doors hitting passenger trains in Cumbria 04/07/09 19/11/09
138
Serious injury sustained by a S&T technician at Kennington Junction 23/05/08 12/11/09

537

Derailment of two locomotives at East Somerset Junction 10/11/08 10/11/09

366

Runaway RRVs and their trailers on Network Rail 18/07/08 29/10/09

468

Fatal accident at Wraysholme crossing, Flookburgh 03/11/08 07/10/09

338

Engineering train collision at
Leigh-on-Sea
26/04/08 14/09/09

506

Trackworker struck by train at Stevenage 07/12/08 27/08/09

263

Collision with debris from bridge near Liverpool Street 28/05/08 20/08/09

449

Incident involving container train at Basingstoke Station 19/12/08 12/08/09

236

Near miss at Llanbadarn crossing 21/10/08 28/07/09

280

Trackworker struck by train on Grosvenor Bridge, Victoria 13/11/07 16/07/09
611
Minor collision near New Southgate 27/07/08 24/06/09

332

Collision between train and grinding machines at Acton West 24/06/08 18/06/09

359

Poplar Farm (Attleborough) crossing near miss 01/07/08 11/06/09

346

Detachment of containers from freight wagons 01/03/08 27/05/09

453

Road-rail vehicle runaways at Brentwood & Snow Hill 04/11/07 27/05/09

570

Derailment at Santon, Scunthorpe 28/01/08 30/04/09

461

Fatal accident at
Tackley Station level crossing
31/03/08 30/03/09

364

Derailment at Moor Street, Birmingham 25/03/08 18/03/09

359

Runaway roadrailer at Glen Garry 05/12/07 25/02/09

448

Derailment near
Glasgow Exhibition Centre
03/09/07 12/02/09

528

Derailment at Ely 27/06/07 22/01/09

575

Fatal accident at
West Lodge crossing
22/01/08 20/01/09

364

Fatal accident on
Moor Lane foot crossing
16/04/08 23/12/08

251

Near miss at Bishop's Stortford 30/01/08 23/12/08

328

SPAD at Didcot North Junction 22/08/07 20/11/08

456

Overspeeding in ESR at
Ty Mawr crossing
29/08/07 30/10/08

428

Trackworker fatality
east of Reading
29/11/07 28/10/08

334

Derailment at Grayrigg 23/02/07 23/10/08

608

Trackworker injury at Leatherhead 29/08/07 23/10/08

421

Collision with footbridge at
Barrow-upon-Soar
01/02/08 25/09/08

238

Derailment at Duddlestone Junction 10/08/07 31/07/08

356

Two trains in same section at Aylesbury 27/08/07 11/06/08

291

Runaway wagons in
Camden Road Tunnel
19/07/07 22/05/08

315

Derailment at Croxton level crossing 12/09/06 13/05/08

590

Runaway and collision at Armathwaite 28/01/07 24/04/08

452

Derailment at Kemble 15/01/07 27/03/08

437

Derailment in Hooley Cutting,
near Merstham
13/01/07 28/02/08

411

Track worker fatality
at Ruscombe Junction
29/04/07 28/02/08

306

Derailment of a freight train
at King Edward Bridge, Newcastle
10/05/07 31/01/08

265

Collision near Burton-on-Trent 01/08/07 10/01/08
163
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