Overhead line equipment in station struck by a mobile elevated scissor lift

Issued to: Network Rail line managers, safety professionals and accredited contractors
Ref: NRB20-06
Date of issue: 30/04/2020
Location: Platform 2, Newcastle Station
Contact: Ben Brooks, Special Projects Manager


On 9th April 2020 at 10:50 two contractor staff were painting Newcastle Station roof columns on Platform 2. A station staff member raised a concern on seeing the mobile elevated scissor lift being in close proximity to the live Overhead Line Equipment (OLE). The work activity was halted. As the machine was being lowered it made contact with an earthed part of the OLE lower cross span wire on one of the OLE structures. The incident was reported by the station staff member to Network Rail Control who despatched a Mobile Operations Manager.

The train on platform 2 was cautioned and OLE maintenance staff inspected the OLE before it was brought back into service. It is important to understand how these errors arose as the consequences could have been fatal. Contract managers should investigate to understand and correct the failures that occurred.

Immediate action required

Questions to ask yourself

While we are investigating this incident, please discuss the following with your team:

Where non-railway approved contractors are working close to the railway and/or in station environments, how do we assure ourselves that they understand and adhere to industry protocols?

Are all involved in station works in electrified areas aware of, and do they understand the requirements of NR/L3/ELP/29987 – Working on or near 25kV Electrified Lines?

Before any work is attempted on or about electrified lines, the proposed work shall be subject to a risk assessment of all electrical hazards.

Have COVID-19 changes made to the signing on arrangements due to social distancing reduced the effectiveness of site briefings?

How are we assuring ourselves that our contract requirements including the competence of those undertaking the works are still being fully met?

How do we ensure that the required plans and permits are in place before starting any work?

Who should you contact if you believe the Overhead Line Equipment (OLE) may be damaged?

Are you familiar and competent against the requirements of the Rule Book GE/RT8000 AC electrified lines Handbook 16 – Section 2 or Module AC – Section 2 competence.

*The source of this information is the Safety Bulletins from National Rail and can be found here