Event archive

Event Organiser: ICE

“A Heck of a Disaster”, Pontefract

  • Lecture
  • Pontefract
  • 15 February 2018
  • 10:30 - 13:00
 “A Heck of a Disaster”, Pontefract

About this event

This fatal incident occurred at Heck, south of Selby, on the 28 February 2001. It involved a collision between a High Speed Train and a road vehicle, followed by a collision between that High Speed Train and a loaded coal train. This second collision resulted in the destruction of vehicles in both trains, the death of TEN people and 82 who suffered injury, many seriously.

RICE member Neal Clarke will outline his involvement as a member of the Panel undertaking the Formal Investigation.

The road vehicle, a Land Rover and trailer, left the road and very soon after it landed on the rail track it was struck by the train which was travelling at 120 mph. This resulted in the partial derailment of the leading vehicle of the train which travelled about 800 yards before the derailed wheels were diverted towards the northbound line into the path of the approaching coal train when the second collision occurred at an estimated closing speed of 142mph. The impact of the collision diverted vehicles of both trains off the railway into land to the right and left of the line with considerable damage to many.

Factors considered by the Formal Investigation included:

  • The fitness for service of the trains;
  • The fitness for duty of the crews;
  • The handling of the incident by Railtrack;
  • The response of the emergency services;
  • The mechanism of derailment;
  • How the vehicle left the highway, and the actions of the driver;
  • The structural performance of the passenger train;
  • The Internal performance of the passenger vehicles;
  • The arrangements for containing vehicles within the highway.

Tea and coffee will be served at registration for the meeting, at no charge to those attending.

Following the meeting a cash bar will be open and a hot and cold self-service buffet will be served - to be ordered in advance when booking for the meeting and paid in cash at registration. The cost for lunch will be £14 per person and £2 for dessert.

If you book lunch but later you find that you are unable to attend, provided that you notify the RICE Hon Sec not less than two working days beforehand you will not be charged. If you cancel after that we will always endeavour to make an adjustment with the venue so that you may not have to pay, but we reserve the right to request reimbursement from you if that isn't possible.


If you wish to attend this meeting, please advise the Hon Secretary no later than 16.00 on Tuesday 13 February 2018 giving the information on the form below, either by e-mail to mail@hughallan.net, or by post to: Hugh Allan, 8 West End Close, Horsforth, Leeds LS18 5JN.

Note: RICE meetings are open to all members of ICE and to members of other organisations with whom the ICE has a reciprocal arrangement, such as IET and IMechE. Additionally, RICE members may invite a guest to a RICE ordinary meeting, twice a year.


10.30: Registration, coffee & tea service

11.00: RICEAGM

11.30: Presentation by Neal Clarke

12.45: Bar open and buffet lunch service


Neal Clarke

Neal is a graduate in Civil Engineering from Durham University, a Chartered Civil Engineer and a Fellow of the Permanent Way Institution. After joining British Railways as a Graduate Trainee in 1957 he rose to become the Relaying Engineer at Newcastle, and then Area Civil Engineer at Durham responsible for track and structures.

In 1965 he moved into Operational Management roles at Sunderland, Paisley and back to Newcastle as Area Manager, where he was involved in transfer of railways in Tyneside to become Tyne and Wear Metro. A reorganisation in 1985 caused a move to York Headquarters, but in 1989 he was appointed as HM Inspecting Officer of Railways in Leeds.

Event venue

Rogerthorpe Manor Hotel
Thorpe Lane
Pontefract WF9 1AB
United Kingdom

For more information please contact:

Katie Gibson

e: katie.gibson@ice.org.uk