Shropshire Star

Texting driver who caused his train to derail and crash into another handed suspended sentence

A train derailed and crashed into another with passengers on board after its Black Country driver was distracted by his phone.

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The damaged CrossCountry train. Photo: Office of Rail and Road

Mark Andrew Hubble, of Mildred Road in Cradley Heath, was sending and receiving messages while driving a locomotive owned and operated by DB Cargo (UK) Limited, a court was told.

The DB train was taken from Bescot yard, near Walsall heading to Bromsgrove.

But after entering the siding at Bromsgrove Station, Hubble lost concentration due to a reading a picture message on his phone on March 23, 2020.

He failed to control the speed of his train which struck the buffer stops, derailing and partially obstructing the adjacent main line.

A passing CrossCountry passenger, which was the 21:05 service from Cardiff Central to Birmingham New Street, then struck Hubble’s locomotive.

No-one was injured, but there was extensive damage to both the locomotive and the passenger train.

Prosecutors said the 40-year-old defendant’s failure to control his train due to distraction caused by using his phone led to a serious incident, and it may have had a “catastrophic outcome” under different circumstances.

Hubble was found guilty of breaching Section 7a of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, at Worcester Crown Court on Monday.

The prosecution was brought by the Office of Rail and Road.

In delivering the sentence, Judge Cartwright said: “Luckily there were only six people on board; the guard, driver and four passengers. But for the lockdown, the train might otherwise have been carrying a good number of others. Alan Jones, the driver, was immediately covered in glass, his driver’s door torn open. If the locomotive had derailed a little further over, this would have been a head-on collision and he would have been killed.”

Ian Prosser, chief inspector of railways, added: “We are pleased with the outcome of this case. It sends a clear message to drivers about their responsibilities. This incident could have resulted in serious injuries and fatalities.”

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