[AS AMENDED IN STANDING COMMITTEE D]
Make provision about railways, including tramways; to make provision about
transport safety; and for connected purposes.
Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present
Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—
Investigation of Railway Accidents
1 Meaning of “railway” and “railway property”
(1) In this Part—
“railway” means a railway or tramway within the meaning given by
section 67 of the Transport and Works Act 1992 (c. 42), and
“railway property” means anything which falls within the definition of
“light maintenance depot”, “network”, “rolling stock”, “station” or
“track” in section 83 of the Railways Act 1993 (c. 43), or which falls
within the equivalent of any those definitions in relation to a tramway.
(2) The Secretary of State may by regulations amend this section.
(3) This section is subject to section 13(2).
2 Meaning of “railway accident” and “railway incident”
(1) In this Part a reference to a railway accident or railway incident is a reference
to an accident or incident which occurs on railway property in so far as it is or
may be relevant to the operation of the railway.
(2) The Secretary of State may by regulations—
(a) make provision about what is to be or not to be treated as an accident
or incident for the purposes of this Part;
(b) make provision about circumstances in which an accident or incident is
to be or not to be treated as being relevant to the operation of a railway
for the purposes of this Part;
(c) make provision about when an accident is to be treated as serious for
the purposes of this Part.
(3) Regulations under subsection (2) may, in particular, make provision by
reference to the exercise of a discretion by the Chief Inspector of Rail Accidents.
(4) Regulations under subsection (2) making provision about what is to be treated
as an incident may, in particular, include an event or omission which does not
cause damage or loss but which might cause damage or loss in different
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch
(1) The Secretary of State shall appoint persons as inspectors of rail accidents.
(2) The Secretary of State shall appoint one of the inspectors as the Chief Inspector
of Rail Accidents.
(3) The inspectors appointed under this section may be referred to as the Rail
Accident Investigation Branch (being a branch of the department of the
Secretary of State who appoints them).
(4) An inspector of rail accidents shall carry out such of the functions of the Rail
Accident Investigation Branch as may be assigned to him by the Chief
Inspector of Rail Accidents.
4 General aims
In exercising their functions the Rail Accident Investigation Branch shall have
regard to the desirability of—
(a) improving the safety of railways, and
(b) preventing railway accidents and railway incidents.
5 Assistance to others
The Chief Inspector of Rail Accidents may arrange for the Rail Accident
Investigation Branch to assist any person; in particular, assistance—
(a) may be provided with or without charge;
(b) may be provided inside or outside the United Kingdom.
Investigation by Branch
(1) The Rail Accident Investigation Branch—
(a) shall investigate any serious railway accident,
(b) may investigate a non-serious railway accident or a railway incident,
(c) shall investigate a non-serious railway accident or a railway incident if
required to do so by or in accordance with regulations made by the
Secretary of State.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1)(a) a tramway shall not be treated as a
railway (despite section 1(1)).
(3) In investigating an accident or incident the Branch shall try to determine what
(4) On completion of an investigation the Branch shall report to the Secretary of
(5) In performing a function in relation to an accident or incident the Branch—
(a) shall not consider or determine blame or liability, but
(b) may determine and report on a cause of an accident or incident whether
or not blame or liability is likely to be inferred from the determination
(6) The Branch may conduct an investigation and report whether or not civil or
criminal proceedings are in progress or may be instituted (but this subsection
is without prejudice to the operation of the law of contempt of court).
(7) The Chief Inspector of Rail Accidents may apply to the High Court or the
Crown Court for a declaration that the making of a report in connection with a
specified accident or incident will not amount to a contempt of court in relation
to civil or criminal proceedings which have been or may be instituted in
connection with the accident or incident.
(8) The Chief Inspector of Rail Accidents may reopen an investigation if he
believes that significant new evidence may be available.
7 Investigator’s powers
(1) For the purpose of conducting an investigation by virtue of section 6 an
inspector of rail accidents may, provided that he produces evidence of his
identity if asked to do so—
(a) enter railway property;
(b) enter land (which may include a dwelling-house) which adjoins or
abuts railway property;
(c) enter a vehicle or structure which is on railway property or which is on
land which could be entered under paragraph (b);
(d) enter land which does not fall within paragraph (a), (b) or (c) if—
(i) it is used wholly or partly for the purposes of or in connection
with anything done on or with railway property, or
(ii) the inspector reasonably believes that it may contain evidence
relating to an accident or incident;
(e) in entering anything under paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d), be
accompanied by one or more persons authorised by the Chief Inspector
of Rail Accidents for that purpose (whether generally or specifically);
(f) in entering anything under paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d), make
arrangements to have with him equipment or materials.
(2) For the purpose of conducting an investigation by virtue of section 6 an
inspector of rail accidents may—
(a) make a written, electronic, photographic or other record;
(b) remove and retain samples;
(c) arrange for anything to be removed and retained for the purpose of
analysis or other examination or for the purpose of preserving
(d) require access to a record or to recording equipment;
(e) require a person to answer a question;
(f) require a person to provide information;
(g) require a person to disclose a record;
(h) require a person to provide a copy of a record;
(i) require disclosure of the result of an examination of a person, body or
(j) require a person to certify the truth, accuracy or authenticity of a
statement made, of information or a document provided or of a record
(3) A person commits an offence if without reasonable excuse he—
(a) fails to comply with a requirement imposed by an inspector of rail
accidents for the purpose of an investigation by virtue of section 6,
(b) makes a statement for the purpose of an investigation by virtue of
section 6 knowing or suspecting that the statement is inaccurate or
(c) provides information or a record for the purpose of an investigation by
virtue of section 6 knowing or suspecting that the information or record
is inaccurate or misleading,
(d) obstructs an inspector of rail accidents in the course of his conduct of an
investigation by virtue of section 6,
(e) obstructs a person accompanying an inspector of rail accidents under
subsection (1)(e), or
(f) obstructs a person exercising a power of an inspector by virtue of
regulations under section 8(1)(d).
(4) A person who is guilty of an offence under subsection (3) shall be liable on
summary conviction to—
(a) imprisonment for a term not exceeding 51 weeks,
(b) a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or
(5) Subsection (6) applies where—
(a) the Rail Accident Investigation Branch is conducting an investigation
by virtue of section 6 in respect of an accident or incident, and
(b) a question arises as to the desirability of action which any other person
proposes to take for the purpose of investigating the accident or
(6) The question may be determined by—
(a) the Chief Inspector of Rail Accidents, or
(b) an inspector of rail accidents acting on behalf of the Chief Inspector.