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Unsafe Movement of Train at Styal Station

Investigation into an unsafe movement of train at Styal station, Cheshire, 3 May 2023


A Class 323 unit similar to that involved in the incident
A Class 323 unit similar to that involved in the incident

At around 15:26 hrs on Wednesday 3 May 2023, a passenger train operated by Northern Trains departed from Styal station, Cheshire, with five passenger doors open.


The train involved was a three-car class 323 electric multiple units. Immediately before the incident, this train experienced technical difficulties where the driver was unable to release the brakes and take power. As a result of this, Northern Trains Control instructed the driver to isolate safety systems relating to the doors to allow the train to move.


The train travelled for approximately 10 seconds with these doors open. Once the train reached 5 km/h (3.1 mph), a safety system caused the open doors to close automatically. No one was hurt in the incident, although people were moving towards the train and a passenger was standing in an open doorway when the train started.


Our investigation will seek to identify the sequence of events that led to this incident. It will also consider:

  • the actions of those involved and anything which may have influenced them

  • the arrangements put in place by Northern Trains to manage and control the risks of train dispatch

  • Northern Train’s policies and procedures for managing technical issues on trains in service

  • the design and function of the relevant safety systems on the train

  • any underlying management factors

Our investigation is independent of any investigation by the railway industry or by the industry’s regulator, the Office of Rail and Road.


We will publish our findings, including any recommendations to improve safety, at the conclusion of our investigation. This report will be available on our website.

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