The remit of the investigation has been agreed in consultation with consumer bodies London TravelWatch and Transport Focus, as well as trade unions and the investigation’s independent Chair.
The investigation will create a detailed timeline of the incident, and review the events, decisions and causes of the disruption. It will also assess the response and management of the incident by railway personnel and the emergency services. The investigation will explore arrangements made for the safety and welfare of stranded passengers, as well as communications with passengers on the affected trains.
As part of the review, investigators will explore the effectiveness of winter precautions, the impact of passengers self-evacuating onto the tracks, and what other actions might have been possible to reduce or mitigate the impact of the disruption.
The investigation will produce an initial summary report by April 2018, and a final report by June 2018.
Southeastern and Network Rail have also confirmed the appointment of Mike Sowden as the independent Chair of the joint investigation. He is a Chartered Civil Engineer and independent transport consultant, who has worked with clients including Balfour Beatty, HS2, South West Trains and Irish Republic Railways. Specialist consultancy firm Arthur D Little has also been appointed to act as an independent investigator.
Separately to the announcement of a joint, independent investigation of the incident by Southeastern and Network Rail, the Department for Transport’s Rail Accident Investigation Branch has confirmed that it will also investigate the incident.