Original Article

Cognition, Technology & Work

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 171-185

Managing incidents in a complex system: a railway case study

  • Lynne CollisAffiliated withLetra Engineering LtdBirmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, University of Birmingham Email author 
  • , Felix SchmidAffiliated withBirmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, University of Birmingham
  • , Andrew TobiasAffiliated withBirmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, University of Birmingham

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Abstract

The authors of this paper review how complex entities, composed of many interdependent subsystems, such as international rail operators, can improve their ability to recover from incidents through the better management of key interfaces. The principles of Normal Accident Theory and resilience engineering are discussed, and the case study of the Eurostar incident of 18–19 December 2009 is considered in detail. Lessons learnt from resilience engineering are applied to the case study to extract recommendations by which incident management for open access international rail transport may be improved.

Keywords

Crisis management Decompensation fatigue Evacuation drills Interface management Normal accident theory Railway incident response Resilience engineering