A train driver had taken cocaine before he crashed into the buffers and derailed the front carriage at Enfield Town station at the height of the morning rush-hour with 79 passengers on board — some reporting minor injuries and shock.

The conclusion in a government Transport Department report this week into the crash in 2021 follows a court case in which the driver, Erkan Mehmet, was jailed after saying he fell asleep.

The Arriva Rail London train hit the buffer at the terminal platform at 8.21am during the Tuesday morning peak commuter period on October 12.

It was running at 7.7mph coming into the station ready to pick up more Overground passengers for Liverpool Street and the City, when it shuddered to a halt with its leading wheels about 1ft off the rails.

The automatic breaks had kicked in — but too late to avoid the crash.

Enfield Independent: The damaged front end of the trainThe damaged front end of the train (Image: PA Media)

“The accident occurred because the driver did not apply the brakes in time,” the Transport Department’s findings show. It was “probably a result of being significantly fatigued at the time”.

But their report added: “Post-accident drug and alcohol tests of the driver also yielded a positive result for a recreational drug.”

The driver briefly applied the brakes, but “made no further actions” to control it for seven seconds until an emergency brake locked on just before the impact, the report reveals.

Mehmet had not reported feeling tired to Arriva Rail when reporting for duty that day, which in turn failed to identify his fatigue.

Enfield Independent: Erkan MehmetErkan Mehmet (Image: British Transport Police)

He was breathalysed at the scene and blew negative — but a urine sample later tested positive for cocaine.

A toxicology expert concluded it was likely he had taken cocaine a day or two before and found evidence of “historical use” of the drug.

Mehmet told detectives he fell asleep at the wheel because he only had a couple hours sleep the night before.

“None of the automatic systems applied the brakes,” the transport department’s accident investigation branch found. The ‘train warning’ system failed to activate because it was below the speed to be triggered.

Enfield Independent: How train appeared coming towards you as it ploughed into buffer

Mehmet, a 44-year-old from Waltham Abbey who admitted endangering the safety of the railway when he later appeared at Inner London Crown Court, was sentenced to 16 weeks. He had been driving London Overground trains for 13 years.

British Transport Police Det Con Gemma Littlewood said at the time: “Train drivers are entrusted with the safety of every passenger on board — so it is frankly unthinkable that Mehmet turned up to work in a condition which left him falling asleep at the wheel, putting them all in significant danger.”

Arriva Rail London HQ in Swiss Cottage gave a statement this week saying it takes safety “incredibly seriously”.


Its managing director Paul Hutchings insisted: “We have zero-tolerance for drugs and alcohol which exceeds industry standards.

“The driver was immediately suspended and subsequently dismissed after returning a positive test result.

"We have provided every assistance to the Rail Accident Investigation branch and recognise the recommendations it made and have already made enhancements."

Two recommendations are made by the Transport Department — to encourage staff to “report fatigue that could affect their ability to do their job safely” and for rail companies to improve how they assess the risk of collisions at terminal platforms.