RAIB examination shows rail fastenings had broken before freight train derailment in Eastleigh

Credit: RAIB

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has released their initial findings into what happened when at the Eastleigh freight train derailment.

At around 11:31 hrs on 28 January 2020, a freight train derailed just south of Eastleigh station.

The train was doing around 12 mph on the down slow line at the time of the incident, which occurred on a crossover onto the down fast line.

The locomotive, a Class 70, became partly derailed and then re-railed itself. Additionally, some of the wheels on four of the following five wagons also became derailed, causing damage to the track in the process.

The driver stopped the train before the remaining 25 wagons reached the damaged track. No one was injured in this incident. However, severe damage was done to the signalling equipment and track.

The RAIB’s preliminary investigation into the Eastleigh freight train derailment found that several rail fastenings, which maintain the right distance between the rails, had broken.

Evidence shows that some of these were broken before the derailment and meant that as the train crossed the points, the rails moved apart and the train dropped into the space between them.

Eastleigh freight train derailment
Credit: Chris Addoo

The RAIB’s full investigation will include:

  • the design and installation of the rail fastenings
  • the industry’s response to previous problems identified with the fastenings during their service life
  • any underlying factors

The report will be published when available.

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