The RAIB has released their initial report into a freight train derailment and fire near Llangennech, South Wales.
At around 23:15 on the 26th August 2020, 6A11 2152 Robeston to Theale, with 25 tank wagons of diesel, derailed on the Up line near Llangennch, in Carmarthenshire.
The derailment and damage to the wagons resulted in the significant spillage of fuel and a major fire.
The driver, who was unhurt in the accident, reported the accident to the signaller.
Examination of the site showed that a total of 10 wagons had derailed, with 330,000 litres in total being spilt.
The fire was tackled by the local fire service, who evacuated local residents due to safety concerns.
The preliminary report has found that, although all the wheels of the train were rotating freely when it left Robeston, at some point during the journey, the brakes on the third wagon had applied, and remained on until the derailment.
While three of the four axles continued to turn, their brakes were dragging. The lead axle ceased to rotate at all, and a flat spot developed on each of the axles, creating a false flange.
When the train reached the crossover at Morlais Junction the false flange on the right-hand wheel caught on the stock rail and therefore distorted the track and this lead to the derailment of both wheels.
Around 100m later, the derailed wagon arrived at a set of facing points to route the train to the right. The locomotive and two leading wagons went correctly to the right, but the partly derailed wagon went straight on.
The third wagon turned over and became detached from the wagon in front, causing the points and track to be destroyed. The derailment of the other nine wagons followed.
The train brakes came on when the brake pipes became disconnected in the derailment.
When the locomotive and two wagons came to a stop 180 metres away, the driver looked back and saw the major fire had already started. He uncoupled his locomotive from the first wagon and drove it away around 400 metres.
The RAIB will publish their findings at a later date.
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