Published 6th March 2013
January 2013 has not been a good month for railway accidents which have caused delays but there were no injuries to passengers it must be emphasised.
On January 23, the 10am train from Liverpool Street to Norwich Abellio Greater Anglia service had an interesting trip out of the station. Several wheels on the nine coach train derailed as the train departed Liverpool Street driven from a Driving Van Trailer (DVT) at the north end of the train while a class 90 locomotive propelled the train from the other end.
The train was travelling at about 15 mph when several wheels on the third and fourth coaches derailed about 180 metres after leaving the platform but the track layout and the continued forward movement of the train led to the wheels climbing back onto the rails within about 35 metres. This is an unusual event on a passenger train but is not unknown away from passenger lines.
The sounds created by the incident were reported and the train stopped and inspected but it went on to Norwich where a second inspection took place and revealed wheel damage consistent with a derailment so the train was withdrawn from service. The track involved had been closed to traffic at 1005am and track damage caused by a derailment was found at 1245 hrs.
The Rail Accident Investigation Board (RAIB) is investigating what happened up to the derailment and will also look at maintenance of track and train as well as the design and condition of these parts as well.
The RAIB is also investigating a derailment that happened on the same day between Deansgate Station, in Manchester and Ordsall Lane Junction, Salford.
This caused massive delays for two days as some of the track had been signed out of use beforehand and when the derailment of Class 47 diesel locomotive No. 47500 occurred at 1434hrs the line was blocked with no diversionary route available.
Curiously the locomotive was at the rear of a train returning from maintenance at Ardwick depot and became derailed on the tight curve approaching Ordsall Lane Junction. The train was being pulled by another Class 47 diesel with five empty carriages and No. 47500 at the south end.
The train was going to its base at Carnforth and travelling at 18mph when the derailment happened. The bad news for the railways was that it caught fire and came to a halt on a bridge over a road right outside the ITV news studios so received a lot of media coverage. No. 47500 carried on for around 70 metres off the rails lurching to a halt. Reports suggest that a checkrail was installed immediately after the accident as it was on a tight curve and that there had been engineering works undertaken at that location in the very recent past.
RAIB will be investigating all these aspects and will establish the cause of the derailment but as =ever, will look at the condition of the track, carriages and locomotives as well as the maintenance the train had received at Ardwick and perhaps crucially, if the engineering works had anything to do with the accident.
The RAIB is investigating another train on fire, but this time a passenger service running between South Gosforth and Longbenton stations on the Tyne and Wear Metro system on January 8, 2013.
This happened at 1408hrs when a two-car Metro train departed South Gosforth going to St. James from South Shields. Just after leaving South Gosforth an electrical fault caused severe arcing in the underfloor equipment and a fire developed under the rear carriage. The train stopped, and then a little while later, the overhead electric wire parted and fell on the roof.
The arcing caused the fire, ceased after about 45 seconds, but produced a large amount of smoke inside the rear carriage which had about 45 passengers in it. They escaped using the emergency release handles to open the doors and jumped onto the track and Metro staff made sure they were safely away from danger nearby.
The emergency services damped-down the smouldering train and no-one was hurt in the incident, and there was no significant damage to the interior of the train.
The RAIB is investigating a freight train derailment just east of Long Eaton station on a freight line which occurred on January 21, 2013. It happened at 1955hrs when the 18th, 19th and 20th wagons of the train travelling from Crewe Basford Hall to Toton became derailed passing through Castle Donington.
The train was made up of 26 empty wagons hauled by a class 66 locomotive travelling at 47 mph when the derailment took place. It carried on for about a mile when the train split into two after the brake pipe parted causing the automatic brakes to apply. The train split between the 19th and 20th wagons and again, no one was hurt, but the line was closed for repairs to track and signalling equipment for nearly five days.
Written by Phil Marsh