Rail freight

27.03.15

High winds ‘blew freight container off train’ in Cumbria

High winds blew a 30-foot container off a freight train travelling at 75mph on the down mainline in the vicinity of Scout Green, Cumbria, earlier this month, investigators have said.

 The empty container, blown off an FEA(B) wagon that formed part of train 4S83 (the 23:54 hrs service from Basford Hall to Coatbridge), passed over the adjacent up main line and came to rest at the bottom of the up side embankment after knocking over trees and a boundary wall. 

Although the incident did not result in injuries, the potential for more serious “consequences is evident,” stated the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), which is now carrying out an independent inquiry into the event that occurred on 7 March. 

The RAIB added that preliminary investigations suggested the inward hinging spigots fitted to the FEA(B) wagon involved in this incident did not comply with the dimensional tolerances specified in standard UIC 571-4. 

It was added that the freight train operator was aware of this and was aiming to control the risk of containers being blown off. 

For instance, if winds of over 55mph were forecast, any empty containers should have been pinned down or the maximum train speed reduced to 60mph. 

The forecast wind-speeds for Cumbria at the time were less than 55mph, which meant there was no procedural requirement to limit the train’s speed or pin down empty containers. However, local measurements at Shap weather-station, suggest that the actual local wind-speed was around 62mph . 

Since the incident, the freight operator has reduced the 55mph wind-speed threshold to 41mph and issued a National Incident Report (NIR) to inform the rest of the railway industry. RAIB has also issued Urgent Safety Advice. 

RAIB’s investigation will now consider the sequence of events and factors that led to the incident, including actions taken in response to similar incidents at Hardendale and Cheddington in 2008.

(Image: c. Network Rail) 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

Baz Hall   28/03/2015 at 10:02

This is not the first time a container has come off a train due to high winds. Surely the twist locks should have kept the container in place. And this would have never happened. Would be very interested in knowing who operated the train and whose FEA wagon it was. Strangely not mentioned in the article. Also who manufactured the wagon and safety accepted it into service on NR?. More interestingly and again not mentioned, have all FEA wagons been grounded pending a check on the "inward hinging spigots" to see if they meet the required dimensional tolerances? Reducing speeds are all well and good, but if the wagon infrastructure is wrong then this is just unacceptable. It would be like operating a container ship with a small and known hole in hull. In strong winds or high seas, the captain would just take it a bit easier.

Tony Williams   31/03/2015 at 21:28

What makes this incident more serious, is the fact it appears that the incident happened on the seventh of march. And a friend of mine told me that a colleague of his, who spotted it from the road, reported it something like ten days later in the middle of march, and I believe nobody at that point even knew it was missing. Going by the earliest date on the media report 23rd march. This seems to bare that out ? If this is incorrect, what date was it found ?

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Rail industry launches new interactive accessibly map for UK rail stations

17/04/2019Rail industry launches new interactive accessibly map for UK rail stations

A new interactive map which lets passengers find out about accessibility at stations has been launched by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) to help b... more >
Helium balloons causing ‘increasing number of train delays’ at cost of £1m

17/04/2019Helium balloons causing ‘increasing number of train delays’ at cost of £1m

Helium-filled balloons are causing hundreds of train delays at a cost of £1m in taxpayer money every year, Network Rail has revealed. ... more >
Dawlish sea wall gets council planning approval with construction to begin in May

17/04/2019Dawlish sea wall gets council planning approval with construction to begin in May

Plans for an £80m sea wall to protect the Dawlish coastal rail line from extreme weather have been by approved by Teignbridge District Coun... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

West Midlands Rail Executive’s Malcolm Holmes on the 30 year Rail Investment Strategy and working with Midlands Connect

08/04/2019West Midlands Rail Executive’s Malcolm Holmes on the 30 year Rail Investment Strategy and working with Midlands Connect

Malcolm Holmes, Chief Executive of the West Midlands Rail Executive, joins us to discuss the 30-year Rail Investment Strategy, and how he and his team are working closely with Midlands Connect to deliver on uplifting capacity and bettering services for people across the region ahead of TCR Midlands 2019. What do your roles as Ex... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Changing the London skyline with HS2

26/03/2019Changing the London skyline with HS2

Lisa Hogben, HS2 programme delivery manager for area south enabling works, explains how the arrival of HS2’s first tower cranes shows chang... more >
Picking up the pace with high-speed track handovers

26/03/2019Picking up the pace with high-speed track handovers

In 2018 Steve Featherstone, programme director of track at Network Rail, set his team a challenge to secure 100 high-speed track handovers in a y... more >
26-30 Railcard: taking advantage of opportunities

19/03/201926-30 Railcard: taking advantage of opportunities

After a nine-month national trial, the rail industry launched its seventh National Railcard for 26-30-year-olds on 2 January 2019. Rail Delivery ... more >
Caledonian Sleeper: a railway icon re-imagined

19/03/2019Caledonian Sleeper: a railway icon re-imagined

The world-renowned Caledonian Sleeper, due to begin operations at the end of spring 2019, completed its first Scotland to London journey earlier ... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >