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Runaway train crashes into a set of coaches

An unattended train was allowed to run away for almost two miles before crashing into a set of coaches, according to a report from Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB).

No one was injured in the accident but significant damage was sustained to the vehicles involved.

The crash happened on 12 May 2014 when the train, made up of a 145-tonne Class 37 diesel-electric locomotive coupled with a Mk 1 Post Office Sorter, ran away for around 1.8 miles before colliding with a set of unattended coaches.

The collision occurred about 450 metres south of Loughborough Central station, located on the Great Central Railway, a heritage line that had no services for public use being operated on the day.

The train that ran away had been left unattended on a main line opposite Quorn signal box. The railway at Quorn is on a gradient which descends towards Loughborough.

532 Capture

RAIB’s investigation found that, before the train was left unattended, the air brakes on the locomotive had been applied by the driver and a single wheel scotch had been positioned against one of the locomotive’s wheels by a member of staff. The handbrakes on the locomotive were not applied and the coach was not secured with either brakes or a wheel scotch.

The investigation concluded that the train ran away because “the wheel scotch was positioned against the locomotive’s wheel in a way which made it ineffective”.

“The RAIB determined that the handbrakes on the locomotive, had they been used, would have provided sufficient braking force to have held the train.

“The driver did not apply the locomotive’s handbrakes because he believed that they were not effective on this class of locomotive and that the wheel scotch would provide sufficient braking force, should the pressure in the air braking system leak away.

“The driver may also have been influenced by the prevailing practices on the railway which related to the use of handbrakes,” the report said.

It added: "The RAIB found that checks by the Great Central Railway's managers did not detect the full-extent of the unsafe and non-compliant practices.

"The investigation also found that some of the rules relating to the way in which rail vehicles were to be left unattended were inconsistent and potentially unclear."

RAIB has made a number of recommendations to Grand Central Railway in an effort to prevent further incidents.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


Andrew Sharp   26/05/2015 at 14:30

It happened over a year ago, so why the present tense? And the story is about the cause, not the fact. My point - the headline is unduly sensational. Appropriate for the Daily Mail but not for Rail Technology Magazine.

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