The RAIB is carrying out a preliminary examination into a collision at Kitchen Hill, 3 miles north of Penrith station on the West Coast Main Line.

At 13:25 hrs on Sunday 12 January 2014, train 6L42 (comprised of 10 ballast wagons and a locomotive at each end) was travelling in a work site when it collided with the back of a stationary ballast train that was standing at the board marking the end of the work site. Train 6L42 was travelling at around 19 mph at the time of the impact. As a consequence of the collision, the buffers of the first wagon on train 6L42 overrode those on the leading locomotive; and the leading bogie of the wagon and the trailing bogie of the locomotive became derailed.

When the driver of train 6L42 saw that a collision was imminent he applied the emergency brake and jumped from his cab, sustaining serious injuries. The derailment caused damage to the track which required local repairs, and some limited damage to the rolling stock involved.  

The RAIB’s preliminary examination will examine the rules applicable to the management of engineering train movements, and the regulation of their speed, in work sites. It will also examine the way in which key information was communicated between the parties involved.

The RAIB will consider previous similar accidents; in particular the collision between two engineering trains at Leigh-on-Sea in April 2008 (report 24/2009), and a stoneblower and ballast regulator near Arley in August 2012 (report 12/2013).

The RAIB’s preliminary examination is independent of any investigation undertaken by the Office of Rail Regulation.

At the conclusion of the preliminary examination the RAIB will publish its findings on the RAIB website.