Press Release from the UK Rail Accident Investigation Branch: Derailment of freight train at Stoke Lane level crossing, near Nottingham, 27 August 2013
The RAIB is investigating the derailment of a freight train that took place at around 04:30 hrs on 27 August 2013, at Stoke Lane level crossing, which is located approximately 3.5 miles east north-east of Nottingham, on the Nottingham to Newark line.
The train comprised a class 66 locomotive and 30 bogied, tank wagons, loaded with diesel fuel. It was travelling on the up line towards Nottingham at a speed of around 53 mph (85 km/h) when the driver noted an irregularity in the track as he went over the crossing. Shortly afterwards, the trailing wheelsets of the 26th and 28th wagons derailed and ran for approximately 850 metres before the train’s brakes brought it to a stop, as air leaked from a punctured air reservoir tank. None of the other wheelsets were derailed. Both derailed wagons remained upright and there was no leakage of the diesel fuel but the track and some wagons suffered damage. The driver was not injured.
Examination of the line revealed that the derailment had been caused by a severe track dip, linked to the presence of a large void in the ground running across both the up and down lines. The void beneath the up line extended for a distance of around 2.5 metres along the track and had a maximum depth of around 0.7 metres between the running rails. It extended deeper below the adjoining road surface. The cause of the void is not yet known. The line had been re-opened in the early morning of 26 August following the recent blockade of Nottingham station due to major engineering work. Several freight and passenger trains had run over the crossing since the line had re-opened.
The ground under the crossing had been the site of construction work during early July 2013, to lay high voltage electrical cables in a 53 metre long, 1 metre diameter tunnel, running along the road and under the crossing.
The RAIB’s investigation will seek to identify the sequence of events that led to the creation of the void and will include a review of the construction work that took place in the area of the level crossing, and the steps taken to maintain safety of the line when it was reopened to rail traffic.
The RAIB’s investigation is independent of any investigation by the Office of Rail Regulation.
The RAIB will publish its findings, including any recommendations to improve safety, at the conclusion of its investigation. This report will be available on the RAIB website.