February 13, 2012 | Mark Paradies

Press Release from the UK Rail Accident Investigation Branch: Investigation into the derailment of a container train at Reading West Junction, 28 January 2012

The RAIB is carrying out an investigation into a derailment that occurred on the main line, west of Reading station, on Saturday 28 January 2012.

At about 13:45 hrs, the failure of a track circuit at Reading West Junction, and a subsequent track inspection, caused Network Rail to suspect that freight train 4O02, the 11:11 hrs Lawley Street (Birmingham) to Southampton Maritime container service, had derailed and then re-railed when crossing from the up relief to the up west curve line.  At 14:26 hrs, the train was brought to a stand at Worting Junction, near Basingstoke, where the driver inspected his train and reported wheel damage on wagon 24 of the 25-wagon train.  This was an FEA-type container flat carrying a single 40’ freight container, which was located over the rear bogie.

 Cms Resources Reading-West-Junction1Wagon involved in the derailment

After a safety inspection, the train was allowed to continue its journey to Southampton Maritime at a reduced speed.

Examination of the track confirmed that the train had run derailed for a short distance, before re-railing at a set of trailing points. It had been travelling at around 15 mph as it negotiated a crossover. The derailment caused minor track and infrastructure damage.

Witness marks on the train and track indicated that both right-hand wheels on the leading bogie of wagon 24 climbed the rail on a short section of plain line on the crossover between the up relief and up main lines.

The RAIB has examined the load inside the container that was on the wagon that had derailed and found that it was displaced to the left-hand side thereby affecting the weight distribution on the wagon. Site measurements indicated there was also significant track twist close to the point of derailment.

 Cms Resources Reading-West-Junction2Derailment site at Reading West Junction

The RAIB’s investigation will examine the sequence of events leading up to the incident and the cause of the derailment. This will include assessing the significance of the track twist and the container loading. If found to be significant, the investigation will review the controls in place to manage the safe packing of containers that are carried on the railway.

The RAIB’s investigation is independent of any investigations by the safety authority (the Office of Rail Regulation).

The RAIB will publish a report, including any recommendations to improve safety, at the conclusion of its investigation. This report will be available on the RAIB website.

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