January 8, 2011 | Mark Paradies

Press Release from the UK Rail Accident Investigation Branch: Investigation into the derailment of a passenger train in Summit Tunnel, Calderdale, on 28 December 2010

The RAIB is carrying out an investigation into the derailment of train 1P02, the 00:38 hrs First TransPennine Express passenger service from Manchester Airport to York, in the early hours of 28 December 2010.

The accident occurred at about 01:19 hrs when the train, formed by a three car Class 185 Diesel Multiple Unit, was passing underneath a ventilation shaft about 740 m from the north portal of Summit tunnel.  The train was travelling at 70 mph (113 km/h) when it struck a large body of ice which, after impact, measured about 2m in height and 8m in length.  All wheels of the front bogie were derailed causing the front driving cab of the train to strike the tunnel wall.

Preliminary examination of the scene has revealed that the ice had fallen onto the track from the ventilation shaft (shaft 10) that rises vertically from an orifice in the crown of the tunnel to the moorland above.  There was evidence of an extensive build up of ice on the walls of this shaft. There was also significant ice debris underneath the adjacent shaft (shaft 11).

During the immediate aftermath of the derailment there were further falls of ice onto the roof of the derailed train causing alarm to the occupants.  By 04:40 hrs all 45 passengers and staff had been detrained and led out of the tunnel by the emergency services.  No injuries have been reported.  The train suffered damage to a cab windscreen, a coupler, bodywork and under-frame.

The RAIB is aware of a number of incidents involving ice in tunnels that have occurred during the severe weather in January, February and December of 2010, and the subsequent thaws.

The RAIB’s investigation will include a review of Network Rail’s arrangements for the identification of ice related hazards in tunnels and the steps taken to mitigate the consequent risk.

The RAIB’s investigation is independent of any investigations by the British Transport Police and the safety authority.

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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