February 14, 2012 | Mark Paradies

Press Release from the UK Rail Accident Investigation Branch: Investigation into the derailment of an electric locomotive at Bletchley Junction, Bletchley, on 3 February 2012

 Cms Resources Bletchley-Jct Web ImageImage showing scene of derailment at Bletchley Junction

At 02:28 hrs on 3 February 2012, an electric locomotive on hire to Virgin Trains, and travelling from Crewe to Wembley, derailed at Bletchley Junction as it was crossing from the up slow line to up fast line, immediately south of Bletchley station.  Extensive track and overhead line equipment damage occurred as a result, affecting all four lines of the West Coast Main Line.

The RAIB’s preliminary examination found that the derailment occurred because the locomotive was driven significantly faster than the permitted speed over the junction.  This resulted in its wheel flanges climbing over the outer rail of a curve just before it would have reached the up fast line.

No evidence has been found that the condition of the track played a part in causing the derailment.

The investigation will identify the sequence of events that led to the locomotive exceeding the permitted speed for the route it was taking.  It will also include an examination of the factors that influenced the behaviour of the driver, the train operating company’s competence management system and the signalling arrangements at the junction.  It will also review the history of the junction signal and any risk assessments that were carried out.

The RAIB’s investigation is independent of any investigation by the safety authority (the Office of Railway 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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