Press Release from the UK Rail Accident Investigation Branch: Locomotive failure near Winchfield, Hampshire
Image of 34067 “Tangmere” locomotive
The RAIB is investigating the failure of a steam locomotive hauling a passenger train, which occurred between Fleet and Winchfield stations on Saturday 23 November 2013.
At about 18:50 hrs, train 1Z94, the 17:48 hrs charter service from London Waterloo to Weymouth, was approaching Winchfield, where it was due to stop for the locomotive to take on water. While the train was travelling at about 40 mph, the right-hand connecting rod of the locomotive, former British Railways (Southern Region) 4-6-2 34067 “Tangmere”, became detached at the leading end (referred to as the small end), and dropped down. The end of the detached rod struck the conductor rail, and there was some electrical flashing. This was noticed by the locomotive crew, and the driver stopped the train immediately, about one mile outside Winchfield station. After running along the conductor rail for some distance, the connecting rod dropped onto the sleeper ends just before the locomotive came to rest.
The locomotive’s support crew dismantled the connecting rod, and the train was then assisted by the diesel locomotive that was attached to its rear as far as Basingstoke, where the passengers transferred to another train to continue their journey.
The RAIB’s preliminary examination found that the small end assembly, in which the connecting rod is secured in the crosshead by a gudgeon pin and associated nut and cotter, had come apart. The gudgeon pin was found intact, lodged on the locomotive, but the nut and cotter have not yet been recovered.
The RAIB’s investigation will seek to identify the sequence of events leading to the connecting rod becoming detached. It will include the design, manufacture, installation and maintenance of the components making up the crosshead and piston assembly, and relevant aspects of the operation and maintenance of the locomotive.
The RAIB would be pleased to hear from anyone who has a photograph or video recording showing detail of the right-hand side of Tangmere, taken at Waterloo or subsequently on the journey during the evening of Saturday 23 November.
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.