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Unsafe switch rail to blame for Edinburgh train derailment

 

 
 
Unsafe switch rail to blame for Edinburgh train derailment 

An unsafe set of points caused a derailment near Waverley Station in Edinburgh last year. Picture: TSPL
By CHRIS MARSHALL
Published on Thursday 30 August 2012 16:36


A TRAIN derailment at Waverley station in Edinburgh that led to widespread disruption for commuters was caused by an unsafe set of points that had been missed during an inspection, according to accident investigators.


Services were affected for two days after the train, with only the driver and conductor on board, came off the tracks near the station on 27 July last year.


A report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said the most likely cause of the derailment was a faulty switch rail which did not properly steer the train along the correct route.


The investigation found the switch rail had been identified three days before the incident as likely to cause a derailment, but while a repair was carried out, a later inspection did not find the switch to be unsafe and it remained in service.


• Read the full RAIB reporthttp://www.raib.gov.uk/publications/investigation_reports/reports_2012/report182012.cfm


Investigators said the 5.10pm service from Cowdenbeath had been passing through Princes Street Gardens at about 19mph when the front wheels of the last carriage derailed.


The train travelled for a further 110 metres before being brought to a halt by the driver. According to the report, the conductor felt the coach tilt to the left and had to brace himself. However, both the conductor and the driver were uninjured.


The report stated: “Three days prior to the accident the left-hand switch rail had been identified as having the potential to cause derailment.


“Although it was worn beyond repair by grinding in accordance with the company standard, a grinding repair was attempted. The subsequent inspection process did not find the switch to be unsafe and it remained in service.”


The RAIB report said the incident had caused the track to be pulled out of alignment, as well as damaging track fixings and signalling cables.

Services only returned to normal two days after the derailment, causing widespread disruption for travellers.


A prior scoping of the repair, which might have identified the unsuitability of repairing the switch rail by grinding, had not been carried out.


The report added: “The local practice of maintaining points to safety limits and the lack of guidance on when a switch rail is unrepairable by grinding were underlying factors in this accident.”


The report made a series recommendations, calling on Network Rail to review standards to provide assurances over potential derailment mechanisms, as well as increasing the use of automatic lubrication on switches.


It also called on the company to investigate why factors identified as causing earlier derailments had played a part in the Waverley incident.


The report highlighted two derailments at Waterloo in 2006 which followed unplanned grinding repairs for defects that had not previously been identified by routine inspections.


A Network Rail spokesman said: “Safety is our number one priority and we will review the RAIB report closely. We have already made changes in how we manage the maintenance of points and reviewed staff training as a result of this incident.”

 from: http://www.scotsman.com/news/transport/unsafe-switch-rail-to-blame-for-edinburgh-train-derailment-1-2498008

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