The train, comprising 22 empty JGA wagons hauled by a class 66 locomotive, derailed at a low speed on a curved section of the single line track which links sidings to the North Kent line at Angerstein Junction.
The leading wheelset of the 11th wagon had derailed as it was passing over a set of trap points about 50 metres before the junction with the North Kent Line; these points had been correctly set to allow the passage of the train. The derailment occurred after the front of the train had run onto the North Kent Line and when the train was braking on the approach to a stop signal. The driver was not immediately aware of the derailment and restarted his train from this signal when it cleared. The remaining wheels of the 11th wagon, and all wheels on the 10th and 12th wagons, were then pulled off the track as they continued over Angerstein Junction, onto the Down North Kent Line and over part of a cross-over between the Up and Down North Kent lines. The train continued along the Down line until it was stopped, having travelled about 160 metres after the initial derailment, by an automatic brake application caused when a brake pipe broke between two of the derailed wagons.
Although routed onto the Down North Kent line, the derailed wagons stopped in a position where they were foul of the adjacent Up line. There was no train on this part of the Up line when the derailment occurred.
The derailment caused damage to wagons, cabling and signal equipment, and track. Train services on the North Kent line suffered disruption until 5 June.
The accident occurred at the place where a similar train derailed on 2 April 2014, and the findings of the RAIB investigation into this earlier derailment have been published in our Report 11/2015. Our investigation of the 3 June 2015 derailment will therefore concentrate on identifying any safety learning additional to that gained from the earlier investigation.
Our investigation is independent of any investigation by the railway industry, the police or by the industry’s regulator, the Office of Rail and Road. We will publish our findings, including any recommendations to improve safety, at the conclusion of our investigation; these will be available on our website.
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