The train comprised a class 66 locomotive and 30 bogied, tank wagons, loaded with diesel fuel. It was travelling on the up line towards Nottingham at a speed of around 53 mph (85 km/h) when the driver noted an irregularity in the track as he went over the crossing. Shortly afterwards, the trailing wheelsets of the 26th and 28th wagons derailed and ran for approximately 850 metres before the train’s brakes brought it to a stop, as air leaked from a punctured air reservoir tank. None of the other wheelsets were derailed. Both derailed wagons remained upright and there was no leakage of the diesel fuel but the track and some wagons suffered damage. The driver was not injured.
Examination of the line revealed that the derailment had been caused by a severe track dip, linked to the presence of a large void in the ground running across both the up and down lines. The void beneath the up line extended for a distance of around 2.5 metres along the track and had a maximum depth of around 0.7 metres between the running rails. It extended deeper below the adjoining road surface. The cause of the void is not yet known. The line had been re-opened in the early morning of 26 August following the recent blockade of Nottingham station due to major engineering work. Several freight and passenger trains had run over the crossing since the line had re-opened.
The ground under the crossing had been the site of construction work during early July 2013, to lay high voltage electrical cables in a 53 metre long, 1 metre diameter tunnel, running along the road and under the crossing.
Our investigation will seek to identify the sequence of events that led to the creation of the void and will include a review of the construction work that took place in the area of the level crossing, and the steps taken to maintain safety of the line when it was re-opened to rail traffic.
Our investigation is independent of any investigation by the Office of Rail Regulation.
We will publish our findings, including any recommendations to improve safety, at the conclusion of our investigation. This report will be available on our website.
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