News story

Freight train derailment at Eastleigh

Investigation into a freight train derailment at Eastleigh, Hampshire, 28 January 2020.

Photograph showing the derailed wagons

The derailed wagons

At around 11:31 hrs on 28 January 2020, a freight train derailed on a set of points just south of Eastleigh station. The train was travelling at about 12 mph (19 km/h) at the time, and was running from the down slow line, through a crossover which led to the down fast line. The locomotive became partly derailed and then re-railed itself, and some of the wheels on four of the following five wagons also became derailed, causing significant damage to the track in the process. The driver stopped the train before the remaining 25 wagons reached the damaged track. Nobody was injured, but the track and signalling equipment was severely damaged and there was extensive disruption to services on the south western main line for the following six days.

The RAIB’s preliminary examination found that a series of rail fastenings, intended to maintain the correct distance between the rails, had broken. Initial evidence suggests that some of these were already broken before the derailment. Consequently, as the freight train passed over the points, the rails moved apart and the train wheels dropped into the space between the rails.

Our investigation will identify the sequence of events which led to the incident. It will also consider:

  • the design and installation of the rail fastenings
  • the industry’s response to previous problems identified with the fastenings during their service life
  • any underlying factors

Our investigation is independent of any investigation by the railway industry 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. This report will be available on our website.

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Published 10 February 2020