At about 02:40 hrs on 15 October 2013, a freight train travelling from Birmingham to Felixstowe derailed close to the site of the former Primrose Hill station in north-west London. There were no injuries as a consequence of the accident, although there was damage to the train and to railway infrastructure. The North London route, which carries London Overground passenger services as well as freight trains, was subsequently closed for six days.
One wagon in the train ran derailed until the train reached a junction near Camden Road station. At this point, an empty container toppled off the wagon and damaged overhead line electrification equipment. The derailment was caused by a combination of the track geometry and condition, as well as the longitudinal and lateral asymmetric loading of the wagon which reduced its resistance to derailment on twisted track.
RAIB has made three recommendations. These cover:
- the provision by Network Rail of guidance to managers responsible for track maintenance on the actions to be taken if measurements by track recording vehicles do not take place as planned;
- consideration of the factors that contribute to the derailment of unevenly loaded container wagons, and the associated risk, with cross-industry evaluation of the case for additional measures to mitigate the risk; and
- the clarification by RSSB of the requirements for the design and acceptance of freight wagons.
As a learning point from this accident, RAIB has also identified that Network Rail should give particular attention to the possible consequences of a high turnover of responsible staff during reorganisations.
Response to recommendations:
- RAIB will periodically update the status of recommendations as reported to us by the relevant safety authority or public body
- RAIB may add comment, particularly if we have concerns regarding these responses.