At around 15.25 on 3 May 2008, the Ffestiniog Railway ‘Victorian’ train of heritage coaches was derailed as it ran through Gysgfa, between Rhiw Goch and Tan-y-Bwlch on the Ffestiniog Railway. Two of the five coaches which made up the train were derailed. The train was carrying thirty four passengers and three crew. The guard was slightly injured in the derailment due to the motion of the derailed luggage van, though no passengers were injured.
The RAIB investigation identified that the immediate cause of the accident was that track components had failed and allowed the wheels of the train to fall between the rails. An inspection of the track had not spotted the failed components and a track inspection that should have been carried out on foot had instead been done from a train.
Other causes were that the Ffestiniog Railway Company was not following its own track inspection procedure, the track component which failed was prone to overload if sleepers had deteriorated, which in this case they had, the Company had not experienced this type of failure before, and its procedures for diagnosing track faults were inadequate.
As a consequence of this accident, RAIB has made five recommendations aimed at the Ffestiniog Railway Company, relating to its track inspection and maintenance procedures and to change control processes for its standing instructions.
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.