Derailment at Hatherley

Freight train derailment at Hatherley, near Cheltenham Spa, 18 October 2005.

On Tuesday 18 October 2005 an empty locomotive-hauled freight train was travelling between Bescot and Margam when the wheels of one of its wagons became derailed near Hatherley, just south of Cheltenham Spa station.

The immediate cause of the derailment was the interaction between false flanges which developed on one wagon and a set of points, as a result of the handbrake not being released before departure from Bescot Yard. There were several contributing factors to the incident.

RAIB has made four recommendations as a result of its investigation. They cover the:

  • training and management of staff engaged in train preparation duties (EWS)
  • review of the effectiveness of roll-by examinations (Freight Operators)
  • maintenance of handbrakes on freight wagons (Freight Operators)
  • investigation of the optimum strategy for reducing the risk from vehicles with handbrakes left on (Freight Operators and Network Rail)


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.

RAIB recommendation response for Hatherley

Published 10 December 2014