At about 21:45 hrs on 1 November 2014 a pair of rail carrying trolleys, known as ironmen, carrying a 16 metre length of rail, ran out of control for approximately 5.4 miles (8.7 km) along the Garnant Branch line in Carmarthenshire. Two track workers rode on the ironmen as far as Raven level crossing (a distance of about one mile) in order to shout a warning to colleagues who were working there; the warning provided just enough time for their colleagues to get clear of the line. The two track workers received minor injuries when they jumped off the ironmen just before the crossing.
The track workers were unable to control the speed of the ironmen on the descending gradient towards Raven level crossing. The incident occurred due to a combination of the planning of the work, the control of the work, the speed at which the ironmen were travelling and the performance of the ironmen’s brakes.
RAIB has made six recommendations. One recommendation to Network Rail, in conjunction with RSSB and the M&E Engineers Networking Group, to improve the design and testing of the brakes of manually propelled plant. It has made three recommendations to Network Rail relating to the planning of work using manually propelled plant, arrangements for compliance with the requirements of the Rule Book, and measures to mitigate the risk of runaway of manually propelled plant. It has made one recommendation to Permaquip, relating to the design and maintenance of the ironman braking system. It has also made one recommendation to Torrent Trackside relating to the maintenance of braking systems fitted to manually propelled plant.
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.