Report 14/2014: Road vehicle incursion onto the railway at Aspatria

Road vehicle incursion onto the railway at Aspatria, Cumbria, 26 October 2013.


At 10:01 hrs on 26 October 2013, an unattended commercial vehicle on the B5299 Brayton Road, Aspatria, ran away down the road.

The vehicle crossed the main A596 Lawson Street, broke through a wooden fence and rolled down the side of a cutting onto the railway. Although a passenger train from Carlisle to Lancaster was approaching Aspatria at the same time, prompt action by those concerned resulted in this train being stopped about 2.4 km (1.5 miles) from the incident site. There was therefore no collision with the commercial vehicle on the track, and none of the passengers or crew on the train were actually put at risk.

The management of road vehicle incursions onto the railway is described in guidance published by the Department for Transport (DfT). RAIB’s investigation found that the guidance does not explain how to assess the risk of a vehicle that has lost control on a side road (eg a runaway on a side road with a downhill gradient towards the railway). Also, the guidance does not describe how this risk should be combined with the risk of road vehicle incursion from the corresponding main road to give an overall risk ranking score.

RAIB has made two recommendations; the first to the DfT to review and amend the guidance on road vehicle incursions; and the second to railway infrastructure managers, with highway authorities, to provide additional mitigation against vehicle incursions at sites where there is a significant risk of road vehicles from side roads, including of vehicles running downhill onto the railway.

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 Aspatria

Updates to this page

Published 10 December 2014