Report 08/2008: Runaway and collision at Armathwaite

Runaway and collision at Armathwaite, Cumbria, 28 January 2007.


On 28 January at about 14:15 hrs, a fault in a stabled engineering wagon’s brake system caused it to run away and collide with a road-rail vehicle (RRV), which was being used for track renewal work. The RRV operator was shaken but uninjured and there was little damage to either vehicle.

The immediate cause was the wagon being left unsecured on the slope, leading to its brake system leaking off, and the collision. A causal factor was the unauthorised coupling and uncoupling of vehicles by staff without proper training. A contributory factor was that a train driver did not apply the handbrakes on the wagon.

RAIB has made three recommendations as a result of this incident. These involve the procedures to couple and uncouple vehicles on track work sites. The recommendations have already been carried out by the engineering company involved.

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 Armathwaite

Published 10 December 2014