Report 20/2006: Runaway trolley between Larkhall and Barncluith Tunnel

Runaway manually-propelled trolley between Larkhall and Barncluith Tunnel, 2 November 2005.


On Wednesday 02 November a manually propelled trolley being used within an engineering possession on the partially built Larkhall branch in Scotland ran away from the trolley operator. It travelled over three miles down hill and ran onto a railway line open to traffic. The trolley came to a stand within Barncluith tunnel where a possible collision with a passenger train was prevented by the trolley activating a track circuit within the tunnel.

The immediate causes of the runaway were the use of a heavily loaded trolley on a steeper gradient than permitted, the brake lining material, and the contamination of the brake linings by a mixture of mud, fuel and oil.

RAIB has made sixteen recommendations as a result of its investigation. They cover the specification, design and testing of manually propelled trolleys and their braking systems, safety checks prior to the use of trolleys, the Rule Book coverage for the use of manually propelled trolleys; competency in the use of manually propelled trolleys, company safety management; the dissemination of safety information, and product acceptance processes.

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 Larkhall

Published 10 December 2014