Runaway of a road-rail vehicle at Glen Garry, 5 December 2007.

At 1:30am on 5 December 2007, a road-rail vehicle (RRV) hauling a loaded trailer was unable to stop as it approached a work site where rock face repairs were taking place. Several site staff narrowly avoided injury by jumping clear. Although a low-speed collision occurred between the RRV and another RRV at the site, staff were not injured.

The RAIB investigation identified a number of immediate causal factors:

  • the RRV’s trailer was not fitted with brakes adequate to stop it on the gradient 
  • there were poor weather conditions
  • it was likely there were wood chippings on the track. 

There were also a number of contributory factors, including:

  • Network Rail did not advise their contractor of the gradient at the site 
  • the machine operator was not aware of the risk of rail contamination from other work going on at the site
  • the machine was travelling too fast
  • the road tyres of the vehicle were not inflated to the correct pressure
  • the operator’s training did not cover how to deal with a braking emergency.

As a consequence of this incident, RAIB has made seven recommendations targeted at Network Rail and the companies who own or operate road-rail vehicles. These include:

  • providing briefing information for road-rail vehicle operators 
  • putting in place competence systems and management for road-rail vehicle operators 
  • the provision of a risk assessment for RRVs 
  • the provision of service brakes on road-rail vehicle trailers


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 Glen Garry

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