When the 20:10hrs English, Welsh and Scottish Railway (EWS) freight train from Angerstein Wharf to London St Pancras Churchyard Sidings started from a signal at the south end of Camden Road Tunnel, the coupling broke between the second and third wagons from the back of the train. Fifty minutes later the brakes on the two separated wagons ceased to hold them against the gradient, and they ran slowly towards St Pancras for about 200 - 300 metres, then reversing before coming to rest about 140 metres from where they had started.
Causal and contributory factors included that the driver and signaller were not following the rule book requirements concerning trains where couplings had broken or had a missing tail lamp, the condition of the brakes fitted to the runaway wagons, and the breakage of the coupling because part of the material it was made from was outside specification.
RAIB has made six recommendations directed at EWS, and one at Network Rail. These relate to drivers’ actions following a train division, the maintenance of wagons, reducing the number of EWS train divisions occurring and improving the way that signallers’ actions in response to accidents and incidents are practiced and assessed.
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.