Unauthorised train movement and derailment at Haymarket

Unauthorised train movement and subsequent derailment at Haymarket, Edinburgh, 14 January 2006

On Saturday 14 January 2006 a train loaded with ballast left a section of line that was under engineers’ possession without authority, and ran onto a line open to other traffic. It was diverted onto a line on which a passenger train was approaching from the opposite direction. The ballast train stopped in Haymarket station when the driver realised he was travelling on the wrong line, and the passenger train was stopped by the signaller.

The immediate cause of the incident was that the driver of the ballast train left the engineering possession without obtaining authority from the signaller. There were eight causal factors, and two contributory factors to the incident.

Subsequently, during tests on the brakes of the ballast train, one wagon became detailed. There were no injuries, and minor damage to a set of points. The immediate cause of the derailment was a fitter carrying out a brake test while the train was standing over points that had been damaged in the first incident. There was one causal factor.

RAIB has made three recommendations as a result of its investigation. These cover:

  • revisions to the rules governing the management of engineering possessions;
  • the competence of staff; and
  • the planning of engineering work on 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 Haymarket

Published 10 December 2014