The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has launched an investigation into a recent incident in which a freight train struck a farm trainer in Cambridgeshire.
The accident took place at 09:01 on 19 August 2021. A freight train, consisting of a Class 66 locomotive and 36 container wagons, struck a loaded farm trailer at Kisby user worked level crossing, situated near to March. The train driver applied the train’s emergency brake around six seconds before the collision occurred, but the train was still travelling at around 58mph (93km/h) when it struck the trailer.
As a result of the collision, the trailer parted from the tractor that was pulling it and was then dragged along by the train. The leading axle of the locomotive and an unladen wagon in the middle of the train derailed and the train ran derailed for around 780 metres before it came to a stop.
Both the train and tractor drivers suffered shock following the accident and the train driver was also treated for minor injuries. The locomotive suffered significant structural damage during the accident and level crossing and track equipment were also extensively damaged. Train services were disrupted on both lines for four days while the train was recovered and repairs were made to the track and signalling infrastructure.
Kisby user worked crossing is fitted with a telephone and with user-operated powered (POGO) gates. These gates are not interlocked with the railway’s signalling system. Users are directed by signs at the crossing to use the telephones to obtain permission from the signaller before opening the crossing gates and crossing the railway. RAIB has been unable to find any evidence that a request to use the crossing was made by the driver of the tractor involved.
The RAIB investigation will seek to identify the sequence of events which led to the accident, including the actions of the tractor driver and other users of the crossing. It will examine how the crossing was being managed and how the risks associated with its use were being assessed and mitigated by Network Rail.