HomeGovernanceAccident InvestigationRAIB concludes wagon derailed due to missing split pin in braking system

RAIB concludes wagon derailed due to missing split pin in braking system

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER SIGN UP

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has released a ‘Safety Digest’ following the derailment of a freight wagon at Carpenters Road North junction, near Stratford in East London, on 11 June 2019. Although it re-railed at Carpenters Road South junction, some 400 metres later, the derailed wagon damaged sleepers and signalling equipment, and broke a rail, before it did so.

The wagon derailed at Carpenters Road North junction
and re-railed at Carpenters Road South junction,
some 400 metres later.

The conclusion was that the wagon derailed due to errors made at its last maintenance, on 10 April 2019, when wheelsets were replaced. Evidence suggests that a split pin was not fitted and this, over time, allowed a securing pin in the brake system to work itself out. This led to “a substantial part” of the brake system falling onto the track and being run over by another wheel, derailing the wagon.

Safety loops, designed to catch detached equipment and prevent it from falling onto the track, had not done so in this case.

Wagon brake components (viewed from below a similar bogie) showing the split pin that was missing from the affected wagon.

A second securing pin, at the other end of the same wagon, was “almost out” with no sign of its split pin, suggesting that this had also not been fitted after maintenance.

The RAIB reported that the maintenance in April was carried out in a “sub-optimal open-air location with no pit or other arrangement to facilitate convenient access to the underside of vehicles”. It also highlighted RSSB research which indicated that environmental conditions, such as poor lighting and extremes of temperature or weather, can increase the likelihood of errors.

The wagon in question.

A similar failure on the same type of wagon had occurred in 2001. In 2011, a wagon derailed in Scotland, damaging two level crossings, in similar circumstances and the ensuing RAIB report concluded that the most probable cause was the failure of a split pin.

Then, in 2017, a wagon derailed in Wales because split pins were not replaced when brake blocks had been changed, again by technicians working in sub-optimal outdoor conditions.

Although a Safety Digest does not make recommendations, the RAIB highlights:

  1. the potential for a sub-optimal working environment to increase the likelihood of errors when undertaking maintenance activities;
  2. the importance of checking that securing devices, such as split pins, are correctly fitted following maintenance, and the serious consequences which can result from not doing so;
  3. the importance of the effective positioning of safety straps and loops intended to prevent large components falling onto the track if they become detached from vehicles.

It does seem that, in the modern world, working on safety-critical items on freight vehicles in the open air, where there are no facilities, is not a good way to be doing maintenance. Surely putting such activities into a workshop, with proper facilities and where work can be checked and recorded, isn’t too much to ask?

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Latest news

Rail engineers strike gold in sustainability school

Multidisciplinary engineering business Dyer & Butler has earned Gold level status from the Supply Chain Sustainability School (SCSS). This is the highest level of membership...

Tunnel operation takes flight with help from a helicopter

Essential work on a tunnel in the Peak District got some help from high places. Helicopters helped airlift construction materials into position as part of...

Island Line to re-open this autumn

South Western Railway has said that the Island Line is set to reopen on 1 November. The upgraded line’s reopening is subject to a final...
- Advertisement -

More news

Rail review author calls for rail fares reform

Keith Williams, co-author of the Williams-Shapps Plan For Rail white paper, has urged for fares reform – arguing there has never been a better...

Iconic arrows get a dash of green ahead of environmental summit

The famous National Rail double arrow has turned several shades of green ahead of the COP26 UN climate summit, which takes place in November. The...

Digital signalling for East Coast main line tested on Thameslink

A test of the digital in-cab signalling system ECTS level 2 (European Train Control System) has been carried out successfully using a Govia Thameslink...
NEWSLETTER SIGN UP