Work was carried out to tracks of a busy commuter line just two days before a freight train overturned in south-east London, an investigation has found.
Massive disruptions took place on the line and thousands of workers were left stranded as Network Rail engineers tried to remove upturned carriages that were derailed in Lewisham on Tuesday, January 24.
Two loaded carriages of the 1km-long freight train overturned, spilling their loads onto the tracks at around 5.35am on the morning of the major incident.
As the locomotive was transporting building sand to Neasden, north-west London, and not carrying any passengers, there were, fortunately, no injuries.
However, the major accident resulted in serious damage to the railway infrastructure.
Preliminary report findings
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has noted in its preliminary report that replacement track had been installed at the junction on January 14 and 15.
Weekend follow-up work was undertaken on January 21 and 22, just two days before the incident.
A spokeswoman for Network Rail, which is responsible for maintaining Britain’s railway infrastructure, said: “The section of railway where the Lewisham derailment took place was installed two weeks before the incident.
“The follow-up work that took place in the vicinity of the incident was not to replace any track, but just to bed in the new. We are assisting the Rail Accident Investigation Branch with the investigation into the cause.”
Determining a sequence of events
The independent investigation is seeking to identify the sequence of events that led to the derailing.
As well as examining the design and installation of the new track, the RAIB will also look at the condition of the wagons and how they were loaded, as well as “underlying management factors” that may have impacted upon the derailment.
On conclusion of the investigation, the RAIB says it will publish a report and recommendations to improve safety.
Source: BBC News