“Lack of knowledge” led to Liverpool Street derailment

Lack of knowledge by maintenance staff led to the derailment of a London to Norwich service on January 23 2013, according to the Rail Accident Investigation Branch report that was published on December 11.

The incident happened outside London Liverpool Street station. The 1000 Greater Anglia service derailed on a tight curve 260 metres from Liverpool Street, with 17 wheelsets derailing. All the wheelsets were guided back onto the correct rail within a distance of 40 metres.

The driver stopped and examined his train, but found no defect. It was only on closer inspection at Norwich that damage to the train was noticed. Damage to track was also discovered, and it was then realised that there had been a derailment. No one was injured, but services were disrupted until 0545 the following day to enable repairs to be carried out.

The RAIB says the train derailed because the track fixings had deteriorated over time. The track layout “should have triggered consideration of mitigation measures to deal with the associated enhanced derailment risk,” but no such consideration had been given “because the maintenance management staff did not have the knowledge necessary to appreciate the need for, and to undertake, this activity”.

The report notes six learning points, including “effective communication between train and incident controllers when dealing with events which could be associated with urgent safety issues”. The three recommendations to Network Rail cover inspection regimes and the assessment of competencies.

  • For more information, see RAIL 764, published on December 24.

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