The Railway Magazine
Faulty fastenings blamed for Eastleigh derailment
FRACTURED rail fastenings and ineffective asset management led to the derailment of an intermodal train at Eastleigh on January 28 last year, according to a Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) report. The main line from Basingstoke to Southampton and Weymouth was severely disrupted for several days after the derailment of the Freightliner-operated train on a crossover at Eastleigh West Junction. RAIB’s investigation discovered that fastenings holding the rails to the concrete sleepers were fractured below the surface, causing one of the rails to move outwards under the weight of the locomotive, derailing it and four loaded wagons. RAIB discovered that the local track maintenance team had not identified any relevant faults prior to the derailment, as the failures were not apparent during visual inspections. Despite previous faults of a similar nature elsewhere, Network Rail had not developed an effective inspection regime to detect such failures, the report discloses. The report also observes that the maintenance delivery unit at Eastleigh was not effectively managing the maintenance of its track assets. Recommendations include the development of a strategy to address the risk of failure of this type of track fastening system and how Network Rail measures dynamic track gauge on lines that are not monitored by a track measurement train.