Network Rail cautioned after train hits collapsed wall

Train hits collapsed wall - View of train tracks with debris on them and a bridge in the background.
(Image: RAIB)

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has made recommendations to Network Rail after a train struck brick rubble from a collapsed wing wall.

The incident happened on the Great Western Railway service from London Paddington to Hereford at Yarnton near Hanborough, Oxfordshire, on 10 February 2023.

The train was travelling at around 58mph (93km/h) when the collision occurred. It sustained damage but did not derail and there were no injuries to the train crew or passengers.

The wing wall adjacent to the railway was known to be in poor condition and collapsed when it was no longer able to carry the load imposed by the embankment it was supporting.

Action had not been taken to address risks associated with the wing wall’s deteriorating condition because effective control measures had not been put in place.

RAIB’s recommendations

RAIB made four recommendations to Network Rail regarding improvements in the specification of repair work and the quality of information available for making safety-critical decisions relating to the stability of structural defects.

The recommendations address the need to improve the process of evaluating defects and asset knowledge of wing walls.

RAIB also identified four learning points for infrastructure managers and examination contractors regarding: the ability to monitor structural movement; risk mitigation measures when remedial work is deferred; the importance of clearing vegetation to allow structural examinations to take place; and the value of including comparable photographs in examination reports.

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  1. Interesting to note that the previously double track line had been ‘singled’ to reduce maintenance costs!

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