Train hit excavator bucket at 60mph
Further details of the collision between a passenger train and a piece of construction equipment in Northern Ireland earlier this month have now emerged.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch has revealed that the Belfast to Portadown train was travelling at about 60 mph when it struck an excavator bucket that had been left on the track by maintenance workers the night before.
The collision took place at 06:57 on 4th February 2016 near Knockmore Junction, near Lisburn station. The driver applied the train’s brakes and stopped about 330 metres after the point of impact.
As the train pushed the bucket along the track, the leading vehicle was lifted off the rails as it rode over the obstruction. The train stopped with all wheels back on the rails and the excavator bucket wedged under the fuel tank, about 10 metres from the front of the vehicle.
One passenger received medical attention after the accident. The leading vehicle was badly damaged, and had to be lifted by crane from the railway and transported by road back to the Northern Ireland Railways depot in Belfast. The track was repaired overnight and was open in time for train services the following day.
The 06:25 hrs service was the first to use that line following engineering work the night before. Routine maintenance work between Knockmore Junction and Moira (towards Portadown) required use of two road-rail excavator vehicles and a trailer. During this work, an excavator bucket was left on the track. Staff handing back the line for operational use were not aware of this.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) is continuing to investigate the sequence of events leading up to and during the collision, the engineering work that took place the previous evening, including its planning and the method of work, and any relevant underlying management issues.
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This article was published on 15 Feb 2016 (last updated on 15 Feb 2016).