Cause of Wimbledon derailment revealed

February 14 2018   | Region: London

Cause of Wimbledon derailment revealed
Confusion between Network Rail and London Underground about who was responsible for maintaining a portion of track near Wimbledon led to a train derailment last year, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has found.
 
The incident in November saw the last carriage of a South Western Railway service on its way to London Waterloo derail shortly after leaving Wimbledon station. The carriage continued to be dragged for almost 200m, causing significant track damage.
 
Four passengers sustained minor injuries and 300 had to be evacuated from the service.
 
The derailment occurred on a short section of track that provides a link between the South Western main line, maintained by Network Rail, and the District line, maintained by London Underground (LU).
 
An investigation by the RAIB discovered that the track gauge was too wide on this 120m section of line, which had deteriorated over “a period of many years” from lack of maintenance.
 
Both LU and Network Rail failed to carry out inspections to the track due to confusion over the precise boundaries of maintenance responsibility, with patrols on both sides stopping short of a boundary agreed in 1994.
 
“The consequence of this oversight was that the track was not being inspected or maintained for many years and so degraded into an unsafe condition,” the RAIB concluded.
 
London Underground’s director of health, safety and environment, Jill Collis said: “The safety of our staff and customers is our top priority, and we have acted immediately on the RAIB’s findings.
 
“We have worked closely with Network Rail to make sure that this stretch of track is properly inspected in future, with clearly defined boundaries.” She added that all necessary steps will be taken to prevent another incident and explained that new track has now been installed to meet safety requirements.
 
A Network Rail spokesman said: “Safety on the railway is our number one priority, and we continue to run one of the safest railways in Europe. We are working closely with London Underground to ensure this stretch of track is properly inspected, with boundaries clearly set out.”
 
♦ Plans to make Britain’s railways more reliable, cost efficient and to improve their capacity were set out by Network Rail yesterday with the launch of a strategic business plan for the five years to 2024.
 
The publication marks a milestone in the ongoing process to determine funding requirements for the upcoming ‘Control Period 6’. It outlines planned expenditure of up to £47Bn over the five year period, with increased focus on maintenance and renewals, and sets ambitions to roll out digital train control and deliver a 15% reduction in the number of delayed services. 
 
(Photo: Nicholas Hair and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)

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