Probe into derailed West Highland train begins

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Investigations into a train carriage derailment caused by a landslip at Loch Eilt in January have begun.

On Monday January 22, a passenger train travelling between Arisaig and Glenfinnan struck a landslip, causing the leading vehicle to derail.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) is examining the accident, which saw the five passengers escape injury.

The incident occurred following a period of low temperatures and heavy snow and the investigation will examine how the railway is protected from landslips during such weather.

The RAIB stated: ‘The accident happened in darkness following a period when significant snow melt occurred at the same time as moderately heavy rainfall. The landslip originated above the railway boundary. A proportion of the several hundred tonnes of material that slipped was deposited on the railway. This destroyed a section of a fence installed recently to protect the railway from individual loose boulders rolling down the adjacent slope.’

‘The investigation will seek to identify the sequence of events which led to the accident and will consider such things as the arrangements for protecting the railway from landslip debris at the site, Network Rail’s procedures for managing the effects of adverse weather and any other
underlying management factors.

‘The investigation is independent of any investigation by the railway industry or by the industry’s regulator, the Office of Rail and Road.

‘The RAIB will publish their findings, including any recommendations to improve safety, at the conclusion of our investigation. This report will be available on our website.’

More information on page three.