HomeRail NewsRAIB publishes interim Carmont report

RAIB publishes interim Carmont report

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The publication of RAIB’s interim report on the fatal Carmont train crash on 12th August follows reports published by Network Rail’s earthworks and weather task forces in February.

This interim report details the events leading up to the derailment and shows that its immediate cause was the train colliding with stones washed out onto the track from a gravel-filled crest drain onto which the local topography had directed large amounts of surface water onto the steeply sloping drain after 51 mm of rain had fallen over a three-hour period. This was 75% of the area’s average monthly rainfall.

The failed crest drain was installed in 2012 as part of work to stabilise a steep cutting. The RAIB investigation found that gravel was missing from the drain to a depth sufficient to expose the buried drainpipe over a distance of eight metres upslope of a catchpit where the drain was under a steep gorse-covered slope. RAIB found that this part of the drain was not listed on Network Rail’s drain maintenance database and was unable to find any evidence of it being inspected between its construction and the accident.

Gravel washed onto the track from crest-drain.

Thus, the RAIB report reinforces the conclusion of the earthworks task force report that maintenance of drainage systems is of paramount importance.

RAIB’s ongoing investigation into the Carmont accident will consider the design and construction of the failed drain. It will also consider the response to severe weather events, decision making at times of widespread disruption, crashworthiness in high energy accidents and the mitigation of derailments at high-risk locations.

Exposed pipe in base of trench from which gravel has been washed onto the track.
David Shirres BSc CEng MIMechE DEM
David Shirres BSc CEng MIMechE DEMhttp://therailengineer.com

Rolling stock, depots, Scottish and Russian railways

David Shirres joined British Rail in 1968 as a scholarship student and graduated in Mechanical Engineering from Sussex University. He has also been awarded a Diploma in Engineering Management by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

His roles in British Rail included Maintenance Assistant at Slade Green, Depot Engineer at Haymarket, Scottish DM&EE Training Engineer and ScotRail Safety Systems Manager.

In 1975, he took a three-year break as a volunteer to manage an irrigation project in Bangladesh.

He retired from Network Rail in 2009 after a 37-year railway career. At that time, he was working on the Airdrie to Bathgate project in a role that included the management of utilities and consents. Prior to that, his roles in the privatised railway included various quality, safety and environmental management posts.

David was appointed Editor of Rail Engineer in January 2017 and, since 2010, has written many articles for the magazine on a wide variety of topics including events in Scotland, rail innovation and Russian Railways. In 2013, the latter gave him an award for being its international journalist of the year.

He is also an active member of the IMechE’s Railway Division, having been Chair and Secretary of its Scottish Centre.


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