The derailment of a freight train, at slow speed, in the area of Eastleigh station on 28 January 2020 has caused immense disruption to rail traffic, both rail and freight.
Six 52-tonne freight wagons came off the track as they passed over a complex arrangement of switches and crossings (S&C). Both the running rails and the third-rail electrification were severely damaged.
The wagons had to be lifted clear using large hydraulic jacks before they could be removed. The S&C was so badly damaged, and would take so long to repair, that the decision was taken to remove it all and replace it with plain track so as to get the railway reopened. The new S&C units could then be manufactured offsite and replaced later.
This interim solution meant that some points would not be in place to enable all services to call at Eastleigh station until the full layout was back in place. These services would include:
- Any train headed towards Southampton from the Basingstoke direction;
- Trains from Romsey to Salisbury via Chandlers Ford;
- Services from Waterloo to Poole;
- Some additional peak-time services.
Engineers are therefore working to install 160 metres of plain track and third-rail electrification, and to reinstate, reconfigure and test signalling equipment.
The railway should reopen on Monday 3 February 2020. An investigation into the cause of the derailment is underway.