Runaway cement wagon derailed before it reaches the main line

The cement wagon was derailed by trap points just short of the main line.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) is investigating how a tank wagon, loaded with cement powder, ran away from a siding located within the Hanson cement works in Clitheroe at about 08:20 on 9 March 2020.

The runaway wagon broke through the gates at the exit from the cement works and ran through an open level crossing on a public road, causing two cars to stop.  A short distance later, the wagon passed over an open crossing on a private road.

It then continued to run away on the descent towards Horrocksford junction, where the line to the cement works connects to the main railway line from Blackburn to Hellifield.

Fortunately, the wagon derailed on the trap points situated just before Horrocksford junction, which are intended to prevent just such unauthorised movements from reaching the main line. It stopped clear of the main line, having run away for a total distance of about 0.75 miles (1.2km). No trains were nearby when the derailment occurred.

The RAIB’s investigation will seek to determine the sequence of events which led to the accident. It will also consider any factors relevant to the performance and design of the wagon’s braking system, how the risk of runaway wagons from within the cement works was controlled and any relevant underlying factors.

The investigation’s report, including any recommendations to improve safety, will be published in due course.

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