Ely train crash report released

AN IN-depth report into a freight train crash near Ely has been released more than 18 months after the accident.

Eleven wagons were left hanging over the Hawk Bridge on the River Ouse when the EWS freight train derailed between Ely Dock Junction and Soham on June 22, 2007.

The railway line between Ely and Bury St Edmunds and the affected stretch of the river were closed to traffic for six months following the derailment.

Part of the 37-carriage train was moved but bad weather left the area near the bridge boggy, hampering a clean-up operation.

In its report, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch of the Department for Transport identified that the right-hand leading wheel flange running over the rail head was the immediate cause of the incident.

This caused the suspension to lock-up, leaving only the tip of the wheel flange in contact with the rail.

"As the wagon rounded the curve, only very small guiding forces acted on the flange, which were insufficient to keep the vehicle on the track," said the report.

Although the RAIB, which aims to prevent future incidents by investigating accidents, has not blamed any one company it said that Network Rail had not carried out intended repairs to the track a week prior to the accident which was attributed as a casual factor.

The RAIB made 16 safety recommendations to Network Rail and the other companies responsible for the wagons and railway.

These included Network Rail reviewing hours and resources available for the maintenance of the track between Ely Dock Junction and Soham.