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Last Updated: Monday, 26 February 2007, 16:58 GMT
Rail crash report: Key findings
Investigators inspecting the wrecked train
Investigators were on the scene within a few hours
An interim report into the derailment of a Virgin Pendolino train in Cumbria on 23 February, in which an 84-year-old woman died, has been published.

In the immediate aftermath the focus of the investigation is on the condition of points at the crossover known as Lambrigg, with early indications that these were the "immediate cause of the derailment".

Here are the key findings in the report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB).

  • A bar designed to keep the switch rails (which move to enable trains to divert or join between two routes) at the correct distance apart was missing, and bolts that secured another two bars were not in place.

    Two of the bars - known as stretcher bars - were fractured, with initial conclusions being that one fracture happened during the derailment, while the other "may have predated the derailment".

  • The marks on the crossover indicate that at the time of the derailment the train wheels were set on a course where the gauge was narrowing as the train moved forward. As the rigidly-mounted wheels could not follow the narrowing route, they climbed over the switch rails and derailed.

    All the remaining wheels derailed at the points. At least five sets of wheels crossed over to the southbound line during the derailment.

  • Investigators have not yet found evidence about when the points were last used. Network Rail reports there were no outstanding faults logged for the points at Lambrigg on its system, but RAIB has yet to examine the records.
  • There is no evidence to indicate the signalling systems contributed to the accident.
  • Although the On Train Data Recorder is yet to be downloaded, and interviews completed, there is no evidence the train was being driven in any way other than it should be.
  • The train suffered damage but the basic structural integrity of the passenger compartments was maintained.
  • There is no evidence that the train itself contributed to the derailment.

    Points comparison graphic




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