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Monday, 17 June, 2002, 17:13 GMT 18:13 UK
Disruption as freight train derails
Timber on line
Timber was strewn across the railway line
Rail passengers have been warned that they could face a week of disruption following a freight train derailment in the south of Scotland.

A section of the West Coast Main Line was blocked when freight train, hauling 14 wagons of timber, left the track at Quintinshill, near Gretna in Dumfries and Galloway, at about 0930BST.

The driver was not injured in the derailment and nobody else was on board the train at the time.

Early indications from an investigation into the accident have shown that there was an axle bearing failure on the first wagon.


People will still be able to get through but will need to add a couple of hours to their journey times

Virgin Trains spokesman

Railtrack spokesman Keith Lumley said that services on the line, which runs from London to Glasgow, may not return to normal until next Monday.

Mr Lumley said: "My understanding is that there is a fair bit of damage to the track as a result of this derailment, and that is going to take us until at least the weekend to put right."

"We are hopeful that train services could be back to normal by Monday morning."

He said that passenger train services were being operated as far north as Carlisle and to Lockerbie on the southbound journey.

A replacement bus service is operating between Lockerbie and Carlisle.

Bearing failure

Inspectors from Railtrack, English, Welsh and Scottish Railways (EWS) and British Transport Police (BTP) have been carrying out a detailed examination of the scene.

Operator EWS said it had identified the likely cause of the derailment and would carry out checks on similar timber wagons as a precautionary measure.

A joint statement from EWS and Railtrack said: "Early indications show that there was an axle bearing failure on the leading axle of the first wagon.

"EWS will now concentrate on establishing the reason why this bearing failed and, as a precaution, will be initiating a check of all other timber wagons of this type with similar bearings.

The derailment happened near a road bridge which crosses the railway between Gretna and Chapleknowe.

Rail investigators
The cause of the crash is being investigated

The train appeared to have been travelling at 75mph - the maximum speed limit for freight wagons - at the time of the derailment.

It was travelling from Mossend, Lanarkshire, to the Arpley freight depot in Warrington, Cheshire.

An EWS spokesman said the engine itself was not derailed and was currently standing on the track, blocking the line.

He said: "There will be a recovery operation to remove the train, but that will not be feasible until the investigations have been completed."

A spokesman for Virgin Trains, which operates passenger trains on the line, said: "People will still be able to get through but will need to add a couple of hours to their journey times.

"If passengers want to travel on another date they can do so and get a refund."

Passengers travelling from Glasgow to London have been recommended to use the GNER service on the east coast for which their Virgin tickets will be valid.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Scotland's Willie Johnston reports
"Indications are of a failure on the leading axle of the first wagon"
Railtrack's Keith Lumley
"My understanding is that there is a fair bit of damage to the track"
See also:

03 Jun 02 | Scotland
01 Feb 02 | Scotland
05 Mar 01 | Scotland
27 Nov 00 | Scotland
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