Network Rail reveal fastening fault that caused train derailment at Eastleigh and commuter woe across the south

PASSENGERS have faced a week of cancellations and delays after a freight train derailed and bosses have now revealed why.

Thursday, 6th February 2020, 6:54 pm
Updated Friday, 7th February 2020, 8:34 pm
Eastleigh station

The main railway line through Eastleigh was closed for six days of emergency repair works after the derailment which caused disruption for commuters.

The route was reopened on Monday after incident teams worked around the clock to reopen the railway with more than 160 metres of temporary track laid down.

Initial findings by Network Rail have found the cause of the incident to be an infrastructure fault.

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A small number of fastenings gave way, leading to track spread and meant that the two rails were no longer the correct distance apart.

This particular type of fastening is only used in a limited number of locations. Since the incident, Network Rail has conducted enhanced precautionary inspections of all similar fastenings across the Wessex route, with no additional areas of concern identified through this work.

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The derailed train caused extensive damage to several sets of points, which allow trains to cross from one track to another. A new set will be built off site to a bespoke design, this is expected to be delivered over coming weeks.

However, without the critical points in place, not all trains can call at Eastleigh station. Passengers using Eastleigh station are advised to check before travelling.

John Halsall, Network Rail southern region managing director said: ‘The derailment caused a phenomenal amount of damage to the rail infrastructure; we are working as quickly as we can to restore the full service and apologise to those whose journeys are still affected. A new set of points is being constructed from scratch as the old set were damaged beyond repair, this will take time and will be completed in the coming weeks.

‘Passenger safety is our top priority; we have conducted detailed inspections of all other locations across the route where similar fastenings are found and no additional areas of concern have been identified through this work.’

The official Rail Industry Accident Board (RAIB) investigation is ongoing and is fully supported by Network Rail.