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Rail investigation launched into Highland landslide derailment


The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (Raib) has said that it is to investigate the sequence of events that led to a train being derailed by a landslide on a Highland route on 22 January.

The incident occurred at 6.47am when a passenger train travelling between Mallaig and Glasgow Queen Street struck a landslip between Lochailort and Glefinnan.

The leading vehicle of the two-carriage train derailed and tilted to the left but none of the five passengers and two crew were injured.

A statement from Raib said: “The landslip was on a remote section of track between Lochailort and Glenfinnan where the line runs across sloping ground above the shore of Loch Eilt. The accident happened in darkness following a period when significant snow melt occurred at the same time as moderately heavy rainfall.

“The landslip originated above the railway boundary. A proportion of the several hundred tonnes of material that slipped was deposited on the railway. This destroyed a section of a fence installed recently to protect the railway from individual loose boulders rolling down the adjacent slope.”

The line was closed for a week following the incident.

Raib has said that its investigation will consider the arrangements for protecting the railway from landslip debris at this location; Network Rail’s procedures for managing the combined effect of rain and melting snow; and any underlying management factors.


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