Freight train derailment, Willesden High Level Junction

The derailment marks on the approach to Willesden High Level Junction (after track restoration)

The derailment marks on the approach to Willesden High Level Junction (after track restoration)

At around 21:30 hrs on Monday 6 May 2019, an empty wagon of a northbound freight train derailed as it approached Willesden High Level Junction in north London. The wagon re-railed as it passed over points at the junction and the train continued without the driver noticing anything untoward. Network Rail became aware of the derailment at 13:56 hrs the following day when technicians went to investigate a signalling fault. They reported finding severed signalling cables and track damage.

The train was the 19:45 hrs service from Hoo Junction Up Yard, in Kent, and was carrying spoil from an engineering worksite in south-east London. It comprised a class 66 diesel-electric locomotive and 21 two-axle wagons. The wagon that derailed was the 20th from the front. It was of the MPA type.

Our investigation will identify the sequence of events that led to the derailment and how the wagon derailed. It will also consider:

  • the condition of the wagon
  • the maintenance of the wagon
  • the condition of the track and its geometry
  • the maintenance of the track
  • the management of the local infrastructure
  • any relevant underlying management factors.

Our investigation is independent of any investigation by the railway industry, the Office of Rail and Road.

We will publish our findings, including any recommendations to improve safety, at the conclusion of our investigation. This report will be available on our website.

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