The final report on the three derailments of 1969 caused by Continuous Welded Rail (CWR) distortions.
This document was published on 31st July 1974 by Department of the Environment.
It was written by Major C. F. Rose.
This item is linked to the Accident at Lichfield on 10th June 1969
The original document format was Stapled Book, and comprised 28 pages.
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"It was clear at the time that a full investigation of the three train accidents and of all the circumstances that had led to the sharp and sudden increase in the number of CWR distortions reported during 1969 would take some considerable time. It was equally clear that the succession of accidents, two of which had involved the derailment at high speed of passenger expresses, had led to a questioning by the public of the basic safety of CWR track and that some form of reassurance, if indeed this could be given, should be given quickly and preferably before the onset of hot weather in 1970. My preliminary investigations, and a consideration of the urgent measures being taken by the Railways Board to improve the situation, led me to believe that the high level of distortions experienced in 1969, with the attendant risk of accident, would not be repeated and I gave this as my conclusion in an interim report which I submitted on 16th February 1970 and which was published on 2nd April 1970. I am glad to report that this reassurance proved well founded: the number of CWR distortions fell from a total of 48 in 1969 to only 9 during 1970 and the numbers have remained small each year since then. No further accidents resulted from the buckling of CWR until 19th July 1972, when a passenger train became derailed on distorted CWR near Cumbernauld in the Scottish Region. This accident, which I describe in paragraphs 33 to 41, demonstrated once again the vital importance of maintaining CWR track to the required standard: in this case standards had slipped and with them the safety margins against buckling.
In my interim report I indicated that the programme of investigation and research being undertaken by the Chief Civil Engineer's Department, British Railways Board, and the Railway Technical Centre, Derby, into the behaviour of CWR track and associated problems would take a considerable time, perhaps as much as two years. In the event some of the work has taken even longer and whilst there is now sufficient information available to enable me to conclude my Inquiry some of the research work is still continuing. The results of this are not however likely to affect my general conclusions although they may lead in time to further changes in the design of CWR track and in the methods of maintaining it.
In this final report I bring up to date the analysis of CWR distortions and the account of the measures taken by the Railways Board given in the interim report, review the train accidents at Lichfield, Somerton, Sandy, and the later accident at Cumbernauld, describe the results of research work into the behaviour of CWR track, and discuss the reasons for the sudden increase in CWR distortions that occurred in 1969. I then give my conclusions and recommendations."
31st July 1974
Final Report on the Derailments that occurred on Continuous Welded Rail Track at Lichfield (London Midland Region), Somerton (Western Region), and San...
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