The report into the derailment of a freight train at Warrington, and the subsequent fire.
This document was published on 28th September 1983 by Department of Transport.
It was written by Lieut. Col. A. G. Townsend-Rose.
This item is linked to the Accident at Warrington on 3rd March 1983
The original document format was Stapled Book, and comprised 15 pages.
This document was kindly sourced from Stuart Johnson and is in our Accident reports collection. It was added to the Archive on 12th October 2006.
This document is Crown Copyright, and is subject to the terms governing the reproduction of crown copyright material. Depending on the status and age of the original document, you may need an OPSI click-use license if you wish to reproduce this material, and other restrictions may apply. Please see this explanation for further details.
"The train. consisting of 14 tank wagons laden with gas oil, headed hy a 141 tonne unladen van and hauled by a Class 47 diesel locomotive, was running at between 35 and 40 mile/h on the Down Helsby line when the rear axle of the van became derailed towards the cess side on newly laid track with badly dipped joints. It ran thus for a further 1140 yards (IOW m) until it struck the points and crossings at Acton Grange Junction where the train was routed to cross over onto the Down West Coast Main line. The van became detached from the locomotive and led most of the tank wagons into derailment on the Helsby lines through and approaching the junction. The third wagon, a 100 tonne tank wagon rolled down the bank on the Up side of the lines. The locomotive was stopped some 50 yards ahead on the connection leading to the Down Main line. only slightly damaged.
One of the tank wagons in the middle of the train struck and demolished a special overhead electrification structure connected with the Acton Grange Track Sectioning Cabin which stands at the foot of the embankment beside the Up Helsby line. A major fire broke out engulfing all of the wagons in the middle of the train and burning oil ran down the embankment on the Up side of the line.
A local resident called the Fire Brigade and four appliances arrived on site at 07.23, when a further six appliances were called because of the major nature of the fire. At first the firemen attacked the fire from the train's rear to prevent those wagons not on fire from becoming involved hut they were driven back by a serious explosion which they originally thought to be a BLEVE*. At about 09.00 a further five appliances were called; by 09.30 the fire was substantially controlled, and it was finally extinguished at 11.15. Clouds of dense black smoke blanketed the area throughout this time. Track clearance and repair operations were finally completed on the Main lines by 13.24 on Saturday, 5th March, but the Helsby lines were not cleared until 18.56 on 6th March. Electric traction through the junction was not reinstated until 08.15 on 5th March on the Up and Down Main lines, and 07.37 on 18th April on the Up and Down Helsby lines north of the junction."
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