Report 01/2024: Train striking debris at Yarnton

Rail Accident Investigation Branch

February 1
10:05 2024



Just after 18:35 hrs on Friday 10 February 2023, the driver of the 17:34 hrs Great Western Railway service from London Paddington to Hereford reported striking an object on the single line at Yarnton, between Oxford and Hanborough. The train had struck brick rubble from a collapsed wing wall, part of a bridge carrying a local road over the railway. The train was travelling at around 58 mph (93 km/h) when the collision occurred and sustained damage but did not derail. There were no injuries to the traincrew or passengers on the service.

The wing wall, adjacent to the railway, was known to be in poor condition and collapsed when it was no longer able to carry the load imposed by the embankment it was supporting. Action had not been taken to address risks associated with the wing walls deteriorating condition because effective control measures had not been put in place.


RAIB has made four recommendations to Network Rail regarding improvements in the specification of repair work and the quality of information available for making safety- critical decisions relating to the stability of structural defects. They also address the need to improve the process of evaluating defects and improve asset knowledge of wing walls. RAIB has also identified four learning points for infrastructure managers and examination contractors regarding the ability to monitor structural movement, risk mitigation measures when remedial work is deferred, the importance of clearing vegetation to allow structural examinations to take place, and the value of including comparable photographs in examination reports.

Published 1 February 2024

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