Train striking debris at Yarnton

Rail Accident Investigation Branch

February 27
10:00 2023

At around 18:40 hrs on Friday 10 February 2023, the 17:34 hrs Great Western Railway service from London Paddington to Hereford struck some brick rubble on the single line at Yarnton, between Oxford and Charlbury. This had fallen onto the track from a failed wingwall that was adjacent to the line, and which formed part of a bridge carrying a local road over the railway.

The train was travelling at around 55 mph (89 km/h) when the collision occurred. The train sustained damage but did not derail.There were no injuries reported to the traincrew or passengers on the service.

Although Network Rail initially reopened the line on Sunday 12 February, it was closed again after a few hours. It remained closed for a further nine days while an adjacent embankment was stabilised.

Our investigation will seek to identify the sequence of events which led to this accident. It will also consider:

  • the history of this structure including modifications to the affected wingwall, and any repair work undertaken
  • the findings of inspections undertaken of the structure and the responses to them
  • a report of cracking in the road approaching the structure on the adjacent embankment which was made before the failure occurred
  • any underlying management factors.

Our investigation is independent of any investigation by the railway industry or by the industrys regulator, 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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