4th January 2010

Freight train derails at Carrbridge

Rail services between Inverness and Aviemore were disrupted by the late afternoon derailment of a freight train at Carrbridge. It was snowing, and the temperature was below zero, which made the tracks icy.

This, combined with the train’s reduced braking ability, was enough to send the front carriage off the tracks and into the deep surrounding snow. It ended up among the trees and, in the process, pulled the six carriages behind it off the tracks, too. They ended up in the gardens of nearby houses.

Train refuses to slow down

The official report into the crash detailed a terrifying 81 seconds during which the driver struggled to slow his train. “The driver increased the automatic brake application slightly but noticed that the train did not appear to be slowing down. Because of this, 21 seconds after making the initial application, the driver increased the application of the automatic brake to close to its full service application setting. After another 17 seconds the driver still could not feel any effect from the brakes and so, with the train’s speed now at 69 mph (111 km/h), the driver also applied the locomotive’s straight air brake.”

When it seemed clear that the train wasn’t going to stop in time, the driver used its horn to sound a ‘train in distress’ signal.

The train had two people onboard at the time – a driver and an engineer – both of whom received minor injuries and one of whom was treated at the scene. It was made up of ‘James the Engine’ and ten freight wagons and come off the tracks in the 1-in-60 gradient down from Slochd Summit. The line remained closed for seven days.



Other events that occured in January

FREE Scotland history newsletter

Don't miss our weekly update on Scotland's fascinating history. We promise never to sell your data to anyone else, and there's a super-easy unsubscribe link on the bottom of each email so you can leave whenever you want.