Kirkby derailment investigated

Off the rails: the Merseyrail unit which ran through the buffers at Kirkby on the evening of 13 March.

Investigations are underway after a Merseyrail service struck the buffers at Kirkby station, the terminus of the network’s Northern line.

The service involved was the 18.35 Liverpool Centre to Kirkby on 13 March, with the incident occurring at around 18.53. The Rail Accident Investigation Branch reports that the train approached the terminus at around 42mph before an emergency brake application was made, slowing the train before it hit the buffers. The train then derailed and collided with a platform extension which links the Merseyrail platform to the adjoining Kirkby branch line platform, used by Northern services from Wigan Wallgate. The derailed train came a stop under a bridge and clear of the branch line, which was not occupied by a train at the time. Twelve people reported suffering minor injuries as a result of the accident, and significant damage was caused to the train and to railway infrastructure.

Both Merseyrail and Northern services were suspended while repairs took place; services resumed on the two routes on Monday 22 March. Network Rail initially removed the rear carriages of the Merseyrail train but said a specialist recovery locomotive was needed to remove the front carriage. Repairs were carried out more quickly than originally stated, beating a best-case scenario date for reopening on both routes.

RAIB says it will examine the performance of the train and the infrastructure, any factors that may have influenced the train driver’s actions, the training, supervision and management of Merseyrail drivers, the processes used to assess and control the risk of terminal platform overruns, and any relevant underlying factors.