Reading West train derailment caused by poor packing

Derailment of a freight train near Reading station was caused by poor packing of carriages, a report said.

The accident, in January 2012, involved a freight train carrying heavy car components. No-one was injured.

A carriage came off the tracks, as the train crossed Reading West Junction, because its cargo was insecure.

Rail Accident Investigation Branch inspectors have made five recommendations including proper checks on freight train cargo packing.

All carriages insecure

Twenty-five flat-bed carriages, each with car components packed into pallets, were being pulled by the train at the time of the derailment.

The 24th carriage came off the track, derailed, and then set itself right.

While nobody was hurt in the derailment on a Saturday lunchtime, the 43-page RAIB report states the incident could have happened elsewhere with severe consequences.

Following the incident, the train was examined in Southampton where all the carriages were found to have insecure loads.

A small fault on the track at Reading West Junction - called a "twist fault" - had also played a part. Had the train been properly loaded, it would not have caused a problem.

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