The main railway line reopened through Eastleigh on Monday following the derailment of a freight train at the station and six days of emergency repair works.
Initial findings by Network Rail have found the cause of the incident to be an infrastructure fault, when a small number of fastenings gave way. This led to track spread – meaning that the two rails were no longer the correct distance apart.
This particular type of fastening is only used in a limited number of locations. Since the incident, Network Rail has conducted enhanced precautionary inspections of all similar fastenings across the Wessex route, with no additional areas of concern identified through this work.
During the incident teams worked around the clock to reopen the railway. Hydraulic jacks and cranes were used to lift the wagons back on to the track before they were removed from site.
The derailed train caused extensive damage to several sets of points, which allow trains to cross from one track to another. These had to be removed completely and a new set will be built off site to a bespoke design, this is expected to be delivered over coming weeks.
In the meantime, over 160 metres of temporary track has been laid to allow the reopening of the railway, however, without the critical points in place, not all trains can call at Eastleigh station. Passengers using Eastleigh station are advised to check www.southwesternrailway.com before travelling.
John Halsall, Network Rail Southern Region Managing Director said: “The railway through Eastleigh has been reopened. The derailment caused a phenomenal amount of damage to the rail infrastructure; we are working as quickly as we can to restore the full service and apologise to those whose journeys are still affected. A new set of points is being constructed from scratch as the old set were damaged beyond repair, this will take time and will be completed in the coming weeks.
“We now understand the cause of the derailment. A small number of fastenings holding the track to the rail gave way causing track spread and the two rails were pushed apart. Passenger safety is our top priority; we have conducted detailed inspections of all other locations across the route where similar fastenings are found and no additional areas of concern have been identified through this work.”
The official Rail Industry Accident Board (RAIB) investigation is ongoing and is fully supported by Network Rail.