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Friday, 19 December 2014

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Probe after runaway van lands on rail tracks in Cumbria

An investigation has been launched into how a runaway van got onto the railway between Carlisle and Workington.

Railway line van photo
The van on the tracks at Aspatria

Related: Railway shut after truck crashes on to track (wth video)

The Rail Accident Investigation Board is investigating how the van got onto tracks at Aspatria on October 26.

The accident happened after roofer Brian Cass spotted his pick-up rolling down a hill, before seeing it go off the edge of an embankment and onto the Carlisle to Whitehaven line.

He blames a dodgy handbrake for the accident. No trains were coming at the time.

The tradesman tripped and fell as he tried to get to his vehicle, suffering a small cut to his head. “It was a runaway,” he told the News & Star.

Mr Cass, whose business Brian R Cass is based at Bothel, was parked on Brayton Road, which leads downhill to Queen Street, when the drama unfolded.

When he saw the wagon starting to roll away, he started to chase it. But it raced down the hill, smashed through a fence on Queen Street and down the embankment.

The RAIB said that the 9.39am train from Carlisle to Lancaster was alerted by an emergency call and was able to stop.

They said the investigation would include a review of how the risk of vehicles getting onto the line had been assessed by both the county council and Network Rail and what subsequent actions, if any, were needed.

“The investigation will also review the current national policies and processes for the management of road vehicle incursion at locations of this type,” a spokesman said.

The RAIB will publish its findings, including any recommendations to improve safety.

At the time, eyewitnesses told how they saw Mr Cass running after the truck.

“I have never seen anything like this before,” one man said. “There have been accidents here before though.”

The crash triggered an emergency rescue and recovery operation that saw train services on the coastal line halted for more than four hours while the scene was cleared.

About 30 people watched as the recovery operation got underway.

Heavy winching gear was used to lift the smashed-up truck from the tracks.

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