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Freight train driver ‘travelling at six times the speed limit’

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A FREIGHT train which derailed in Ayrshire causing extensive damage to the track and major disruption to train services for more than two weeks was travelling at nearly six times the speed limit when it crashed, a report has found. The freight train, loaded with sand and ballast, was travelling at 28mph when struck another stationary freight train during Network Rail engineering works at Logan, near New Cumnock.

The line was closed to passenger services until August 17. No one was hurt but the driver was left “badly shaken”.

The freight train should not have been going any faster than 5mph in a work site. A report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) found that the driver may have mistaken the speed limit for 40mph, and that due to a misunderstanding with the lead engineer he also believed the stationary freight train was a mile further up the track.

Investigators warned that there was a danger of routine speeding in work sites because of a “general lack of monitoring” which encourages freight train drivers to exceed the 5mph limit because they “are aware that there are unlikely to be any consequences of violating the rule”.

Investigators analysing on-board data recorders, or “black boxes”, from freight trains using the site also found that there had been a number of other speed breaches in the run-up to the crash.