APT derailment
18 th April 1980

On Friday 18 April 1980 the APT P-Train 370001+370005, had an axle come apart while travelling at 125 mph.

The train was conveying a party of VIP`s on a run from Glasgow to Carnforth along with David Boocock, the Chief APT Design Engineer.

David Boocock, realised there was a problem when he heard ballast being blasted against the floor of the coach. He pulled the communication cord and stopped the train, but not before it had traversed a reverse curve at maximum cant deficiency with the axle in two halves.The train came to a stand, near Yealand, (SD516763) just to the north of Carnforth. There were no injuries, and damage to the track and train were minimal.

The nose of the broken down APT at Yealand. 18th April 1980. Photograph courtesy of John Lancaster.

The nose of the broken down APT at Yealand. 18th April 1980.
Photograph courtesy of John Lancaster.

One of the trailer car axles had been mis-assembled, and the ring of bolts that held the two halves of the hydrokinetic braked axle had come apart, derailing itself.
Temporary repairs were undertaken, and then the train was moved to the Carnforth "Up" loop, where it remained for most of the 19th April, whilst further repairs were made.The train was still at Carnforth at 18:20.

All three P-Trains were temporarily withdrawn while every axle was checked.

Thanks to:-

John Lancaster, Ron Herbert, David H,

Kit Spackman, Andy, Paul Leadley (APT-E Conservation & Support Group)

Rob Latham, APT-P Support Team, The Railway Age, Vernon Way, Crewe, CW1 2DB

For their help in researching this information.

On April 1980 I travelled on an advertised day excursion from Loughborough to the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway.  The trip also included a stopover at Carnforth for a visit to the steam centre. I stayed on Carnforth station to photograph main line traffic.  As we arrived from the south I noticed a derailed APT in the loop south of the station.  As we passed I couldn’t get a decent photograph as a coach from the rescue train obscured the bulk of the mishap.  Whilst it was probably sensible for the coach to be positioned there, I couldn’t help but feel that it was strategically placed to prevent viewing of the mishap from passing trains!  BR certainly wouldn’t have relished a picture of Britain’s new wonder train gracing the front of the daily papers in such a predicament!
I took the attached from Carnforth station and the APT was a little distant, but as you can see, the coaches at the rear are clearly off the rails – quite whether as a result of the derailment, or by the rerailing gangs struggling with the articulated coaches I don’t know.  At the time I recall BR quoted the derailment as being rather minor, suggesting heavy ballasting had caused one of the bogies to derail in a rather trivial fashion.  This picture tends to suggest it may have been a little more serious!

My notes on the back of the picture state that the approaching loco in the foreground was 40083.  To the right of this is the stock of our train waiting to take us forwards later in the day to Ravenglass (out of interest my notes also state that we used three different loco’s at Carnforth that day – arriving initially behind 47196, going to Ravenglass and back behind 40117 and finally departing for home with 85020 – we swapped engines a fourth and final time at Crewe with 46002 taking us on to Loughborough)
Craig Simmons
Home Top Accidents
http://www.carnforth-station.co.uk webmaster(at)carnforth-station.co.uk

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