Investigation into Flying Scotsman collision at Aviemore Station
Britain’s official safety watchdog, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), has launched a full scale investigation into an incident last month involving the world-renowned steam locomotive, Flying Scotsman. The century-old locomotive collided with a set of stationary passenger coaches at Aviemore Station in the Highlands of Scotland on the evening of 29 September. While the collision occurred at low speed, it resulted in two individuals being taken to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness for treatment of minor injuries. They were released shortly afterwards. Other passengers on the train were assessed at the scene but did not require medical attention.
The collision transpired during a coupling operation, as the Flying Scotsman was being attached to the luxury excursion train the Royal Scotsman, operated by excursion providers Belmond. The carriages were stationary on the tracks of the heritage Strathspey Railway line at the time. As a precautionary measure, the Flying Scotsman was been taken out of service pending a safety inspection. The locomotive, which is touring as part of centenary celebrations, was returned to service without further attention.
Historic locomotive has a shunt
“At around 18:05 hrs on 29 September 2023, the steam locomotive ‘Flying Scotsman’ collided with a set of stationary passenger coaches at Aviemore station”, said an RAIB statement, issued after the incident on the tracks in the Highlands of Scotland. “The collision occurred at approximately 7 miles per hour (11 kilometres per hour). The part of Aviemore station where the collision happened is operated by the Strathspey Railway, which is a heritage railway.”
The collision resulted in injuries being caused to a number of passengers and staff, said the RAIB in their initial report. They confirmed that one passenger and one member of staff was taken to hospital on the evening. “No rail vehicles derailed as a result of the accident, although some damage was caused to the vehicles involved”, said the RAIB.
Record breaking locomotive … broken
Independently of the RAIB investigation, inquiries to ascertain the full circumstances of the crash are being conducted by Police Scotland. Preliminary findings indicated that the incident was a result of a shunting mishap during coupling. Belmond said all their passengers on board at the time of the incident were safe. The company expressed gratitude towards the crew and emergency services for their prompt response.
Flying Scotsman, an illustrious 97-tonne locomotive, underwent extensive restoration and was unveiled last year in anticipation of centenary celebrations. Built in Doncaster in 1923, the iconic steam locomotive is now under the ownership of the National Railway Museum in York. Flying Scotsman achieved a historic milestone as the first steam locomotive in the UK to officially reach speeds of one hundred miles per hour (160 kilometres per hour). It also made history as the inaugural service to run non-stop from London to Edinburgh.