After the driver and guard of a previous freight train had reported a strange movement as their train passed near the former station at Cropredy, a Leamington – Oxford Class 117 DMU comprising of vehicles W51361, W59513 and W51403 (2V90) was stopped by the signalman at Claydon Crossing and warned to proceed with caution. When then travelling at 25mph, the driver noticed that a 2ft length of rail was missing from the line ahead. The passenger train passed over the gap and became derailed although none of the passengers or crew were injured.
Subsequent examination found the track to be broken up into 23 pieces over a 12ft length. The derailment was caused by the multiple fracture (almost certainly caused by the previous train) of a length of rail containing a large number of internal ‘tache ovale’ flaws, some of which had been developing for a considerable time. It was recommended that when further similar failures were discovered, rails from the same cast should be located and subsequently tested and/or removed from the line.
DOE; b/c; 13pp; inc. three photographs of fractured rail, extracts from metallurgical examination report; f/o location diagram, general site plan, gradient diagram (C.F. Rose).