Glasgow-Oban and Mallaig train diverted onto wrong track in points mixup

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A ScotRail train travelling from Glasgow to the towns of Oban and Mallaig in Scotland accidentally diverted onto the wrong track tonight. Some passengers initially thought the train had derailed when it swerved and braked hard at Ardlui.

Two sets of points at Ardlui railway station had been incorrectly set. The train hit them at 19:50 at sufficient speed to potentially damage them, although the train was able to reverse after they had been inspected.

The service was stranded at the station for some time. Although much of the train snaked away from the platform, the rearmost door was still aligned with the platform, allowing passengers including our correspondent to get off and see the situation for themselves. Several passengers photographed and videoed the surreal scene on mobile phones.

No other trains were struck in the incident, but the train to Glasgow in the opposite direction was also left waiting at the platform while the situation was resolved. The diverted train ultimately reversed off the points and away from the station, then realigned itself with the platform. It was able to continue with a 30 minute delay.

The incident adds to troubles on the West Highland Line this weekend. On Friday a train leaving Oban at midday departed without reservation slips marking seats booked by passengers, and that train was delayed for 40 minutes at Crianlarich, where the train joins with the Mallaig service to form a single train heading to Glasgow.

More serious incidents occurred in 2012, when a train heading from Oban to Glasgow struck a landslip caused by heavy rains but did not derail, and in 2010, when a train derailed, caught fire, and was left dangling over a nearby road. Trains travelling both to and from Glasgow struck trees on the line on the same day in 2011, one near Crianlarich and one near Ardlui.

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