Perhaps the most spectacular trial at the Old Dalby Test Track was the Central Electricity Generating Board Nuclear Flask crash test, which took place on 17th July 1984. The collision was a public demonstration staged to dispel fears that a nuclear waste flask could not survive the impact of a rail crash. Needless to say the flask survived intact unlike the locomotive.

Two redundant Class 46 locomotives were selected (in case one broke down). These were 46009 and 46023, which was not used and eventually cut up. The unfortunate 46009 was coupled to four Mk1 coaches and set off from the northern end of the line with the controls set and no-one in the cab. This was achieved by means of an extra brake isolating cock situated on the sole bar of the loco next to the footsteps. Once everything was set in the cab, the power handle was opened and the driver baled out and closed the brake cock from the ground - and away she went!

The site chosen was just to the south of Old Dalby control centre, where the main test line was cut and slewed across into the old headshunt area of the former Army base exchange sidings. Extensive grandstands were erected for the invited guests and members of the press and the area was equipped with security fencing and patrolled by guards. This fencing survives to this day in some areas around Old Dalby.

Look here for Rail Magazine's Nigel Harris's account of the day.

The locomotive and coaches were later cut up on site by Vic Berry of Leicester.

Click on the picture for a bigger image

On the way to oblivion

Loco 46009 is pictured here heading south through the curves just south of Plumtree on the way to its destiny.

 M Jarrett

There is another photo of the train passing Upper Broughton here

Ready for action A shot of the flask in position across the track

Brian Marshall

Wow! Class 46 loco No: 46009 striking the nuclear flask wagon positioned in its path at an estimated speed of 90 mile/h. The yellow flask can be seen on the right still attached to its wagon, one bogie of which is near the centre of the loco. In the background can be seen the army depot buildings formerly rail-served.

CEGB Official

The collision Another view at the moment of impact

Brian Marshall

The aftermath The loco and flask disappear in a cloud of smoke

Brian Marshall

Surveying the scene A view of the crash site looking North from the hill above Grimston Tunnel. The Goods Shed can be seen in the left centre

M Jarrett

Crash site The view from the fields on the west side of the line with the Army buildings in the background

M Jarrett

The wreckage The loco and its train were wrecked but the flask is intact

Brian Marshall

Examination The photographers and others examine the wreckage

Brian Marshall

Click HERE for an animated picture of the crash

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