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Rail Investigations

Railway accidents are comparatively rare but their consequences can be very severe, involving many injuries and loss of life. A high speed crash or derailment is inevitably very high profile in the media and can cause disruption to transport links for many weeks. The nature of the equipment involved often means that even 'minor' incidents can have significant operational and financial consequences.

We have investigated incidents such as:

Hawkins has the expertise to investigate all types of incidents and has been involved in the investigations of high profile incidents such as:


The main reason we are appointed is to try to establish the cause of the incident and then to assist with:


Our investigations usually start with a site visit and considering witness evidence. Obtaining the witness evidence is usually the first step in establishing a narrative of events and is often important in determining the cause. A typical investigation might include:

Liaison with official agencies is an important part of rail investigation and Hawkins is well versed in dealing with the British Transport Police (BTP), the Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR), the Railway Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), Network Rail and its subcontractors, the Fire Brigade, and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). We also often work with the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) in sharing factual information.

Related areas of expertise

Mechanical Engineering

Engineering failures of hardware can occur in almost any area, from domestic items to large commercial items, hardware used in industrial applications or factories. Failures could be structural, electrical or mechanical and may be isolated incidents or a repeat failure such as one which impacts across an entire transport sector.

Fire Engineering

The potential consequences of decisions regarding fire protection design, construction and management have been highlighted by recent fires in high-rise residential buildings in the UK, as well as the rest of the world. Insufficient consideration of fire safety management and protection provisions can have massive financial implications and could lead to civil and/or criminal proceedings.

Vehicle Examinations

Whether the case involves a car, bus, heavy goods vehicle, motorcycle, farming equipment, or a bicycle, Hawkins’ engineers consider various vehicle attributes during an examination, such as: patterns of damage, occupant restraints, vehicle condition, vehicle defects, tyre performance, and vehicle stability. It is also becoming more common for vehicles to carry recoverable collision data from the EDR (Event Data Recorder) aka the black box.

Collision Reconstruction

Road traffic collisions (or accidents) are often traumatic incidents and litigation arising as a result is becoming more common as Court awards increase and injured parties become more aware of the compensation that might be available to them. Hawkins can provide detailed analysis of an incident and prepare forensic collision investigation and reconstruction reports suitable for use in Criminal or Civil Courts.