AN investigation has been launched after a runaway trolley smashed through a level crossing and derailed in Ramsbottom town centre.

The crash, which happened on the East Lancashire Railway, just north of Ramsbottom Station, smashed one of the gates and led to half a tonne of rocks being spilt across Bridge Street.

Although the road was open to traffic at the time, no one was injured,

The incident happened at about 11.15am on Thursday, March 15, when a group of track workers were using a trolley without brakes to transport ballast.

Inspectors from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch say that in order to prevent it running away while being loaded, pieces of ballast were used as improvised ‘scotches’.

After being loaded with approximately half a tonne of ballast, they were then removed and three members of the team began to move the trolley downhill towards Ramsbottom station.

But the trolley began to run away and the track workers were unable to stop it.

The trolley struck the gates and derailed, damaging and displacing one of the gates into the road and spilling ballast onto the road.

Investigators say they are now looking into ‘the planning of the work and actions of those involved’, ‘the training and competence of those involved’, ‘the management of the condition and use of trolleys’ and ‘any underlying management factors’.