Safe Operation of Barrel (Egg) Trains

This guidance is for operators of barrel (egg) trains at open farms and similar leisure facilities.

Operators have a legal duty to take reasonably practicable measures to ensure the safety of their employees and others including people riding in the train.


Incidents involving barrel egg trains resulting in injuries are still occurring in the UK.  The most recent in 2014 resulted in an eight year old girl suffering an amputated ear.  In 2012 an accident in the USA resulted in a fatality of a child. 4 other children aged between 3 and 8 years of age suffered serious injuries. 

Barrel trains often have a high centre of gravity and are not normally fitted with roll over protection. There is a risk of injury to passengers resulting from carriages overturning. This risk is increased if routes are not properly planned; drivers are not trained or act inappropriately.

The investigation into a recent incident involving the overturning of the rear carriages, was probably caused by a whip effect when a tight turn was carried out unsafely. 


Manufacturers of barrel trains have duties to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that they are designed and constructed to ensure they are safe to use whilst in operation.  If the train is 'home made' by the operator this duty lies with them.

Duties on the person in overall control of the barrel train

Barrel trains are defined as a fairground ride. The person in overall control of a fairground ride, including a barrel train, is called the ride controller. The ride controller, has duties to ensure:

These can be done through a system of pre-use and in-service inspections. More information regarding the duties placed on ride controllers can be found in HSG 175.

The controller must also assess the risks from operation of the train and take sensible and proportionate measures to control them. 

The steps set out below, particularly those relating to speed and no tight turns, should reduce the risk of overturning and ejection.

Risk control measures include:

Seat belts

HSE has considered the case for seat belts, however as the risk of an overturn cannot be entirely eliminated ,and in the absence of roll-over protection systems (ROPS), seat belts may present a risk of trapping passengers under the carriage and dragging them along the ground, causing more severe injury.

Driver training

The competence of drivers is critical to the safety of passengers. Drivers must be trained and instructed in the safe operation of barrel trains. This will include:

Driver duties

Drivers are responsible for driving the train in a way which does not put themselves or passengers at risk of injury. They need to be familiar with the safe method of operation of the train and fully understand the training they were given. (see driver training).


HSG 175 Fairgrounds and amusement parks guidance on safe practice