Salisbury train derailed SEVEN minutes before horror crash – ‘system errors’ blamed

Salisbury: Train crash passengers recount derailment

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The collision occurred on Sunday evening at Fisherton Tunnel close to London Road in the city. A carriage was derailed after hitting an object and a second train then crashed into it.

The first train was reportedly derailed for seven minutes before the second train smashed into it at around 6.45pm.

A rail engineer told MailOnline that when the first train derailed there should be an “automatic obstruction warning” to stop other trains.

The rail worker, who did not want to be named, said: “The system says that the line is not safe for the passage of another train because there is an obstruction on the line.

“According to my system, the signalling system was aware seven minutes before impact. It should’ve automatically stopped the train.

“It should’ve automatically set all signals to red. If the driver didn’t see the signal, the system should’ve made the train stop.

“There has been a major flaw within the signalling system within Network Rail.”

Around 100 people were evacuated from the scene of the horror crash and a “small number”, including the driver of one of the trains, were taken to hospital.

A mother who was out trick or treating with her family nearby compared the noise of the collision to “a bomb” and “thunder”.

British Transport Police (BTP) said in a statement: “We were called to Fisherton Tunnel in Salisbury at 6.46pm tonight following reports of a train derailment which involved two passenger trains colliding.

“Officers are continuing to respond to the incident alongside our emergency service colleagues and the line is expected to be shut for some time.

“Thankfully there have been no fatalities however a number of people have been injured and a casualty centre has been opened at a nearby church.

“Most of these people are walking wounded however a small number, including the driver, have been taken to hospital where their injuries are being assessed.

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“A major incident has been declared and this has been a large scale, multi-agency response working closely alongside our colleagues in Wiltshire. We will remain on scene throughout the night working to establish the full circumstances of how this incident came to happen.”

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “At around 7pm this evening, the rear carriage of the 1708 Great Western Railway service from Portsmouth Harbour to Bristol Temple Meads derailed after striking an object on its approach to Salisbury station.

“The derailment knocked out all of the signalling in the area. Subsequently, the 1720 South Western Railway service from London Waterloo to Honiton then collided with the Bristol train.”

In a statement, Great Western Railway (GWR) said the railway in the area would remain closed on Monday as “specialist teams continue their investigations”.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted: “My thoughts go out to those affected by the serious rail incident near Salisbury.”

He said the Rail Accident Investigation Branch and Office of Rail and Road will investigate, adding: “We need to understand how this happened to prevent in the future.”

Express.co.uk has contacted Network Rail for further comment on the rail engineer’s claims and GWR.

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