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Investigations underway after train crash

By This is Somerset  |  Posted: October 08, 2008

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AN INVESTIGATION is under way after two quarry locomotives collided on a rail line in Great Elm on Monday evening.

The trains collided half-a- mile from the Hanson quarry and derailed, causing a huge amount of damage to the line and embankment.

It is believed one of the locomotives had left the depot and was on its way to Westbury when it was hit from behind by a "runaway" train carrying five trucks of stone, just past a bridge in a place known as Bedlam, on the Whatley branch line.

Fire crews and police were first on the scene and secured the area.

Early reports suggested there were casualties, but, after fire crews checked the area, all personnel were accounted for.

Frome Fire Service's crew commander Simon Carpenter was one of the first firemen at the scene and said his priority was the safety of personnel.

He said: "We were called at about 5.30pm and were told there was a derailment.

"When we arrived at the railway line, we quickly assessed the situation.

"One of the first people I saw was one of the train drivers, who was badly shaken but not injured.

"After checking everyone was accounted for, we then had to make sure the fuel tanks were secure and no further damage could be done in the surrounding environment."

Alan Taylor, managing director of Mendip Rail Limited, the privately-owned company that runs the rail line, said he was shocked, but happy no one had been injured.

He said: "All I can say is that we believe the train ran out of the quarry and hit the other train, which was on its way to Westbury.

"We don't know yet how it happened and the investigation should take about 24 hours to complete.

"We will then start the recovery process."

Mr Taylor said locomotives were being diverted to other depots in the area, including Aggregate Industries, Tytherington, in North Bristol, and Machen, in South Wales.

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