Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

STORM CHAOS; LANDSLIDE DERAILS TRAIN AS FLOODS BRING TRANSPORT NETWORK TO A HALTPassengers Trapped in Derailed Train

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

STORM CHAOS; LANDSLIDE DERAILS TRAIN AS FLOODS BRING TRANSPORT NETWORK TO A HALTPassengers Trapped in Derailed Train

Article excerpt

Byline: Ross Lydall, Dick Murray and Ben Morgan

STORMS lashing the South-East caused travel chaos today as a landslide derailed a train, flooding forced the M25 to be partly shut and lightning closed the rail line to Stansted airport.

Torrential rain wreaked disruption so severe that passengers were advised not to travel "unless absolutely necessary" as transport networks struggled to cope. Cancellations and delays were due to last all day -- with major problems at Euston, Liverpool Street, Paddington and Waterloo stations. The 7am derailment between Watford Junction and Milton Keynes came after floods sent a landslide on to the tracks, closing the West Coast Main Line for a time. The front carriage of a south-bound London Midland train to Euston came off the track at 50mph, dealing an LM train to Birmingham a "glancing blow". Miraculously, both trains remained upright.

There were reports that two passengers, including a pregnant woman, were injured -- though no Continued on Page 7 Continued from Page 1 one was thought to be seriously hurt.

Scores of travellers were said to be trapped on the two trains as rail staff tried to evacuate the carriages safely.

Radio reporter Sarah Lowther, who was on the derailed train, said: "It was the first time I've actually flown on a train. When we came off the tracks I assumed the brace position."

She told of a "Dunkirk spirit" on the train as passengers helped one another but said she was "worried" about the driver, who hurt his back in the crash.

Rescuers were trying to reach a pregnant woman -- who, describing the scene on radio, said the trains were "kissing each other" in a tunnel.

An emergency worker at the site said: "It could have been so much worse. If the derailed carriage had been thrown a bit nearer the other line it would have collided head-on with the north-bound train and taken that off the track too."

Engineers were waiting for the trains for be evacuated before they could move the derailed one and reopen the line. Network Rail promised a "full investigation" but admitted it would be "some time" before full services resumed. …

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