Salisbury train crash: Emergency operation underway as two trains collide in tunnel

, Salisbury train crash: Emergency operation underway as two trains collide in tunnel, The Evepost BBC News
, Salisbury train crash: Emergency operation underway as two trains collide in tunnel, The Evepost BBC News

Police, fire and ambulance crews are at the scene of a crash involving two trains at Salisbury, Wiltshire.

The collision took place in Fisherton Tunnel, on the northeast side of Salisbury near Laverstock Junction where the line from the south coast joins the line from London.

The 5.08pm GWR Portsmouth to Bristol service struck an object and derailed, knocking out signals, Network Rail said.

It was then hit by the 5.20pm Southwestern Railway London Waterloo to Honiton train.

“We are currently responding to an incident at Fisherton Tunnel, Salisbury,” said British Transport Police. “Officers were called at 6.46pm this evening following reports a train derailed. We are on scene alongside paramedics and the fire brigade.”

Angela Mattingly, who was on the train, said: “Everything went black and there were red flashes and everything.

“There was suddenly a lot of jostling, possessions being thrown around and I think a few people went forward and hit their heads. You just don’t know for a couple of seconds what’s happening.

“People started to panic but nobody was seriously injured.”

All passengers have been evacuated and injuries are believed to be limited to “walking wounded”.

The driver trapped after the crash has been released from his cab and taken to hospital – but is not seriously injured, sources confirmed.

Emergency services, including some 50 firefighters, attended the scene on Sunday evening with a critical incident being declared.

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.

, Salisbury train crash: Emergency operation underway as two trains collide in tunnel, The Evepost BBC News

“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.”

The derailed train was believed to be on its side, but the South Western Railway train is upright.

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

Tamar Vellacott said she was walking outside with her young children, mother and partner on Jewell Close, Bishopdown, around a kilometre from the scene.

“It was a noise we’ve never heard before… my young ones started panicking thinking it was a bomb and we said maybe a lorry had crashed on the London Road and not to panic,” the 25-year-old told PA.

“There was no screeching like brakes, just a long rumbling sound like thunder hitting the railway line.”

An Office of Rail and Road spokesperson said: “We’re supporting Network Rail and the train operators, plus RAIB (Rail Accident Investigation Branch) and the British Transport Police with respect to the collision between two trains near Salisbury Tunnel Junction and liaising with emergency services responding to the incident.”

Transport Salaried Staffs Association general secretary Manuel Cortes said the incident was “a very sobering reminder about why safety on our railways is always paramount”.

The area has been affected by huge amounts of surface water from torrential rain, although it is unclear if the weather was involved in the incident.

The line is closed as emergency services “carry out their work,” GWR said.

A trespasser was removed from that track at the tunnel on Saturday, according to a report in the Salisbury Journal.

The man was spotted by a driver but was removed by police.