Investigation under way after Salisbury train crash

A major incident was declared yesterday evening after two trains collided at Fisherton Tunnel in Salisbury. The collision, which occurred at 18:46, involved a South Western Railway (SWR) and a Great Western Railway (GWR) service.

The incident left 17 people injured and the driver of one of the trains trapped in his cab. He was released by the emergency services with injuries that are not believed to be serious.

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

“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.

“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.”

According to Network Rail, the rear carriage of the 17:08 GWR service from Portsmouth Harbour to Bristol Temple Meads derailed on its approach to Salisbury station, knocking out signalling in the area. Shortly afterwards, the 17:20 SWR service from London Waterloo to Honiton collided with the Bristol train.

It is unknown at present what caused the GWR service to derail. However, the incident came after a day of wet and windy weather across the region, with reports of fallen trees on the tracks in some parts.

A joint statement by GWR and SWR said: “We’re extremely grateful to the emergency services who attended the scene and helped our customers and staff in extremely difficult circumstances. We will be co-operating fully with the British Transport Police and Rail Accident Investigation Branch to understand how this incident happened.”

SWR trains between Exeter and Basingstoke, and GWR trains between Westbury and Portsmouth are affected while specialist teams continue their investigations. A special train service is running every two hours between Exeter St David’s and Gillingham, and replacement buses are also being used.

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