A train driver was left ‘stuck in his cab for around two hours’ whilst firefighters frantically tried to cut him free, a source told Wiltshire 999s.
Emergency services were scrambled to reports of two trains colliding in Fisherton Tunnel, Salisbury, shortly before 7pm last night (Sunday, 31 October).
More than a dozen people were hurt in the crash, with the driver of the train was reportedly airlifted to Southampton Hospital by Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.
But firefighters struggled to access the cab, attempting to free the driver via the left-hand side and roof unsuccessfully before finally managing to extricate him via the right side.
For most – if not all – fire service personnel on scene, this was the first time they had responded to such a train crash involving persons trapped.
The whole operation to cut the driver, aged in his 70s, free from the passenger train’s cab lasted around two hours, a source confirmed.
“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”, a Network Rail spokesperson said.
They continued: “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 air ambulance, HH Coastguard and two police helicopters were on scene as the incident unfolded, supported by Wiltshire Police’s drone unit.
In a statement last night, inspector Mullah Hoque from 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.
“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.
“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.”
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