13 people taken to hospital after Salisbury train crash

31 October 2021, 20:17 | Updated: 1 November 2021, 13:21

Police continue to work at site of train crash in Salisbury

By Elizabeth Haigh

A number of passengers and crew have been taken to hospital after two trains collided near Salisbury, Wiltshire.

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13 people are confirmed to have been taken to hospital after the crash.

Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust said in a statement: "Following the derailment in Salisbury last night, we can confirm that 13 casualties were treated at Salisbury District Hospital.

"Four of these casualties were admitted. One patient has been discharged and three remain as inpatients.

"We are pleased to report that all are in a stable condition."

In a statement on Sunday evening, South Western Rail confirmed all crew and passengers were accounted for, but a number had been taken to hospital.

Martin Frobisher, group safety and engineering director, technical authority, at Network Rail, said this morning he does not know exactly what happened in the Salisbury train collision on Sunday evening.

He said it is "far too early to speculate", adding that there is "a lot of contradictory information" in the early stages of an investigation.

Both trains reportedly derailed with one on its side following the incident.
Both trains reportedly derailed with one on its side following the incident. Picture: PA

One of the drivers was initially trapped in their train cab, but was later freed.

A spokesman said: "The railway will be closed in the area on Monday, affecting SWR trains between Exeter and Basingstoke, and GWR trains between Westbury and Portsmouth, while specialist teams continue their investigations and we urge customers not to travel on this part of the network."

The fire service, who sent some 50 firefighters to the scene on Sunday evening with a critical incident being declared, said it had helped to evacuate the train with 100 people taken to safety.

In a statement late on Sunday, British Transport Police said of those injured: "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."

The crash occurred on the line between Andover and Salisbury, with both trains derailing and one pictured on its side.

Emergency services are in attendance
Emergency services are in attendance. Picture: Alamy

A Network Rail spokesperson said on Sunday: "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.

"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.

"There are reports of injuries and the emergency services are on site along with railway first responders."

LBC's West of England correspondent gives update on train crash

Officers from the British Transport Police were called to the incident at Fisherton Tunnel at 6:46pm on Sunday.

Wiltshire Police said they were also called to the scene of the crash.

"We are responding with the fire and ambulance service at the site close to London Road, Salisbury," it said.

It is believed at least 12 passengers were injured in the incident, with sources saying they are like "walking wounded".

The British Transport Police tweeted that a casualty centre has been set up at St Mark’s Church on St Mark's Avenue.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch deployed investigators to the scene of the crash, and emergency services declared it a "critical" incident.

The National Police Air Service contributed "two aircraft" to assist with the incident.

Dorset and Wiltshire fire service tweeted that 50 firefighters were also at the scene.

MP for Salisbury John Glen tweeted: "Desperately concerned for the welfare of the many passengers and drivers involved in the two-train crash and derailment at Fisherton tunnel outside Salisbury.

"The trapped driver has now been released - thank you to all the emergency services for their coordinated efforts."

A mother who was trick or treating near to the collision said the noise of the train crash sounded like "a bomb" and "thunder".

Tamar Vellacott was with her children, mother and partner 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 said.

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

"It did spook us though, so we decided to get in our car and drive home to Laverstock where three police cars passed us at speed."

South Western Railway said disruption to their services would continue for the rest of the day and on Monday.

Transport Salaried Staffs Association general secretary Manuel Cortes said: "We will have to await further details, but this is a very sobering reminder about why safety on our railways is always paramount.

"The thoughts of our entire union are with the loved ones of everyone caught up in what may well turn out to be a tragic event.

"No doubt that over the coming days and weeks we will find out why this accident happened. A full investigation will now need to follow."

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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted: "My thoughts go out to those affected by the serious rail incident near Salisbury.

"Emergency services on scene and we are working closely with network rail & operators.

"We need to understand how this happened to prevent in the future."

South Western Rail said a full investigation is taking place by British Transport Police and Rail Accident Investigation Branch to understand how the incident happened.