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UPDATE: Investigators due at scene of north Norfolk rail crash

PUBLISHED: 11:37 31 May 2011

The scene of the train accident on the Bure Valley Railway near Brampton

The scene of the train accident on the Bure Valley Railway near Brampton

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2011

Services were back to normal today on north Norfolk’s Bure Valley Railway after yesterday afternoon’s accident when a train came off the rails at Brampton.

Staff from the Rail Accident Investigation Board (RAIB) were expected this morning and were due to visit the scene of the incident which left about 50 passengers shaken but unhurt.

Andrew Tunwell, general manager with the narrow-gauge railway, said they had been given the ‘all clear’ to resume services but he had been advised by the RAIB and the Office of Rail Regulation not to comment further on the accident until enquiries had been completed.

An RAIB spokesman said they would be carrying out a preliminary examination to help inspectors decide whether they need to carry out a full investigation.

But Mr Tunwell added: “We want to say sorry to our passengers. Once we had established that no-one was hurt, our main concern was make sure that everybody got back OK to where they needed to be.

“We were overwhelmed by people being very pleasant and nice to us which was quite heartening.

“You could understand people being very disappointed but a lot of them came and said how sorry they were to see what had happened and hoped everything would be all right.”

The front of the train was believed to have derailed at about 3.25pm.

Claire Canham was on board with her two children, aged five and two.

She said: “We were in the fifth carriage when it happened and just saw pebbles flying out from under the train and there was a bad smell, along with the screeching sound of the brakes as we came to an abrupt stop.

“We then looked out of the window to find bits of metal laying on the track that had come off the train and also to see the carriage derailed up ahead. We were told that it was a good two-mile walk back to Aylsham station and we could either walk back or wait, but they didn’t know how long this would be.”

Edwin Rose, 61, a retired archaeologist from Reepham was travelling in the first carriage when the crash happened.

He said: “The sound was horrific. It was an awful screeching sound and when I looked out of the window I could see pebbles flying up everywhere.

“I was sitting in the first carriage and could see through to the second carriage. I saw wheels crash up through the floor of the carriage. A woman was sitting directly above the wheels and her husband saw them coming up and lifted her out of the way with a fraction of a second to spare.

“When we managed to get off the train, we were told we could wait for a taxi or walk the two miles to Aylsham.”

About 20 to 30 people walked along the footpath, including a man pushing his disabled son in a wheelchair.

“When we reached a crossing a lorry stopped and offered the man and his disabled son a ride to Aylsham,” Mr Rose said.

The incident happened on the final day of Everything Goes, a three-day event in which all the Bure Valley Railway stock was running, with more services on the line than usual.

Passengers were given food and drinks when they arrived back at Aylsham station.

The Bure Valley Railway is Norfolk’s longest 15-inch gauge line and runs between Aylsham and Wroxham, with stations at Brampton, Buxton and Coltishall. It was opened in 1990.

Were you on the train? Contact reporter Alex Hurrell on 01263 513316 or email alex.hurrell@archant.co.uk

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