By Connor Steel
COMMUTERS are being warned to expect train delays if travelling across Hampshire and Wiltshire this week following a major collision early on Sunday night in the Salisbury area.
It caused the line to be completely blocked as investigations and a salvage operation continue following the incident that left many injuries over the Hallowe’en weekend.
As reported in national headlines overnight, a two-train crash occurred in the Fisherton Tunnel outside of the city, with emergency services called at 6.46pm on Sunday evening. A major incident was declared by the British Transport Police, who gave a brief statement last night to the media outlining some details, which included the announcement that nobody had died in this crash.
However one of the drivers has suffered “life changing injuries” after being trapped and is joined in hospital by a second person, with 13 in total admitted during the evening suffering from a series of minor injuries. There had been 92 travellers across the two trains, including a three-month-old baby, who was unharmed. Thirty people attended a casualty centre at the nearby church, with the majority being ‘walking wounded’.
BTP has since confirmed that the crash involved the Great Western Railway service from Portsmouth Harbour to Cardiff Central and the South Western Railway train running from London to Honiton, Devon. It is believed the trains were travelling in the same direction on different tracks but collided at a Y-shaped junction approaching the tunnel, with one hitting the side of the other causing it to derail.
But investigations will continue until at least Thursday evening as all options are exhausted in finding out the reasons behind the crash before the removal of both vehicles begins by the start of this weekend. Delays or even cancellations are expected over the next seven days across both counties despite the best efforts of train companies throughout the rush hours on Monday (November 1).
Train users from Fareham and Portchester only saw a handful of issues in their daily commutes, with delays often less than 10 minutes. All trains from Portsmouth Harbour to Cardiff Central were cancelled. But by the evening a replacement journey ending at Romsey was organised, calling at every stop and following the original timetable with this set to continue throughout the week.
According to National Rail the Great Western Railway routes between Cardiff Central / Bristol Parkway / Bristol Temple Meads and Portsmouth Harbour / Brighton are the likeliest to be affected, particularly with bad weather forecast for later this week. These trains often stop at Fareham and Portchester, so users have been advised to plan ahead and check departure boards for updates.
Network Rail has also advised that buses may replace trains at short notice and not to be alarmed if a change in timetable occurs during the week. The company has further outlined its compensation policy should commuters be affected and confirmed that if tickets are dated between October 31 and November 4, they can be used up until November 6 at no further cost.
PICTURED BY METRO: Emergency services examine scene of the crash on Sunday evening