Teenage passenger relives crash horror

A YOUNG shop assistant has spoken of the horrific moment when the train she was travelling on hit a sewage tanker at a level crossing.

Louise Rayner, 19, was in the first carriage of the service running from Sudbury to Marks Tey when it crashed into the lorry on the crossing in Little Cornard.

Miss Rayner works in Boots, on Market Hill, and had caught the train as she headed to see her boyfriend – when all of a sudden, a few minutes after setting off, the train braked and the driver ran into the carriage.

She said: “He shouted something, then we hit something and we were all thrown forward. I can’t remember [what he shouted] but then a second later there was a big bang.

“I got up but there was a woman behind who couldn’t move and I helped her out. Everyone was really quiet and just in shock.

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“We were just trying to see who was hurt. Then the conductor lady came through and she was brilliant.”

Miss Rayner, who lives in Wickham St Paul, between Sudbury and Halstead, said that most of the passengers seemed to be travelling in the rear of the two carriages.

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She said: “It all just happened very quickly. I rang my boyfriend as soon as I was up and off the train. I rang the police, then I rang him and told him to come up. He was a bit concerned.”

Miss Rayner said almost all of the passengers who were taken to hospital had ended up in the x-ray department at the same time and had been discussing the crash and the injuries they had sustained.

She said: “Everyone was talking to each other and making sure each other was all right. I was kept in overnight because they thought I had internal bleeding, but it turns out I am just bruised.”

Another passenger on the train said there was a moment of “deathly silence” following the crash, which had propelled him into a table and left the train and the surrounding area covered in “slurry”.

Ian Bacon, 55, had finished work for the day at a shop in the town and was heading back home to Witham when the collision took place.

He said: “I’m battered and bruised. I always try to catch the 17.31 and was on it as normal. We picked up speed as we left Sudbury and all of a sudden the brakes hit, I went forward and my rib cage hit the table.

“I knocked the table off its stand and as we braked the driver came out and shouted ‘brace yourselves, we’re going to hit something’, and then we hit it.

“I remember hitting the table again and going underneath it and seeing bits of metal flying past. The train was in danger of toppling to one side and then it righted itself. Then there was a deathly silence and a little girl started crying.

“I passed out and came round and there was a fireman holding my head. I was given morphine and taken out of the window on a board. It was quite surreal because they strapped my head and I could only see directly above me but I could hear them all talking.”

Mr Bacon said he had managed to talk to the driver in the hospital yesterday.

The driver had told him he had spotted the tanker in the distance and made a phone call about it before applying the brakes and warning the passengers.

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