Investigation into train derailment

PUBLISHED: 12:35 05 July 2007 | UPDATED: 12:39 04 May 2010

The derailed freight carriages

The derailed freight carriages

RAILWAY maintenance workers were seen on the track just hours before a train derailed in Ely. Their Railtrack van was parked in the area and workers were seen walking along the line. But Network Rail has dismissed the sighting as unconnected with the ac

RAILWAY maintenance workers were seen on the track just hours before a train derailed in Ely.

Their Railtrack van was parked in the area and workers were seen walking along the line.

But Network Rail has dismissed the sighting as 'unconnected' with the accident on the freight line, claiming they were probably carrying out maintenance work on the mainline between Ely and Waterbeach.

Eleven carriages of the 37-strong train, carrying aggregates, tipped onto their side, leaving two hanging over the bridge above the river at 2am on Friday - around eight hours after the workers were seen.

"It certainly wouldn't have had anything to do with the accident," said a spokeswoman. "If we had suspected the track was not safe we would have closed it. It was certainly unrelated."

The workmen had been seen by Ely walker William Ross between 4pm and 6pm on Thursday evening.

He said: "I saw their van and men walking about in the area. I didn't take much notice of it at the time. But, when the accident happened just hours later, it raised some questions."

Officials from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch are carrying out a thorough investigation at the scene and vandalism has already been ruled out as a possible cause of the accident.

No-one was hurt but the river's route to St Ives could be closed for up to six months while a roadway is built across marshland to bring in heavy lifting gear to move the train. It is expected also that the bridge may have to be rebuilt.

Passenger services run by One Railway between Peterborough and Ipswich have been disrupted and special buses have been laid on.

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