Mixer lorry blocking train track
Rail services disrupted by an accident in which a 26-tonne cement mixer lorry plunged on to a train are unlikely to resume until at least Monday, police and rail authorities have said.
Difficulties in removing the wreckage from the line in Oxshott, Surrey, could cause travel problems for many thousands of commuters attempting to get to work by rail and road.
The incident happened when the lorry, travelling towards Leatherhead, Surrey, crashed into the wall of an overbridge in Warren Lane, Oxshott, at about 3.30pm on Friday.
Part of the wall subsided, causing the lorry to plunge on to railway tracks beneath the bridge at the moment an eight-carriage train bound for London Waterloo was passing.
The lorry bounced off the roof of one of the carriages, causing it to partly cave in, and eventually came to rest on the embankment.
Emergency teams said it was remarkable that nobody was killed in the incident, but several people were injured. The driver of the lorry and one of the train passengers were said to be in a stable condition at St George's Hospital in Tooting, south London. Both were badly hurt.
British Transport Police and Surrey Police investigating the cause of the crash, and one of the major aspects of the inquiry will be why the wall did not stop the lorry from landing on the track.
Stuart Mellstrom, who has lived next to the bridge for 40 years, said he had written to Elmbridge Council several times regarding his concerns over traffic volume in the area. He said: "It's a miracle that, as far as I know, there has not been a fatality to date. This is an accident that has been waiting to happen, although it hasn't taken the format that I anticipated. But I have seen so many accidents in this area it is beyond belief. This is a Victorian bridge built for light railway and light traffic."
Removal of the lorry and the train is likely to be tricky, a spokesman from Network Rail said. "I don't know if the train is still working," he said. "If we can't get power to it, the train won't be able to move."
As a result of the incident, a number of rail services in the area are not expected to be back to normal until Monday at the earliest. Several roads are also likely to remain closed.