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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 28 February, 2001, 17:51 GMT
Survivors relive crash
Site of the crash
The freight train stopped just short of houses
People on the train involved in the North Yorkshire rail crash have been speaking about "scenes of chaos" as bloodied passengers trapped in the wreckage waited for help.

A northbound freight train was derailed when a car and a low-loader carrying another car slid off a motorway bridge at Great Heck near Selby on the East Coast Main Line.

The 0445GMT Newcastle to London GNER 225 electric train then ploughed into the freight train.


I've always said if this happens get down on the floor get hold of something and hold on tight

Bill Shaw
Former railway worker Raymond Brindley smashed glass and escaped through the emergency door of the rear carriage before racing to the nearest lineside telephone and alerting the signalman to the accident.

"The track seemed to give way under us, the lights went out and we seemed to be going everywhere in all directions.

'Utter chaos'

"It was utter chaos. There was a lot of people shouting, with the diesel fumes they were worried it would catch alight."

One of the injured, Virginia Shaw, is married to a survivor of a similar disaster which killed nine people.

Bill Shaw, from York, was in the Lockington rail crash in July 1986, just a few miles away from the site of the Selby accident, when a train struck a van on a level crossing.

Having escaped uninjured with his two children, he had told his wife what to do in the event of a derailment.

"It's a one in a million chance - both incidents involved a vehicle on the track.

"I've always said ... get down on the floor, get hold of something and hold on tight.

Deja vu

"Every time there is a train crash, I can imagine what it is like because I have been there.

"I know the despair that people are feeling."

His wife called him soon after the crash on her mobile telephone.

"She didn't want me to go through what she went through, hearing about the crash from the media and not knowing if I was alive or dead," explained Mr Shaw.

Caravan crushed by train
One of the trains crushed a caravan and narrowly avoided houses
Janine Edwards, 22, of York, was travelling to London for a drama college interview.

She said: "I heard screaming and shouting and the lights went out. I held onto the table in front on me and then there was a huge impact.

"One lady, who was travelling with her daughter, had been flung into the air and was lying in the next corridor. Her leg was trapped.

'Streaming with blood'

"The man opposite me was streaming with blood. The window next to him was smashed and the frame had come out and hit him.

"I think two people managed to scramble out of the carriage but I don't know how. Both ends were crushed.


I can't believe how a train can disintegrate into so many pieces

Charles Watkinson
"Another lady in the carriage said she could feel a bone coming though her leg.

"It was like a rollercoaster ride. It was strange, you could even feel the impact against your face as the train tried to brake.

"There are so many people badly injured. I feel so lucky. If I had been in the front two carriages I think I would have been killed."

Roof torn off

Dai Edwards told BBC news that he went to the scene after his 22-year-old daughter Janine rang him from the wreckage using her mobile.

She said: " Dad, the train's crashed." He found her at the crash site and took her hospital. She is in hospital with an injured back.

Ann Homa, of Wetherby, left Pontefract Infirmary with just cuts and bruises.

She said: "I feel lucky. I was just reading the paper and suddenly there was all this noise, I felt like we had hit a branch and then it just got worse."

Laurie Gunson, of York, who was in the buffet car at the time of the accident, was also treated at Pontefract.

He said: "The carriage roof was torn off and I was flung down the length of the corridor and found myself on the floor together with a fellow lady passenger.

"We talked to keep our spirits up".

Charles Watkinson, who was just getting out of bed when he heard the crash, told how he helped pull injured people off the passenger train.

Rescue efforts

Mr Watkinson said: "One of the carriages was very badly mangled. The whole scene was absolute carnage.

"I can't believe how a train can disintegrate into so many pieces."

The freight train came to rest yards from the home of retired power station worker Peter Hintz, 61.

"I was asleep in bed and heard this tremendous noise outside.

"The freight train destroyed my garden shed, workshop, summer house and caravan. Another few feet and it would have been in my living room."


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