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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 10:14 GMT 11:14 UK
That was then: Nick Sutch
Two years on from the Hatfield train disaster - which killed four people, injured 35 and saw the UK's railways closed down for urgent repairs - how has crash survivor Nick Sutch come to terms with his ordeal?

17 October 2000
"I was sitting down with my Walkman on, when the train hit a bump. We were going so fast I didn't take any notice. Suddenly I was thrown from my seat," says Nick Sutch, then a 22-year-old student returning to university in Hull on the 12.10 GNER London to Leeds train.

BBC News Online's coverage of the crash
Nick Sutch's account of the crash was published on BBC News Online
Mr Sutch, recovering from a leg operation, was sitting on a fold-down seat near the buffet car when a broken rail sent his train - travelling at 115mph - bucking off the track.

"I looked back into the next carriage and it had turned right over and was being dragged along. Inside people were being thrown around. I could hear their screaming."

Although the ordeal aggravated his already damaged leg, Mr Sutch escaped any serious injuries.

"I smacked my knee, but nothing major. Someone smashed a carriage window and helped me out - I was on crutches and a bit shocked."

Four passengers died in the accident. Managers were spurred to impose speed limits on trains until emergency track repairs could be carried out. The resulting travel chaos all but crippled the UK for more than six months.

October 2002
"The crash is always in the back of my mind," says Mr Sutch, now working in IT support.

"It really comes to the forefront when there's another rail crash. They said they'd made the railways safe after Hatfield, but they can't have, or there wouldn't have been any more accidents.


I had some nightmares, reliving what had happened

"I've stayed away from trains since the crash. I'll take a train from my home in Surrey to Waterloo if I have to. I can stand 25 minutes, but not a long journey. I had to drive to Newcastle recently, I couldn't get in a train.

"A couple of months after the crash I had some nightmares, reliving what had happened. They went away without me going for counselling or anything like that.

"I did have a lot on my plate at university and the crash could have had an effect on my grades. I had to retake a couple of subjects after the accident.


You have to have been in it to really understand

"Literally 10 minutes after the crash I was on my phone to friends at university. I wouldn't say I enjoy telling people about what happened in the train, but I felt the people close to me should know and that I should get things off my chest.

"It is difficult for people to understand what I'm telling them. You have to have been in it to really understand."


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