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Last Updated: Friday, 20 June, 2003, 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK
Trains resume on fire-hit line
Residents at Haymill Community Centre
Some 100 residents were evacuated to a nearby community centre
Trains have started running again between London Paddington and Reading after a fire near the line caused chaos for over 24 hours.

Emergency services lifted an exclusion zone which covered the track at Burnham, near Slough in Berkshire, on Friday afternoon.

Tens of thousands of commuters were stranded for hours in London, Reading and other stations along the busy line after the fire on Thursday, in which gas canisters were in danger of exploding.

Some 100 residents who were evacuated from their homes near the fire, at a workshop in Burnham, Buckinghamshire, are now believed to have been allowed back home.

Map of area
First Great Western and Thames Trains were expected to return to a normal timetable by late Friday, although customers are warned to expect some further delays.

Edith Rodgers of First Great Western said: "Fire officers have conducted a full investigation using thermal imaging equipment and are confident that the gas cylinders do not pose a danger to trains.

"We know the last 24 hours have been difficult for customers and thank them for their support and understanding.

"We will now implement a plan to resume full services as soon as possible, although there may be a few knock-on delays and cancellations for the rest of the day."

At the height of the fire, 55 firefighters from Berkshire and surrounding counties were battling the flames.

The cause of the fire is still unknown, although police are not treating it as suspicious.

One man was taken to hospital for burns to his arm but has since been discharged.

Rail disruption continues after fire
20 Jun 03  |  Berkshire
Fire closes main rail line
20 Jun 03  |  Berkshire

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