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Last Updated: Friday, 2 March 2007, 10:35 GMT
Train crash recovery to take days
Train crash
The first carriage is moved from the Grayrigg crash site
Engineers will take at least four more days to lift derailed carriages from the scene of the Cumbrian rail tragedy.

One carriage has been lifted on to a loader following overnight work and the second will be moved later, said British Transport Police.

A spokesman said the carriages would be taken away for forensic examination in convoys of three.

One person died and 20 were hurt when the Virgin London to Glasgow train derailed at Grayrigg on 23 February.

Two cranes, with lifting capacities of 1,000 tonnes and 800 tonnes, are carrying out the painstaking lifting work.

'Forensic evidence'

Technical problems meant the operation was delayed from Thursday afternoon until the evening.

Two new roads have also been built to allow access to the site, near Kendal.

John Ratcliffe, spokesman for British Transport Police, said: "It has taken all night to get the first carriage ready, lift it on to a loader and cover it in a special sheet.

"It will remain at the scene until two more are on loaders and then they will travel in convoys of three.

"The problem is that there are a lot of engineers overseeing the process and it is a painstaking because forensic evidence has to be preserved.

"The engineers are expected to be here until at least Monday or Tuesday."

'Marks and damage'

The initial report from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said faults with the points meant the tilting train could not follow its intended path over the tracks and became derailed.

Martyn Ripley, British Transport Police's senior officer on site, said because of the way the Pendolinos' carriages had landed it had previously been unsafe for anyone to enter them.

Once they had been corrected, forensic teams would be able to get inside to start recovering passengers' property.

He said: "More importantly we will be able to have a look at the underside of the vehicle to examine it and perhaps gain more forensic evidence."

Once all nine carriages are removed it will pave the way for the West Coast Mainline to reopen fully.

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