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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 March 2007, 15:25 GMT
Hero train driver tells of ordeal
Iain Black

A train driver who was hailed a hero for staying at the controls during a high-speed crash has said it never crossed his mind to leave his cab.

Iain Black said the train was like a "violent bucking bronco" as carriages hurtled off the tracks in Cumbria last month. One woman died in the crash.

Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson praised Mr Black for staying at the controls as the train derailed.

But Mr Black, 46, from Dumbarton insisted he was just doing his job.

Speaking at his home after being released from hospital, he said: "I don't see it as an act of heroism. It's my job to drive the train and that is where I should be."

It was like a violent bucking bronco and it was bouncing up and down and there was a lot of noise
Iain Black

Mr Black added: "I'm a train driver so my place is to be in the cab. My best possible chance of saving a situation is in the cab, not in with the passengers.

"I've got to be in the cab to help the train and it never crossed my mind to leave."

His Glasgow-bound Virgin train derailed in remote countryside near Kendal in Cumbria last month.

Margaret Masson, 84, from Cardonald, Glasgow, died and 22 other people were injured in the crash.

Mr Black, who is now recovering from his injuries at home, described the moment the nine-carriage train left the tracks.

'Serious trouble'

He said: "It started out a normal day but then the train derailed. It was apparent that we were in serious bother because the train took off.

"The wheels came straight off and it was as if it leapt into the air. I don't know how high but it was a couple of feet.

"I knew immediately without a doubt I was in serious trouble. At that point I was hoping the train would come back down on to the tracks again.

"As a driver you are trained to react to these things. The train came down and I knew when it came down that it had derailed.

"It was like a violent bucking bronco and it was bouncing up and down and there was a lot of noise."

Mr Black spent two hours trapped in his cab and was taken to the Royal Preston Hospital in Lancashire.

He was told he had been lucky to survive.

Iain's partner, Janice Duff, tells her story

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