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Friday, July 1, 2022
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Major investigation launched following fire involving train near Craven Arms

Train services between Hereford and Shrewsbury are suspended after a passenger train hit a mini digger on the tracks and caught fire near Craven Arms last night.

A major investigation is underway following the incident whichhappened at around 10.30pm on Sunday.

A Transport for Wales train travelling at around 60mph hit a mini digger on the tracks, which caused fuel to leak from the train and a fire to start.

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There was a second mini digger found on the embankment and enquiries throughout the night and this morning have led detectives to believe these had been stolen from a nearby rental yard and discarded.

Approximately 60 passengers were safely evacuated from the train, and the fire was quickly extinguished.

One passenger sustained a minor ankle injury which thankfully didn’t require hospital treatment. Nobody else was injured.

Network Rail is working to recover the railway as quickly as possible but it’s unlikely services will resume on the line before the end of the day. Passengers are advised to check with Transport for Wales before they travel tomorrow.

Major Investigation Launched

Detectives from BTP’s Major, Serious, and Organised Crime Unit will be leading the investigation, and specialist officers remain at the scene conducting enquiries this afternoon.

Detective Chief Inspector Sam Blackburn, from BTP’s Major, Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said: “While we are at early stage of our investigation, we are confident this fire was a result of the attempted theft of two mini diggers which then ended up on the tracks.

“Any obstruction to the railway is extremely dangerous and can easily result in serious injuries or fatalities, so we are taking this incident very seriously and working hard to hold those responsible to account.

“In this case, the collision with the mini digger resulted in a fuel leak which has then ignited. We are working closely with the Environment Agency to ensure the fuel is contained and any risk to the environment is minimised.”

“I would like to appeal to anyone who may have information to get in touch with us as soon as possible by texting 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 665 of 22/05/22.”

Alternative travel advice

Services between Hereford and Shrewsbury remain suspended following the incident with disruption expected until the end of today.

All Manchester Piccadilly services will terminate at Hereford and restart at Shrewsbury.

The Cardiff to Holyhead services will start and terminate at Shrewsbury.

On the Heart of Wales Services North of Llanwrtyd Wells travelling to Shrewsbury are unable to run.

Transport for Wales advises not to travel on these affected routes if possible.

If you do need to travel, a limited replacement road transport service is in place between Hereford and Shrewsbury. Customers are advised to use alternative rail services. 

You may use your tickets on the following services to complete your journey:

– Avanti West Coast between Crewe and Birmingham New Street

– CrossCountry between Cardiff Central and Birmingham New Street

– Great Western Railway between Cardiff Central and Bristol Parkway

– West Midlands Railway between Shrewsbury / Crewe and Birmingham New Street

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