Full probe call after nuclear train derails in Barrow

Thursday, October 10, 2013

INVESTIGATIONS have been launched to determine how a train carrying nuclear flasks derailed between Roose and Barrow stations.

Emergency crews raced to the scene, just behind Salthouse Road, Barrow, at about 2.15pm yesterday and St Luke’s Avenue was cordoned off.

A spokesman from International Nuclear Services Ltd, a subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which is responsible for the management and transport of nuclear material, said the train had been on the way to Sellafield carrying empty flasks when it derailed while travelling at approximately 5mph.

He said: “The flasks were being transported from Barrow and had been shipped to the UK from Japan.”

A statement from Direct Rail Services, the train operator responsible for the service, said: “Work will now focus on recovering the derailed rolling stock. An investigation will be carried out into the cause of the derailment in accordance with Rail and Nuclear Transport Regulations.”

DRS had earlier issued a statement saying no-one was injured as a result of the incident and “all appropriate railway procedures had been activated.”

Barrow MP John Woodcock has called for a full investigation, describing the incident as “unacceptable”. He said: “Whether full or empty, high level waste flasks are designed to withstand incredibly high levels of force but it is obviously completely unacceptable that this derailment has occurred. I am concerned for all those involved but also angry on behalf of my constituents who have taken a very measured approach to nuclear waste material being transported through Furness.

“They need to know that safety remains paramount: a thorough and transparent investigation must begin immediately to establish the cause of this accident and prevent a re-occurrence.”

A British Transport Police spokesperson said: “The incident, which was reported to BTP at 2.13pm, is currently being treated as a railway operating incident.’’

A spokeswoman from Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that five appliances had been called to the scene.

INS declared the incident “closed” shortly after 5pm.

Residents living close to the scene expressed concern after learning of the derailment.

Katie Hammond, 21, of Salthouse Road, said: “I didn’t even know they went past here. That’s a bit worrying.”

Neighbour Mike Edmonds, 57, said: “I asked the police what was going on and they said it was a train derailment. They never mentioned it was a nuclear train. I think people should be informed if nuclear trains are passing behind our houses.”

Andrew Kneale, 41, of Dalton, was with six-year-old daughter Millie when the accident happened.

Mr Kneale said: “I had gone down to check on the fishery near there and I heard all these sirens. There must have been about 15 emergency vehicles at one point.

“I just can’t imagine what could have happened if the flasks had been full. If it had cracked and gone into the dock it would have leaked and killed all the fish and then gone into the sea. It’s really lucky that they were all empty.”

Passenger services were disrupted during the incident and replacement bus services were running on trains out of Barrow.

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