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Station Fire affects Olympic travel

 

Station fire causes Olympic day chaos

Friday, 03 August 2012

 


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By James Cracknell

A FIRE at a railway station led to dozens of London-bound trains being delayed and cancelled just hours before the Olympic opening ceremony.

Witnesses reported seeing fireballs and sprays of sparks as an electrical wiring box opposite Platform 1 at Herne Hill caught fire shortly before 10am on Friday.

As a result, Southeastern services were cancelled at Brixton, Herne Hill, West Dulwich and Sydenham Hill stations for four hours as frustrated fire crews waited for Network Rail to cut the power supply to the railway.

First Capital Connect trains to London St Pancras – where spectators can catch the Olympic Javelin services to Stratford – were also severely affected by the fire.

Two crews from Brixton went to the scene but were left sitting waiting for the power supply to be shut off before they could tackle the fire.

Station officer Mat Rosendale said his firefighters could not go anywhere near the blaze for more than two hours.

He told the South London Press: “The electrical flashes are so bright we can’t even look at them. We have to wait for the supply to be cut before we can tackle the fire.

“It’s 11,000 volts so we’re not going to put our hoses on it.”

Herne Hill resident Jo Self said she saw “arcs of blue and pink light” through the trees from Railton Road when the fire first started, while a member of staff at the station said it was “like a fireball”.

Passengers on Platforms 1 and 2 were told to keep well back. Commuter Andrew McCarthy said: “There was a big blue flash and sparks flying.”

Network Rail was finally able to cut power at about 12.20pm and the fire was put out minutes later, but delays to train services continued for hours afterwards.

Ms Self speculated that vandals could have started the fire by gaining access through a broken fence on Railton Road.

She said: “It is an accident black spot on this corner. A car crashed there about a week ago and because the fence hasn’t been repaired it would have been easy to get access to the station platform.”


Email: james.cracknell@slp.co.uk


For the full story, you can get a full online edition at www.slp-e-edition.co.uk

 

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