Investigation launched after five evacuated from train on flooded track

Workers observing the damage to the stopped train.

Workers observing the damage to the stopped train. - Credit: Mike Page

An investigation has been launched after five passengers were evacuated from a train after flooding on the track.

The incident happened at around 7.45am on January 30, when the Greater Anglia service from Norwich to Lowestoft reached a section of track between Reedham and Haddiscoe stations.

The supporting ballast and embankment was being washed away by high water levels on the Haddiscoe Cut on the River Waveney.

Washed away ballasts underneath a train track.

The ballasts underneath the track have been washed away by high tides and strong winds. - Credit: Network Rail

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch have now confirmed an independent investigation will be carried out into the incident.

A spokesperson said: "As the train approached the section of track concerned, the driver of the train noticed what appeared to be standing water on the line ahead and started braking.

"The train, which was formed of three passenger vehicles and a power car, stopped with its front carriage above the flowing water.

Train derailed alongside picturesque Norfolk Broads. Derailment is on the Haddiscoe line to one of t

Engineers were on scene this morning after the Grater Anglia 7.25am from Lowestoft to Norwich became stuck on the track. - Credit: Rob Colman

"Over the next twenty minutes the flowing water caused all support for the track to be lost and the track sank significantly, causing the front carriage to tilt forwards and sideways.

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"The driver attempted to move the train back clear of the damaged section of track, but this proved impossible because of the angle of the front carriage.

"The driver and guard evacuated the five passengers from the train onto the track, and a rescue train was arranged to convey them back to Reedham station."

No one was hurt in the incident and the train was recovered undamaged, although the repairs to the track meant the line was closed for a week.

The statement adds: "The incident occurred following a significant tidal surge, which impeded drainage from the Broadland rivers and raised the level of the Haddiscoe Cut at the location of the accident to the extent that water overtopped the flood defences.

"The Environment Agency had issued a Flood Warning covering the area, but the water level at Reedham and Haddiscoe was not predicted to be higher than the flood defences."

Train derailed alongside picturesque Norfolk Broads. Derailment is on the Haddiscoe line to one of t

Passengers wishing to travel should contact National Rail Services or Greater Anglia to get detailed service information. - Credit: Rob Colman

The investigation will seek to identify the sequence of events which led to the accident, as well as the management of the local flood defences, the adequacy of the flood warning systems used by the railway industry, and Network Rail's knowledge of the condition of assets external to the railway, such as flood defences.

The independent findings, and any safety recommendations, will be published at the conclusion of the investigation.