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Kent train smashes into landslide but avoids derailment

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Passengers were evacuated from a train in Kent today after it struck an obstruction and got caught on the track – just a day after a derailment killed three in Scotland.

The Southeastern service got stuck on the line near to West Malling following reports of a landslide due to heavy thunderstorms and rain across Britain. 

A total of 18 passengers were evacuated safely and a geotechnical expert has been called to the scene to assess the landslide, Kent Live reported.  

The incident caused rail disruptions between Swanley and Maidstone East, which are expected to remain in place until the end of the day. 

Southeastern explained ‘a train has struck an obstruction on the line near West Malling, meaning trains can’t run in either direction between Otford and Maidstone East.’

The Southeastern service became unable to move on the track near to West Malling following reports of a landslide due to heavy thunderstorms and rain across Britain

The Southeastern service became unable to move on the track near to West Malling following reports of a landslide due to heavy thunderstorms and rain across Britain

The Southeastern service became unable to move on the track near to West Malling following reports of a landslide due to heavy thunderstorms and rain across Britain

It added that emergency response staff are currently at the scene and are working to clear the obstruction to allow the train to move forward.

They will then assess the extent of any damage to the line, a statement added.

Kent Fire and Rescue were reportedly at the scene alongside British Transport Police, Network Rail and Southeastern.   

It comes a day after a ScotRail train derailed and crashed on a ‘flood-hit’ line near Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire yesterday, killing three.

Chris Stuchbury, 62, died alongside train driver Brett McCullough, 45, and conductor Donald Dinnie, 58, when a service slipped from the tracks close to Carmont Railway station yesterday.

Six others were rushed to hospital following the crash, while four firefighters were injured while helping in the aftermath of the derailment.     

The train slipped from the tracks after hitting a landslip in the area, which had recently been hit by major flooding.

A total of 18 passengers were evacuated safely by police and a geotechnical expert has been called to the scene to assess the landslide

A total of 18 passengers were evacuated safely by police and a geotechnical expert has been called to the scene to assess the landslide

A total of 18 passengers were evacuated safely by police and a geotechnical expert has been called to the scene to assess the landslide

The incident caused rail disruptions between Swanley and Maidstone East, which are expected to remain in place until the end of the day

The incident caused rail disruptions between Swanley and Maidstone East, which are expected to remain in place until the end of the day

The incident caused rail disruptions between Swanley and Maidstone East, which are expected to remain in place until the end of the day

Today, track operator Network Rail announced that engineers will carry out detailed inspections of dozens of high-risk trackside slopes with similar characteristics to the site of the Aberdeenshire crash.

Meanwhile, in a visit to the site, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps claimed it was ‘far too soon’ to say whether cutbacks to Network Rail contributed to derailment.

His comments come as it was revealed National Rail had been warned about the network’s resilience to severe weather just four weeks before yesterday’s horror derailment.

Southeastern explained 'a train has struck an obstruction on the line near West Malling, meaning trains can't run in either direction between Otford and Maidstone East'

Southeastern explained 'a train has struck an obstruction on the line near West Malling, meaning trains can't run in either direction between Otford and Maidstone East'

Southeastern explained ‘a train has struck an obstruction on the line near West Malling, meaning trains can’t run in either direction between Otford and Maidstone East’

Investigators are today probing a horror derailment which killed three people after a train slipped from a 'flood-hit' line in Scotland - just four weeks after track operators were warned of a spike in dangerous landslips

Investigators are today probing a horror derailment which killed three people after a train slipped from a 'flood-hit' line in Scotland - just four weeks after track operators were warned of a spike in dangerous landslips

Investigators are today probing a horror derailment which killed three people after a train slipped from a ‘flood-hit’ line in Scotland – just four weeks after track operators were warned of a spike in dangerous landslips

Flames are pictured coming out of one of the carriages following the accident near Stonehaven yesterday morning

Flames are pictured coming out of one of the carriages following the accident near Stonehaven yesterday morning

Flames are pictured coming out of one of the carriages following the accident near Stonehaven yesterday morning

An annual health and safety report by rail safety watchdog, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), said there were six times more flooding events on Britain’s railways in 2019-20 than during the previous 12 months.

It also noted a spike in landslips, demonstrating the ‘vulnerability’ of the network, and criticised Network Rail’s plans to address climate change and extreme weather, which it said were ‘not keeping up with the frequency and severity of these events’.  

Network Rail has been contacted for comment. 

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