A two-coach train on the direct Gloucester to Fishguard service struck cattle a few miles short of the Harbour on Thursday evening. Passengers were shocked but unharmed. Some cows were killed as the front coach derailed. The rear coach remained on the track.
The train left Clarbeston Road on schedule at 18.27. About ten minutes later passengers heard the driver sound the horn repeatedly before braking hard. “You could feel the train sliding on the track” passenger Tony Evans told BBC Wales. “The driver did exceptionally well in what could have been a very nasty accident. On the left side of the train three must have been a 60 or 70 foot drop, and we were very fortunate.”
Network Rail say they are taking this incident very seriously. Mark Langman, Route Managing Director at Network Rail says “a detailed investigation is already underway. We are grateful that none of the staff and passengers on the train was hurt. We are working closely with British Transport Police, Arriva Trains Wales and the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) to understand the sequence of events that took place. We believe the cows entered the railway via a footpath level crossing where repairs had been conducted within the last few weeks. The train has now been re-railed and moved to another location, where it will be inspected by the ORR. The line is expected to be re-opened ready for scheduled services on Sunday afternoon.”
At the point where the train ploughed into the cattle, the line follows the valley of the Western Cleddau, a mile or two west of Letterston. Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service confirmed they had helped 29 passengers from the train and then on to a bus to Fishguard. Police, fire appliances and a vet were also at the scene.
Arriva Trains Wales initially expected the line to remain closed until late night on Friday 13th, with buses and taxis operating between Carmarthen or Clarbeston Road as required. Follow the link on this page under Transport Wales to Arriva LIVE SERVICE INFORMATION for the latest position.
UPDATE July 16th
Fishguard Trains is seeking replies to these questions from the Office of Rail Regulation:
To Customer Correspondence Team
Office of Rail Regulation
INCIDENT AT WELSH HOOK
Further to your earlier acknowledgment, Fishguard Trains would appreciate comments on these three questions:
1 did seven cows die in the incident?
2 Network Rail have stated “We believe the cows entered the railway via a footpath level crossing where repairs had been conducted within the last few weeks.” In addition to level crossing works, has Network Rail recently undertaken fencing works at Welsh Hook?
3 is there evidence that cattle pressed through newly-installed fencing?