Crews stay cool as loco goes up in smoke

PUBLISHED: 12:27 21 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:21 03 March 2010

FIFTEEN firefighters were called out to tackle a blaze aboard a locomotive outside Ipswich Railway Station.

FIFTEEN firefighters were called out to tackle a blaze aboard a locomotive outside Ipswich Railway Station.

The driver of the Freightliner diesel engine from Ipswich to Felixstowe noticed a problem soon after it set off.

He brought it to a halt and the engine was shunted across to the sidings to avoid the danger of interfering with overhead electric cables as the blaze took hold.

It was thought the fire was caused by an electrical fault.

Three fire crews from Ipswich attended the incident close to industrial properties in Ranelagh Road yesterday afternoon, and squeezed through the surrounding embankment to reach the tracks.

Firefighters quickly brought the flames under control, although they remained at the scene for more than an hour as smoke billowed out of the undercarriage.

Sub-officer Pat Dacey, of Suffolk Fire Service, said: "The train was well alight when we arrived and, as it was on the main line, our first priority was for the other rail traffic and so we shunted it to the side of the tracks.

"The flames were coming from underneath the carriage and we were faced with the hazardous situation of a fire contained within a large compartment."

The male driver of the train, who was the only person aboard when the blaze began, was unhurt in the incident.

A spokeswoman for the 47323 Freightliner Services train which was built in Crewe, praised the quick actions of the driver and said the locomotive had most likely suffered an "overheating" problem.

"The driver realised the fault straightaway and because it was detected quickly, there was minimal disruption to the line. We will examine the damage to the engine and take it from there," she said.

Peter Meades, of Anglia Railways, said train services into and out of Ipswich had not been affected by the incident.

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