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Enthusiasts offered compensation

PUBLISHED: 15:00 27 August 2002 | UPDATED: 12:31 03 March 2010

COMPENSATION is to be offered to 400 passengers on a rail nostalgia tour after their train ran into the buffers, injuring at least 20 people.

Investigations were today underway into the accident at Walton on the Naze station in Essex which saw one person suffered a suspected broken rib and another sustained a gash to the head after the train hit the buffers at Walton on the Naze station in Essex yesterday.

COMPENSATION is to be offered to 400 passengers on a rail nostalgia tour after their train ran into the buffers, injuring at least 20 people.

Investigations were today underway into the accident at Walton on the Naze station in Essex which saw one person suffered a suspected broken rib and another sustained a gash to the head after the train hit the buffers at Walton on the Naze station in Essex yesterday.

The train was understood to have been travelling at "less than 5mph" when the accident happened although many people on board were jolted as they were standing and getting ready to get off.

The accident comes 15 years to the month after a train crashed wreaked havoc at exactly the same spot when a train ploughed through barriers, destroying part of the seaside station.

Nine people were injured in that accident, including one woman who suffered a broken ankle.

Peter Watts – managing director of Pathfinder Tours, the Gloucestershire-based company that organised yesterday's trip for the rail enthusiasts – said that this was the first time Pathfinder had experienced an accident like this in its 29-year history.

He described the incident as "minor though regrettable". He said only five per cent of people on board were treated for minor cuts and bruises.

The two people who suffered a suspected broken rib and a gashed head were taken to a cottage hospital in Walton but were allowed to go home yesterday.

He added that, along with the relevant authorities, he was gathering all the facts about the accident to relay to his customers, whom he described as regular clients.

One had already emailed him, thanking staff for the way in which they handled "a very difficult and confusing situation", he said, quoting the email.

Ironically, the trip had been billed as the 'Bonebreaker Railtour' - meaning a farewell to Class 58 locomotives known as 'bones' before they are scrapped or taken to the breaker's yard.

Mr Watts added that compensation would be offered to the passengers as their journey from Crewe to Colchester came to a premature end – and the amount of compensation would reflect the nature of the end to the trip.

"We look after our passengers, don't worry about that, we know them to well and they know us too well. Hopefully we won't have another incident like this," he said.

A spokesman for freight operator EWS, who owned the locomotive, said that it would work with Railtrack to establish what happened yesterday, including downloading information from the loco's 'black box'.

He added that the locomotive was one of three still working from the 50 originally manufactured.

They will be put in storage after another nostalgia tour next weekend which he "presumed" would be going ahead as planned, depending on the results of the enquiry.

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