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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Katie Weston

Train bursts into flames forcing passengers to run for their lives as smoke fills sky

Dozens of passengers were forced to flee a burning Southeastern train at a station in Kent yesterday.

Footage shows loud bangs coming from the train as it bursts into flames, filling the sky with plumes of black smoke.

Sparks can be seen appearing from under the carriage as passengers rush off once the train's doors open at West Malling station.

Sonny Rae Smith, a 14-year-old who captured a video of the train, said: "There was an issue with the third carriage and then sparks started to appear.

"Eventually the carriage blew up in flames, but luckily no one was hurt."

Sparks can be seen appearing from under the carriage (UkNewsinPictures)

The incident happened shortly after 4pm on Thursday.

A Southeastern spokesman said on Friday: "A fire occurred underneath the 3.25pm London Victoria to Ashford International train yesterday evening.

"On becoming aware of the fire the driver took immediate action, safely stopping the train at West Malling station so passengers could be immediately evacuated.

"Emergency services attended the scene and put the fire out. No injuries were reported but our team offered support to people involved, both customers and staff.

"The safety of our passengers and staff remains our top priority and a full investigation will be carried out."

Passengers rushed off once the train's doors opened (UkNewsinPictures)
A Southeastern spokesman said passengers were immediately evaucated (UkNewsinPictures)

Network Rail engineers attended the site to inspect the railway line and ensure it was safe to use.

The footage comes as train driver members of Aslef and the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) left large parts of the country with no services today as they went on strike.

Operators such as Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, Northern and Southern are not running any trains.

And Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan even said he was delayed by "bloody rail strikes" as he arrived at a picket line outside London Euston station later than planned.

Asked how long the industrial action will continue, Mr Whelan replied: "What option do we have? If you haven't had a pay rise for four years, do you wait five? Do you wait six or seven?"

Negotiations with the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) - representing train operators - have "gone backwards", according to Mr Whelan.

Network Rail engineers attended the site to inspect the railway line and ensure it was safe to use (UkNewsinPictures)

He added: "Maybe they'll come with a different attitude next week. We don't know yet."

RDG chairman Steve Montgomery said negotiations with Aslef are "going backwards" and "the talks have not moved on as quickly as we'd like".

He told Sky News: "We all understand that we want to give our staff a pay increase, (it's) naturally important, particularly in these economic climates.

"But drivers' average wages are £60,000 at this moment. We are offering up to £65,000 over two years. That's quite a significant increase for people."

He apologised to passengers for the "very limited service" on Friday, and said the disruption would last "all day", with some services starting "slightly later" on Saturday.

Train drivers took part in the day of industrial action on Wednesday, which also involved teachers, university staff, civil servants, bus drivers and security guards.

About 1,900 members of Unite working as bus drivers for Abellio in London are completing a three-day strike on Friday in a separate dispute over pay.

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