May 22 2013 Latest news:
Robin Cottle, Reporter
Thursday, June 14, 2012
More than 200 people had to be evacuated after a fire under a train between Lee and Mottingham last night.
The blaze damaged part of the first coach in the eight carriage train and the brigade were called at 9.20. It is believed it began under the driver’s cabin.
Firefighters led 70 people along the track side to nearby Mottingham station while the remaining 130 made their own way.
Roads close to the scene were closed off including the A20, a major road into London which caused severe delays.
Bob Pavey, 65, was heading to his home in Sidcup with his wife and children.
He said: “As the train went over a bridge, there was suddenly a loud noise, like a bang, all the lights went out and then we could smell burning.
“The lights suddenly came on again and we could see smoke filling the carriage. Everyone looked very worried but no one panicked on the train.”
Mr Pavey said passengers were told to wait in a nearby pub, the Dutch House in Sidcup Lane, to wait for a replacement bus service to take them to their destinations.
Train operator Southeastern said all passengers were reported clear by 9.40 and the fire was completely out by 9.55.
Passengers had to walk along the line and through a metal gate before heading down an embankment to get to safety.
Mr Pavey said: “As we walked along the track I could not see any fire or smoke coming out of any other part of the train so, whatever it was, must have happened at the front of the train.
“The emergency services were on the scene very quickly and were extremely helpful, and I didn’t see anyone being taken away in an ambulance although there were paramedics ready.”
A British Transport Police (BTP) spokesman said: “BTP and Met officers attended the line near to Mottingham train station after a report of a train on fire.
“No injuries were reported as a result of the fire and the cause is under investigation.”
Crews from Lee Green, Eltham and Downham stations attended the blaze.
The train was the 8.52 from London Charing Cross to Gravesend on the Sidcup Line.
Anyone with any information about the cause of the fire should contact BTP quoting incident number 630 and the time and date.