Published on : Saturday, September 20, 2014
In a frantic effort passengers had to be rescued from a train after it became trapped in flood water during a stormy night in southern England. Ninety people on board the train, which got stuck near Corsham, Wiltshire, were trapped for four hours.
Lightning also struck across Bristol and in Wiltshire, Dorset and Devon three homes were badly damaged.
The First Great Western service travelling between London Paddington and Swansea became stranded in the flood shortly after 01:00 BST on Friday at Pound Pill in Corsham. The train came to a halt in a cutting where water was up to 1m-deep (3ft) in places within the space of an hour.
Passenger Robin Matthews, said: “We were about 20 minutes outside of Swindon and all of a sudden there were bright flashes in the sky followed by thunder and it got louder and louder.”
He added the storm was “very, very close and the windows started rattling” when the service “came to a complete halt”.
The driver announced that there was signal failure and he had to stop.
The Met office said there had been between 0.4 and 0.8in (10 and 20mm) of rainfall over a four- hour period on Friday morning. Wiltshire Fire and Rescue received more than 200 calls for assistance from 21:00 BST on Thursday.
Claremont Residential home in Corsham had a power cut and was also flooded during the storm.
In Steeple Ashton the high street was hit by flash flooding. In Melksham, Wiltshire, one house was struck by lightning causing “significant damage” to the roof and loft space.
In Wootton Fitzpaine, near Lyme Regis, Dorset another house was seriously damaged. In Honiton, east Devon, the roof of a house caught fire after it was struck by lightning. Western Power Distribution said about 300 properties in the South West had been temporarily affected by power cuts due to the storms. Several apartments were flooded in Dawlish, Devon, after a heavy downpour overnight.