A harrowing train crash, which saw seven passengers killed, happened because a car was driven onto the tracks in front of it in a sobering suicide attempt.
The horrifying incident took place in Ufton Nervet, Berkshire 18 years ago today (November 6, 2004), and the effects of which are still felt today.
It happened when an InterCity 125 train was travelling from London Paddington to Plymouth just after 5.30pm.
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At 6.12pm, it collided with a car which had been driven onto the automatic level crossing near the West Berkshire village of Ufton Nervet.
All eight coaches on the train derailed, stretching back around 220 metres.
It stopped about 100 metres after the crossing, and seven people were tragically killed.
The train driver, the motorist and five passengers sadly lost their lives.
Another 66 people were injured, with 180 on board in total – and shockingly, it was later ruled that many lives were saved because of the “high structural integrity” of the train coaches.
Emergency services from five counties attended, including 20 ambulances and 14 fire engines.
Windows were smashed so that passengers could escape, with the vast majority of injured people being taken to the Royal Berkshire and North Hampshire hospitals for treatment – which some were actually treated on-site at a nearby pub.
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One of those on the train, Mario Iotti, told the BBC after the crash: “At first it felt like we were going over a bump, like hitting something. A couple of seconds later the train tilted.
“You felt something was definitely not right.
“I heard the noise of the wheels screeching very loud. There was broken glass all over the track.
“The whole thing tilted to the left side of the tracks. My carriage remained on the tracks but on its side, sliding along.
“I could see some people at the side of the tracks. I saw one carriage smashed in completely. It was a big pile of wreckage.”
It took 10 days for the line to reopen, but it only did so with temporary speed restrictions in place.
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The train was written off.
An investigation into the crash found that the man in the car was Brian Drysdale.
The chef had parked his car in the spot deliberately, and died by suicide.
His death saw train driver Stanley Martin, 54, teenager Emily Webster, 14, Anjanette Rossi, 38, and her daughter Louella Main, nine, Leslie ‘Charlie’ Matthews, 72, and Barry Strevens, 55, also killed.
It was later revealed that Mr Drysdale was “troubled” and took drugs to “calm down”.
A colleague, who spoke to the Evening Standard in 2012, said: “Brian was a heavy drug user. He must have blown a fortune.
“He was usually skint and scruffily dressed.
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“He used to get very stressed and rely on drugs to calm down.
“He would have a smoke every single day – it was part of his life he didn't keep secret.
“His head mustn't have been right to do this – the drugs may have put his head out.”
A memorial was set up for the victims near the site, called the Ufton Nervet Memorial Area of Reflection.
The crossing was replaced by a bridge, which opened in December 2016 after a petition was set up to replace the crossing.
This was done in response to four more suicide deaths taking place at the crossing – in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014.
A 2012 incident caused the driver over an InterCity 125 train driver to suffer an injury.
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