'Hero' train driver averts disaster in tunnel

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The train driver who helped prevent a disaster in London on Friday when a tunnel was pierced with a huge drill has been hailed a hero.

The driver of the First Capital Connect 10.02 Moorgate to Welwyn Garden City service with passengers on board saw muddy water pouring onto the roof of the train north of Old Street station.

He immediately reported the incident and all rail services were stopped.

An empty train with another driver and a Network Rail manager were sent to investigate and found a piling drill from the building site above the tunnel which has broken through the roof and crashed onto the line.

The driver told the control room: 'There was a tremendous amount of flashing... like a huge Roman candle.'

A senior rail source said: 'If that drill had hit a crowded train the consequences do not bear thinking about. There could have been serious loss of life.'

Neal Lawson, managing director of train operator First Capital Connect, said: 'This could have ended very differently had it not been for the vigilance and prompt actions of our drivers.

'We carry two million passengers a year on the Northern City line [from Moorgate] and whoever is responsible for this must be held to account.'

According to the Evening Standard, British Transport Police visited an office construction site above the tunnel, which is not connected to any work on the railway.

Engineers from Network Rail worked around the clock to seal the roof with a metre-thick concrete plug.

The tracks were flooded, causing electrics and signals to fail. Services resumed on Monday but many trains were diverted to King's Cross during the morning rush hour.

Image: First Capital Connect

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