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`Bone breaker' train in crash.

Byline: Phil Hazlewood

TWO people suffered broken bones and 29 others were slightly injured yesterday when a train carrying 400 rail enthusiasts on a nostalgia tour hit the buffers at a seaside station.

One person was taken to hospital with broken ribs while another sustained a broken leg in the incident, which happened at Walton on the Naze in Essex. The trip, organised by Gloucestershire-based Pathfinder Tours, was billed as the Bone Breaker Railtour and as a ``farewell'' to Class 58 locomotives before they are decommissioned.

Class 58s are nicknamed ``Bones'' while Pathfinder Tours said ``Breaker'' referred to them being sent to the scrapyard.

The firm's managing director Peter Watts said: ``It was a play on words. There was no significance until this afternoon.''

The service, which left Crewe at 5.30am and had been due to return to the North-West at 10.55pm, was only travelling at about 10mph at the time of the accident Most injuries were minor and caused by people standing up waiting to disembark.

Local doctors and paramedics from Essex Ambulance Service treated 29 people at the scene.

Mr Watts said day-trippers of all ages had been on-board, adding: ``As far as I'm aware, the train was just pulling up normally to the station but for some reason it hit the buffers at a very low speed.

``People were standing up to get off and a few of them took a tumble. Thank God it wasn't a major incident and everyone is pretty much OK.''

Pathfinder Tours has been running day excursions using rolling stock and locomotives from the 1960s and 70s since 1973.

Most services are on routes not normally used by service trains run by the main train operators.

Today's trip cost passengers up to pounds 58 and used Class 58s and carriages from train operator EWS.

It was the first time Pathfinder Tours had been to Walton on the Naze since the late 1980s.

Passengers scheduled to take the trip back to the Midlands and the North-West of England this afternoon were using normal services, he added.

One passenger, Bob Johnston, an executive member for transport for the Vale of the White Horse District Council, joined the tour at Banbury, Oxfordshire.

Mr Johnston, who was sitting down when the accident happened, said: ``I heard a loud bang and my bag fell across the carriage.

``We were only supposed to stay in Walton for nine minutes and I did not realise this was literally a `bone breaker'.''

Walton on the Naze station was the scene of a similar accident in August, 1987 when part of the station was demolished after a train crashed into the buffers at 50mph.

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NOW STANDING: Enthusiasts leave the train Picture: STEFAN ROUSSEAU
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 27, 2002
Words:456
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