Humberside and Louth Fire and Rescue crews are better prepared for dealing with a real life rail disaster following a joint training exercise at the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway.

Picture the scenario: a horse had supposedly been hit by a moving train near Ludborough Station causing injuries to many of the passengers on board who were thrown forward in the collision.

The two rescue teams were briefed when they arrived, and they had just a few minutes to plan their response. Eight fire officers from Louth and seven from Humberside worked together to assess the situation, evacuate passengers and remove the replica horse.

“Creating such a scenario on a working railway is extremely difficult and we are grateful to the LWR and the volunteers for helping us stage the training exercise at Ludborough station” said Martin Wade, Watch Manager for Humberside Fire and Rescue. “From our point of view it was a great opportunity for the Humberside and Louth teams to be able to work together”.

15 volunteers at Lincolnshire Wolds Railway were asked to play the part of the injured passengers on the train. Ken Ballard, who arrived for his first day volunteering there, was dropped in at the deep end. “When I heard there was a training exercise, I thought we would be practicing putting out fires on the train. Little did I know I would end up being carried off the train on a stretcher!” said Ken.

Another passenger in a wheelchair had to be carried by several firemen from the train along the trackbed to the platform. Other people supposedly suffered from leg fractures and concussion. Afterwards there was a de-briefing to find out what has been gained from the exercise.

“The Lincolnshire Wolds Railway is delighted to have been able to provide the facilities for the Humberside and Louth Fire & Rescue teams to be able to carry out the training exercise” said Leyland Penn, Chairman of the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway Society. “We want to do all we can to make the railway a safer place and we take the safety of the public who use our trains very seriously. The volunteers have learnt a great deal from this exercise and if an accident were to occur we now know we can safely evacuate passengers”.

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