Full investigation into how freight train derailed and caught fire in Llangennech begins

The investigation into how a freight train derailed and caught fire in Llangennech has begun. British Transport Police, Network Rail and Natural Resources Wales have now been allowed to move onto the site where three carriages of a freight train carrying a large amount of diesel went up in a ball of flames in the village, near Llanelli, just before 11.20pm on Wednesday (August 26). The blaze could be seen from miles around and hundreds of people in the area were evacuated from their homes.

Two workers were on the train but were not injured and raised the alarm. An evacuation zone was put in place and police contacted residents and asked them to go to Bryn School and Llangennech Community Centre. They were allowed back into their homes at around 5.30am. 

On Friday morning, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service issued a statement that the blaze had now been extinguished.

Drone footage from the scene of a train fire in Llangennech near Llanelli shows the aftermath of the incident Smoke billows near Llangennech after a the diesel train caught fire

A statement read: "Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have extinguished the fire, involving a freight train, near Pontarddulais Road, Llangennech. "Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service handed over the scene to British Transport Police and Network Rail at 08.30am on Friday, August 28."

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It means British Transport Police and Network Rail can now move onto the scene and start their work.  British Transport Police Inspector, Mike Edwards, said: "Overnight and this morning our officers have continued working with our partners to respond to the major incident on the railway line near Llangennech.

"Colleagues from Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have extinguished the fire and we are now progressing the investigation at the scene with Office of Rail and Road and the Rail Accident Investigation Branch. "I can reassure those in the local community that we have worked hard with partners to make the scene of the incident safe. "This has enabled colleagues at Natural Resources Wales and their specialist teams to fully assess the environmental impact and advise DB Cargo and Network Rail when the clean-up of the site can begin."

Network Rail confirmed it had now been given access to the site of the derailed train.

Bill Kelly of Network Rail Oil has been spotted in the river at Loughor Boating Club

Network Rail's Wales director, Bill Kelly, said: "This morning Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue allowed Network Rail, DB Cargo and Puma Energy access to the site of the derailed fuel train.      "Network Rail are fully supporting DB Cargo and Puma Energy to have unhindered access to the trains to prevent any further pollution.    "Adler and Allen, world leading environmental specialists, have been on site since yesterday to provide specialist advice on the short and long-term clean-up operations that will be required.  

"Last night Network Rail supported the installation of a boom to help stop the flow of diesel into the surrounding environment." He said the environment recovery plan would be influenced by Natural Resources Wales' environmental impact assessment and the unique needs of the local ecology, geology, marine and wildlife.   "We will support this plan in full whilst working to re-open the railway."

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) says it is working closely with partners to assess and advise on the environmental impact of the incident. Officers are on site to advise the containment and recovery of the diesel to prevent any further pollution of the Loughor Estuary. The Wales Environment Group has convened and is working to actively monitor and model the impacts on the environment and public health.

This information is used to guide the actions of organisations in minimising the impacts on people and nature. Cockle beds and shell fisheries have been closed as a precaution, following advice from the Food Standards Agency. Ben Wilson, incident manager for Natural Resources Wales, said: "We're doing everything in our power to mitigate the impacts of this incident.

Our priority at this time is to work with our partners at the incident scene to contain the diesel spill and prevent it from polluting the Loughor Estuary any further. "We also have monitoring teams out assessing the extent of the pollution. Their work will help the multi-agency Wales Environment Group to assess the wider environmental impact at sites such as the local fisheries and bathing water sites, and any effect on wildlife in the area.

"Initial modelling suggests that oil pollution is currently restricted to the upper reaches of the estuary around Loughor Bridge. This is supported by observations on site. We've also seen significant amounts of oil three miles downstream from here.

"We're also keeping partner organisations and people who have interests within the area, such as farmers and cockle licence holders, informed of the situation."

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