Woman Dies In Train Fire

A 43 year old woman's died in a fire on a train travelling from Northampton to London.

Police have told Heart that they were called to the fire, which broke out in a toilet cubical on a London Midland train near Leighton Buzzard, just after 5pm on Monday 11 April 2011.

The West Coast Main Line was blocked and there was massive disruption on the line - London Midland, Southern and Virgin trains were all affected.

London Midland say all the other passengers evacuated safely at Leighton Buzzard.

Anne Farthing, 49, saw the burning train from her flat which overlooks the track in Leighton Buzzard.

She said "I looked out of the window and saw thick smoke that was like a fog.

"The train was going from Northampton to London and when it got to the station, for some reason it reversed  back up the track under the bridge. The other passengers must have got out there and walked up the track."

Another local resident, Anne Westwood, 72, said "I was cooking a backed potato and could smell burning. At first I thought that was what was on fire.

"I looked out of the window down to the track and saw thick yellow smoke."

Sheila Smith, 68, said "The smoke was so thick it got onto your chest.

The fire, police and ambulance service were hear very quickly."

The train was still in position just north of Leighton Buzzard station hours after the tragedy.

British Transport Police said it would be moved to sidings for a full forensic examination of the scene.

Builder Sean Biddle 35 said "I was trying to get back from Euston to Leighton Buzzard but it was chaos. The lines were shut out of Euston. In the end I had to get a train from St Pancras to Luton and get a bus home."

The alarm was raised on board the train when other passengers in the carriage realised smoke was coming from the toilet cubicle.

A spokeswoman for the ambulance service said by the time a crew got into the carriage the woman was dead at the scene.

A fireman was treated for a minor burn at the scene.

A forensic examination of the train was taking place on Tuesday 12 April.

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