'The buffet roof had been pulled off like a sardine can'

The passenger
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The Independent Online

It started off as a perfectly normal journey. I was towards the front of the train and around 20 minutes into the journey I felt the carriage suddenly lurch and it was clear it was coming off the tracks and had derailed and was skidding along on the gravel.

It started off as a perfectly normal journey. I was towards the front of the train and around 20 minutes into the journey I felt the carriage suddenly lurch and it was clear it was coming off the tracks and had derailed and was skidding along on the gravel.

People were mouthing to one another: "What's going on? What's going on?"

We braced ourselves and people were looking around. There was a jolt and the train was slowing but there was not any impact. I braced myself against the table in front me but in the end there was not any impact to brace against.

The windows were being smashed and it took about 20 seconds. It was long enough for me to realise I was in an accident. At first we didn't think it was anything major at all. There was no blood, no one was visibly injured but people were clearly shocked and terrified.

I was at the centre of the train so I was lucky. We just opened the door and jumped out. It was only when we were outside that we realised how serious it was. We could see the damage.

Carriages had come off their bogies and were lying on their side. I walked past the buffet car and the roof had been pulled off as if it was a sardine can. We walked past and we could see the debris - mangled seats, people's handbags and newspapers - further down I was told you could see dead bodies lying by the rails.

People were shaken and we exchanged comments, trying to work out what had happened. It looked like the rear carriage had jumped the tracks and dragged other carriages off and there had been a whiplike effect with carriages crashing into the gantries.

There was a guy with a broken leg still inside the train and two people with severe gashes. The first-class carriages had completely come off the rails.

A doctor came down and said that one of the kitchen staff was inside and had suffered a broken leg. The doctor crawled inside the carriage and along the corridor to get to him.

I was told by somebody who has been down there that there was at least one body. He saw a person lying next to the train.

The damage to the train was so severe that I wouldn'tbe surprised if there were more. A GNER woman said six of her colleagues were still missing.

There was a lot of debris on the track. People were very disorientated and we did not really know what was happening. I have seen people coming off on stretchers, being taken away by ambulance. I have to say that the staff on the train responded very quickly.

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