Railway line reopens after averted “environmental disaster”

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A railway line reopened after a six-month operation to avoid a “total environmental disaster”, Rail network noted.

The derailment of a freight train at Llangennech, near Llanelli in South Wales, on August 26th caused a huge fire and the spill of around 350,000 liters of diesel.

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A wildlife conservation area and waterways were of great concern when the accident occurred.

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Rail network, Natural Resources Wales and other organizations contributed a total of 37,500 man hours to protect the local environment, remove the 25 train cars and repair the damaged railway line.

This included 30,000 tons of fuel soaked soil excavated and replaced with clean material, while nearly 1,740 feet of new track was laid.

The closed section of the railway was at the southern end of the Heart of Wales line, which runs from Shrewsbury to Swansea.

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Freight services resumed on Friday, with passenger trains returning on Monday.

Network Rail Route Director Bill Kelly said the project was “one of the largest environmental salvage operations Network Rail has ever participated in.”

He continued, “It is thanks to our quick thinking frontline teams, as well as our partner agencies, that the fuel spill was able to be contained so quickly, allowing us to avoid what could have been. a total environmental disaster.

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“Our teams have worked tirelessly over the past six months and their dedication has paid off.

“We can say with confidence that the measures we have taken will protect the local environment for generations to come.”

Natural Resources Wales compared the scale of the incident to the 1996 Sea Empress disaster, in which an oil tanker spilled 72,000 tonnes of crude oil and hundreds of tonnes of fuel when it ran aground off the coast of the Pembrokeshire coast.

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Martyn Evans, who chairs her recovery coordination group, described the reopening of the railroad as “a milestone in what has been a complex, difficult and ultimately successful recovery operation in a location of international environmental significance.”

Lee Waters, member of Senedd for Llanelli, said: “When we first visited the site after the derailment it was like a disaster movie, but every time I have come back since it has become clear. to see the amount of effort expended. save the environment and restore the railroad.

The train, owned by DB Cargo United Kingdom, was traveling from the Robeston oil refinery in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, to a fuel distribution terminal in Theale, Berkshire, when the accident occurred,

The derailment caused several explosions, leading to the declaration of a major incident and the evacuation of 300 people from their homes.

The Railway Accident Investigation Branch released a preliminary report in September 2020 indicating that some of the train’s wheels were damaged by a brake defect after a component came loose.

Investigators said there was “no record of checking the tightness of the bindings.”

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