Freight train laden with toxic chemicals derailed at Barry, South Wales
A freight train carrying 60 tonnes of liquid vinyl chloride monomer became derailed at Barry in the South of Wales on 27 December 1997. The last wagon in the train of nine tanker wagons, operated by the English Welsh & Scottish Railway (ESWR) toppled onto its side and was dragged along the track before the driver could bring his train to a halt. The train was still on Railtrack metals and was nearing its destination, the European Vinyl Corporation's centre when the accident occurred.
Up to a thousand people had to be evacuated from their homes "as a precautionary measure". They were not allowed to return until Tuesday December 29 after an operation to transfer the chemical from the derailed wagon had been completed. This was undertaken by EVC personnel with assistance from the local fire service. The chemical which would "boil" if it escaped from its container carries a risk of cancer to anyone exposed to it for a prolonged period.
The tanker wagon used to transport the material is specially strengthened and there was no spillage. The British Transport Police began an immediate investigation into the cause of the accident.
BBC Report (including pictures)
The London Times