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Engineer suffers severe burns in fire near Ashford International station

An engineer suffered severe burns in a trackside fire which sparked travel chaos on the rail network.

Thousands of rail passengers were left stranded after the blaze near Ashford International station caused a power surge and huge disruption to services.

Smoke from the fire - which started in an electrical substation in Gasworks Lane - forced the evacuation of a Network Rail signalling box, sparking delays to numerous services last night.

The fire-hit substation
The fire-hit substation

Staff were able to return to the box once the smoke had cleared at 10.45pm, but the incident is still delaying passengers this morning.

The engineer was rushed to the William Harvey Hospital with serious burns to his arms and legs.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “There was a major incident at Godinton substation near Ashford at 8.30pm last night in which one of our engineers sustained severe injuries.

Smoke from the fire went across the town centre
Smoke from the fire went across the town centre

“The incident and subsequent fire meant trains couldn’t draw power between Ashford and Staplehurst.

“Once firefighters had dealt with the fire, our engineers worked through the night to repair the damaged power cables and get all lines reopened by 4am.

“We’re sorry for any further disruption this morning and would advise passengers to check with our colleagues at Southeastern before they travel.”

Inside the substation
Inside the substation

The air ambulance was called to the scene just after 9pm, but the engineer was taken to the William Harvey Hospital by road.

People living in the area were warned to keep doors and windows closed.

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