London: Over 70 people escaped unhurt when a passenger train in the UK derailed after colliding with a heard of cows, killing five of them.
One carriage from an eight-coach train which was travelling from London Charing Cross to Ramsgate came off the rails when the herd was struck by the train in Kent last night, according to operator Southeastern.
No passengers were injured.
Over 70 passengers were helped to safety and Network Rail has shut the line. A spokesman said five cows had been killed in the accident.
Network Rail said it had received a report of a stray cow on the line about an hour before the derailment.
That report was investigated but nothing was found.
It has also emerged that after the collision, the train driver jumped out of the cab and ran down the track to halt an approaching train because he had realised his radio had stopped working.
Southeastern said the driver then contacted the signaller through the radio of the second train to switch off the power to the lines.
The collision is being investigated by British Transport Police (BTP) and rail accident investigators have been told.
Police said they could not comment on who owned the cows while the investigation was ongoing.
Southeastern's managing director David Statham said the track, culverts and embankments on the railway had been damaged.
He said investigations would look into whether there had been earlier sightings of cattle on the line.
The line between Ashford and Ramsgate via Canterbury West will remain closed until Wednesday.
Buses have replaced trains on that stretch of line.
"We do need to make sure that Network Rail are doing all they can to keep line-side fencing secure and also that local farmers do all they can to make sure the railway is secure and livestock don't end up on the track," said Statham.
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Updated Date: Jul 28, 2015 11:52:14 IST