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Sunday, November 23, 2014

fire forces evacuation at Charing Cross Railway Station at London

At first sight, one may not recognise it to be a Railway station. Some stations are busy – as so many trains traverse and thousands commute.  Remember that there was Moore market on the place where the present suburban Railway station called Moore Market Railway stands now near Central Railway Station, in Chennai, Charing Cross now stands on a market known as Hungerford Market  that  existed in two different buildings on the same site, the first built in 1682, the second in 1862.  The house had burned down in 1669  and was replaced by a new Italianate market building by Charles Fowler, which opened in 1833. The new market was unsuccessful. It was damaged when the adjoining Hungerford Hall burned down in 1854, and was sold to the South Eastern Railway in 1862. Charing Cross railway station was built on the site and opened in 1864.

The original station building was built on the site of the Hungerford Market by the South Eastern Railway and opened on 11 January 1864. The station was designed by Sir John Hawkshaw, with a single span wrought iron roof arching over the six platforms on its relatively cramped site. It is built on a brick arched viaduct, the level of the rails above the ground varying from 13 feet at the north-east end to 27 feet at the bridge abutment at the south-east end. A year later the Charing Cross Hotel, designed by Edward Middleton Barry, opened on 15 May 1865 and gave the station an ornate frontage in the French Renaissance style.

BBC and other agencies reported that dramatic fire forced evacuation of London's Charing Cross station today, after 'loud screech and big bang' when train pulled into platform.  Charing Cross  in central London, gives its name to several local landmarks, including Charing Cross railway station, one of the main London rail terminals. Charing Cross railway station, is a central London railway terminus in the City of Westminster, England. It is one of 19 stations managed by Network Rail and all regular trains serving it are operated by Southeastern. It is the fifth busiest rail terminal in London.

It is reported that fire started around front carriage of train which had pulled into station  London Fire Brigade said 5% of one carriage was alight on platform six but this was put out. No-one is thought to have been injured in the blaze. South Eastern Trains said the cause of the fire was an electrical fault. Network Rail said disruption was expected to last for a few hours. British Transport Police said there were no suspicious circumstances.

Transport for London said the Underground station was closed for about 15 minutes before reopening. The fire brigade was called and the fire was put out soon afterwards.  Passengers were on the platform when the fire took hold, and were swiftly evacuated.  According to a witness, the train had not  braked properly and had gone into the big buffer at the end of the track. Though there a lot of flames and flashing lights as well, reports suggest that people tried to stay calm even as some onlookers fled fearing a huge blast. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

23rd Nov 2014 @ 19.00 hrs.

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