A TRAIN driver coming into Potters Bar station on the day of the fatal rail crash feared he was going to hit the derailed train which was “tumbling” towards the station at high speed.

Alan Williams was driving the train heading into London on May 10, 2002, when he saw the train coming in the opposite direction leave the rails and crash.

He slammed on the brakes to avoid a collision with the back carriage, which had flipped sideways and was rolling towards the platform.

He said: “As I was coming into the platform, I saw him (the other train) coming towards me. There was sparks and loads of dust coming up off the train.

“I pushed the emergency button as I saw the rear coach tumbling towards me across all the island platforms.

“It was coming at me very fast. My immediate thought was that it was going to hit me. I did an emergency brake stop hoping I would stop before it hit me.”

The two trains did not collide because the detached carriage crashed into the canopy over the platforms at Potters Bar Station, bringing it to a halt.

The carriage had broken off from the rest of the train around 150m south of the station, after going over defecting points which caused it to come off the rails.

Six passengers and one pedestrian were killed in the crash, and 76 others were left with injuries, some of which had long-lasting effects.

Dr Beatrice Boctor, who gave evidence to the inquest into the deaths today, said she had been in a coma for a month because of the injuries in the crash.

She said: “My lung collapsed and I was unconscious for a month after that. I had to be on a long-term rehabilitation unit for five months in Cambridge.”

Speaking about the aftermath of the crash, she said: “I think I was down on the floor, and luggage started falling on me – I was completely hidden by luggage.

“It was chaos, it was mayhem. The next thing I remember is being on a stretcher on the platform.”

Mr Williams, immediately after bringing his train to a halt at Potters Bar, set about warning the signal operators at King's Cross and other drivers, and evacuated passengers fearing there could be another crash.

He said: “I made an announcement to just leave the train and make their way outside to the platform.

“I was worried someone else was going to come down on the fast line and plough into us.”

Gordon Gibson, driver of the stricken train, and rail safety inspector Roger Badger had also set about warning other trains of the danger, although they were hampered by the loss of power to the area surround the station after the overhead power cables were damaged in the crash.

The inquest, set to last two months at the Spirella Building in Letchworth, is due to continue tomorrow with testimony from pedestrians who were under the bridge that was hit by the derailed carriage.