WE are looking back at the day when the emergency services in Blackburn were on red alert after railway wagons carrying tons of a dangerous chemical crashed down an embankment in February 1979.

The incident was in the Griffin area of Blackburn and water authority officials had to assess the pollution damage from the caustic soda tankers.

There were fears that large amounts of the chemical could leak into the River Darwen, which flows just below Hollin Bridge Street or could just seep into drains.

British Rail held an inquiry but it was thought that the tankers ran free before crashing into buffers near Waterfall bridge.

Eyewitnesses said they heard a ‘terrible roar’ and how they seen the ‘tankers sliding down the banking.” A water authority spokesman said there appeared to be ‘little danger of pollution to the water course.”