TWO women have told how they were seconds from disaster on board two trains speeding towards each other.

The women were passengers on two Connex trains which narrowly avoided a head-on collision by 40 yards at St Mary Cray Junction.

The near miss came as the driver of the 3.44pm Faversham to Victoria train travelled through a red signal, but soon realised his mistake and braked heavily.

At the same time the driver of the 4.11pm Blackfriars to Sevenoaks train, saw his colleague stop and also slammed on the brakes.

Gwen Hookway of Clock House Road, Beckenham, was travelling on the 3.44pm train when it screeched to a sudden halt.

The 68-year-old said she panicked as she felt the train braking and saw the other train, which was on an adjacent track at the time, getting closer and closer.

If the Faversham to Victoria driver had not realised his mistake, his train would have joined the same track as the Sevenoaks train and a disaster may have occurred.

Mrs Hookway said: “We could have been killed or injured, especially as we were in the second carriage. I was very scared.

“I don't usually commute and the experience has put me off travelling.”

Ann Wilson, 35, from Clarendon Court, St Paul's Cray, was travelling from Bromley South to St Mary Cray on the 4.11pm train when it suddenly stopped. The mother-of-three, who was sitting in the first carriage, said: “It was sweltering hot, no-one told us what was going on and no-one has apologised. It's disgusting.”

“Luckily, I didn't see how close we were to the other train. If we did, there would have been blind panic.”

A Connex spokesman confirmed the near miss had occurred and there would be a full enquiry held jointly by the company and Railtrack. He said: “We've made a mistake and we are sorry about the inconvenience we have caused.

“Both drivers were tested for drugs and alcohol and have been cleared, though as a matter of routine they have been relieved of driving duties.” The signal was tested and was not found to be at fault and the health and safety executive has launched an investigation into the incident.