Rail Accidents needed for Discovery Documentary

Status
Not open for further replies.

TomDocumentary

New Member
Joined
31 Jul 2012
Messages
4
Hi everyone,

I am researching for a television production for the Discovery Channel about the exciting engineering behind train systems around the world. I am currently looking for incidents / accidents that have occurred because of:

A) Broken/rotten sleepers
B) Overloaded trains

Does anyone know of any examples of where accidents have occurred (either on freight or passenger trains) for either of the above reasons? I am looking for examples where archive footage of the incident or aftermath of the incident may exist. Also the more recent the incident the better.

Thank you very much for your help!
 
Last edited:
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

thedbdiboy

Member
Joined
10 Sep 2011
Messages
561
I'm not aware of a single incident in the history of UK railways where an accident was caused by overcrowding (and this is based on a fairly comprehensive knowledge going back to the dawn of railways). I can't comment worldwide, but in general whilst the degree of crowding may have an impact on the casualties, the laws of physics as applied to full sized railways mean that overcrowding per se generally cannot precipitate an accident (unlike, for example, with aircraft).

Regarding rotten sleepers, there have been many incidents caused by condition of track, but the majority tend to be on slow speed and freight lines as by definition, the risk in such cases is normally of damage to material. Where passenger lines are concerned the level of inspection required is very much higher. Of the three significant accidents of recent times in the UK caused by track condition, two (Grayrigg and Potters Bar) were caused by inadequately maintained points whilst one was caused by a phenomenon known as 'gauge corner cracking' (a form of fatigue) - Hatfield.

The only passenger derailment I can recall involving a passenger train in recent times where the basic condition of the track was considered poor was a low speed derailment on the Wimbledon - Sutton line caused by the track spreading - a classic sign of weak sleepers. This was a few years ago, and I think will struggle to set pulses racing.
 

TomDocumentary

New Member
Joined
31 Jul 2012
Messages
4
Hi,

Thanks very much for your message. I am actually just as interested in incidents involving freight trains as well. Do you know of any of these?
 

daikilo

Established Member
Joined
2 Feb 2010
Messages
1,606
Hi,

Thanks very much for your message. I am actually just as interested in incidents involving freight trains as well. Do you know of any of these?

I seem to remember quite a few cases of passenger trains overloaded in the mid 19th century leading to inadequate braking capability. This could be either too many people or additional unbraked coaches added. Good book is Red light for danger by LTC Rolt or check out this website:
http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/eventlisting.php
 

richw

Established Member
Joined
10 Jun 2010
Messages
10,015
Location
Liskeard
wikipedia has a list of all british rail disasters, try a read through them to see if any are suitable for your research, and follow up on the specific accidents
 

Bald Rick

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Sep 2010
Messages
17,238
The only passenger derailment I can recall involving a passenger train in recent times where the basic condition of the track was considered poor was a low speed derailment on the Wimbledon - Sutton line caused by the track spreading - a classic sign of weak sleepers. This was a few years ago, and I think will struggle to set pulses racing.

That derailment was on brand new track which moved to the outside of a tight curve in hot weather. Sleepers were fine.
 

furryfeet

Member
Joined
17 Apr 2008
Messages
449
Derailment of a coal train at Dent Head about 10 years ago, after the track had "spread".
There may well be footage on youtube of the aftermath.
Since then Railtrack has invested many millions on the S & C infrastructure, including the track and sleepers, so the chances of this happening again are slim.
 
Joined
9 Feb 2009
Messages
801
As far as the thread is concerned, if you are asking on an internet forum rather than actually researching through the wide range of books, newspaper articles, the RAIB website etc. available then I really think you should be considering a new job - it is no wonder that so many TV documentaries are so thin on fact and full of dumbed down sensationalism:roll:
 

185

Established Member
Joined
29 Aug 2010
Messages
3,963
It's worth noting, in the UK, one of the safest railways in the world, there is (maybe worringly) no human capacity number for rail vehicles, unlike buses and road transport.

I genuinely can't think of one derailment incident, recent or historic related to too many passengers.

Passing out, diabetic/epilepsy related incidents and overheating are the only real concerns.

I would suspect there are plenty of freight / overloading incidents worldwide (where maybe brakes would not hold the weight downhill).
 

DaveNewcastle

Established Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
21 Dec 2007
Messages
7,387
Location
Newcastle (unless I'm out)
As far as the thread is concerned, if you are asking on an internet forum rather than actually researching through the wide range of books, newspaper articles, the RAIB website etc. available then I really think you should be considering a new job
Indeed!
But sadly, journalism and media production is just an amateur pursuit, barely accountable, poorly unregulated, and lacking standards of integrity.
- it is no wonder that so many TV documentaries are so thin on fact and full of dumbed down sensationalism:roll:
Again I agree, but as consumers seem so content to consume it, why would any producer put further resources into raising standards of research or analysis?

The fault may be within the industry, but the blame must lie within the market and the regulator:
I don't recall hearing TV viewers complain that they are frustrated while trying to pay more than the minimum Licence Fee in order to increase journalistic standards, and I don't recall the UK government legislating for greater rigour in journalistic research.
 

eastdyke

Established Member
Joined
25 Jan 2010
Messages
1,773
Location
East Midlands
Perhaps we should try to persuade TomD. that a documentary on 'Traps for the Unwary - Ticketing and Revenue Enforcement on a Modern Railway' would draw much 'evidence' and comment from this Forum?
 

Mvann

Member
Joined
19 Mar 2010
Messages
787
Location
Peterborough
As far as the thread is concerned, if you are asking on an internet forum rather than actually researching through the wide range of books, newspaper articles, the RAIB website etc. available then I really think you should be considering a new job - it is no wonder that so many TV documentaries are so thin on fact and full of dumbed down sensationalism:roll:

Having had limited dealings with researchers before, I can understand why he has put the question on the forum. What most of them have wanted in the past is info to put them in the right direction. Why spend hours reading accident reports that may or may not be what you are looking when someone on this forum just might know of an accident that would fall into the category you want.
 

14xxDave

Member
Joined
20 Oct 2011
Messages
171
Location
Gateshead
Having had limited dealings with researchers before, I can understand why he has put the question on the forum. What most of them have wanted in the past is info to put them in the right direction. Why spend hours reading accident reports that may or may not be what you are looking when someone on this forum just might know of an accident that would fall into the category you want.

Perhaps because they are being paid to be 'researchers'. Yes, don't go massively around the long way but surely a good researcher does the donkey work themselves and doesn't rely on others to sort of write the article for them. Maybe I'm too cynical....

D.
 

DaveNewcastle

Established Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
21 Dec 2007
Messages
7,387
Location
Newcastle (unless I'm out)
. . . . Railtrack has invested many millions on the S & C infrastructure, . . .
Subsistence & Catering?
No, probably not.

'Railtrack' ?
'has invested' ?

If we were talking about Signalling & Comms, then there are plenty of examples, and I'd like to think that the Rail industry has learned from each and every incident. One that often comes to my mind is the 1876 Flying Scotsman incident, leading to a change in signal design and behaviour. There are scores of other examples of the industry adapting positively to experience.
 
Last edited:

jopsuk

Veteran Member
Joined
13 May 2008
Messages
12,568
Perhaps because they are being paid to be 'researchers'. Yes, don't go massively around the long way but surely a good researcher does the donkey work themselves and doesn't rely on others to sort of write the article for them. Maybe I'm too cynical....

D.

Good research includes finding people who can point you in the right direction; when you're on a limited budget with a deadline to meet there's nothing wrong with asking for pointers. He's only after suggestions, not full grisly details.

Having said that:
in living memory, no accidents on the railways in Great britain have been caused by over crowding at all
Accidents in the last decade in which passengers or staff on trains died (as opposed to people on crossings (oft in vehicles)/the tracks being hit, and the tragic one where rail workers were hit by a runaway trolley and another where a track worker was hit by a train) were:
2007: Greyrigg: 1 passenger killed by major derailment at speed, faulty points
2005: Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway: train driver killed, car on level crossing
2004: Ufton Nervet: 7 killed; car driver committing suicide by parking his car on a crossing
2003: Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway; as above
2002: Potters Bar; 7 killed, faulty points
 

ChiefPlanner

Established Member
Joined
6 Sep 2011
Messages
6,510
Location
Herts
Derailment of an overloaded speeding engineers train at Bexley in 1996 , also root cause was rotten track and waybeams. Could have been very serious as on a viaduct in a built up area. HSE fined Railtrack
 

michael769

Established Member
Joined
9 Oct 2005
Messages
2,006
I think some folks are being a little too harsh. While researching the RAIB and the like can be very fruitful, what official sources cannot provide is access to amateur unpublished footage and fresh witness accounts of real incidents.

An appeal to special interest groups and forums can be a very effective way to obtain the latter, and will often lead to unexpected discoveries - something that, unlike the unqualified and inexperienced commentators in this thread, an experienced researcher will be well aware of.

As for the dumbing down of documentaries, broadcasters broadcast what people will watch in sufficient numbers to satisfy the advertisers who pay for such content. Blame the audience, not the broadcasters for giving said audience exactly what they want.
 

TomDocumentary

New Member
Joined
31 Jul 2012
Messages
4
Derailment of a coal train at Dent Head about 10 years ago, after the track had "spread".
There may well be footage on youtube of the aftermath.
Since then Railtrack has invested many millions on the S & C infrastructure, including the track and sleepers, so the chances of this happening again are slim.

Thanks for the heads up with this one. I will certainly investigate this further.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
wikipedia has a list of all british rail disasters, try a read through them to see if any are suitable for your research, and follow up on the specific accidents

Thanks for the advice. I have already been through this list thoroughly and unfortunately none of the accidents here fit our very specific criteria.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Thank you for your advice with this. We have already got Bexley in the rough-cut of the programme. I don't suppose you would have any further examples?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Indeed!
But sadly, journalism and media production is just an amateur pursuit, barely accountable, poorly unregulated, and lacking standards of integrity.
Again I agree, but as consumers seem so content to consume it, why would any producer put further resources into raising standards of research or analysis?

The fault may be within the industry, but the blame must lie within the market and the regulator:
I don't recall hearing TV viewers complain that they are frustrated while trying to pay more than the minimum Licence Fee in order to increase journalistic standards, and I don't recall the UK government legislating for greater rigour in journalistic research.

I am disappointed to see that many members see me posting here as being 'lazy and not doing the research myself'. I would just like to point out, as some of you have mentioned, I am not looking for anyone to do any research for me I am just seeing if anyone can point me in the right direction if they do have any interesting information. One of the reasons for posting on this forum has been to try to find out if anyone has any examples of incidents that may have gone under the radar and so have never been covered before.

I would also like to point out that this documentary will be fully factually accurate and accountable. Every fact that is mentioned in the film will have been verified at least twice by different reliable sources. This is one of the reasons why we are having difficulty in finding examples as in many cases although the cause of an accident is thought to be common knowledge (or indeed verified by one source) finding two reliable sources to verify this information is very difficult.

On a brighter note, thank you to all of those who have pointed out incidents. I will certainly be following all of these leads today to find official reports to see if they are suitable to go in our documentary.
 

Greeny

Member
Joined
25 Nov 2009
Messages
151
Location
North West
Try the Weaver Junction collision in 1976 – most of the Operations Dept Managers at Garston got shafted over that as well as the shunting staff at Runcorn and (I think) the Guard. The train was running as a Class ‘6’ but because of the completely inadequate brake force available, it should have been more like a class ‘8’ with a suitable reduction in speed. The result was that the train (from Runcorn to Willesden) couldn’t stop at a red and hit a Freightliner side on. I did have the Report but am not sure where it is - I still have a few hundred from the past so I'll have a look if there is anything of interest to you in them.

G
 

Greeny

Member
Joined
25 Nov 2009
Messages
151
Location
North West
Or You may want to think about the Lime Street Crash in the early 90's - photo attached.
 

Attachments

  • Lime St Crash.jpg
    Lime St Crash.jpg
    94.3 KB · Views: 84

Joseph_Locke

Established Member
Joined
14 Apr 2012
Messages
1,878
Location
Within earshot of trains passing the one and half
How about:
Hither Green 1967 (broken rail following track relaying)
Armagh 1889 (overloaded train, no automatic brake)

There haven't been many accidents ever on the main line caused by broken sleepers, as the number of consecutive failures required precludes the gauge getting bad enough.

Overloaded freight trains running out of control is generally the stuff of Holywood, though this one technically counts (though it wasn't overloaded).
 

GB

Established Member
Joined
16 Nov 2008
Messages
5,870
Location
Somewhere
RAIB is good for information but has its flaws. Its difficult to research unless you actually know what you looking for and as the RAIB where only established in 2005, the reports only date back to 2006. That is quite a short time frame for which I don't believe any accidents have been caused specifically by overloaded trains or rotton sleepers during that period.
 

PFX

Member
Joined
18 Dec 2011
Messages
352
On a brighter note, thank you to all of those who have pointed out incidents. I will certainly be following all of these leads today to find official reports to see if they are suitable to go in our documentary.

Tom, I am aware of one bridge failure in the Republic of Ireland in 2003 at Cahir, Co Tipperary. This resulted in 12 of 22 cement wagons derailing and ending up in the River Suir below. While I don't remember if the sleepers were directly attributable, I think there was mention of the timber in the secondary deck playing a part. It's a long time since I read a summary report but the the full report is available here - http://www.rsc.ie/publications/accident-report-cahir-viaduct-07102003/ which might help you more
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top