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Gorey train crash of 1975

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iarnrod
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I remember that day well. I was working in Bray station at the time and word came very quickly through the signal cabins that the disaster had happened. After finishing my shift I went down to Clough to view the scene. Unlike today the site wasn't closed off and anyone who wanted to could wander around. No health & safety rubbish - just take care of yourself and don't get in the way! The train (as reported in the Feb 1976 IRRS Journal) was composed of B132 + 2585, 1922, 2154, 1556, 2150, 2424, 3192, 2570. Sadly, five persons died in the disaster - four members of the public and one CIÉ staff member. A further 43 persons received injuries of varying severity. There were a total of 94 passengers on the train. Some more photos of the aftermath (aerial shots from the Irish Press):

 

Aerial view from the Rosslare end of the train. The digger which hit the bridge can be seen to the left of the third coach from the rear of the train (2424). In front of 2424 are 2150 and 1556 (at an angle to the right) then the remains of 2585, 1922 and 2154 which were totally destroyed. Locomotive B132 lies partly covered by the wreckage to the left of the track.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]22012[/ATTACH]

 

Aerial view from the eastern side of the line at the Dublin end of the train. 1556 is at the left-hand side of the image, while the upturned B132 can be seen just above the jib of the road crane. The scale of the destruction of the three 'wooden bodied' coaches can be judged in this view.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]22013[/ATTACH]

 

B132 lies upturned at the foot of the small embankment partly buried by wreckage. At the top are 1556, 2150 and 2424.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]22014[/ATTACH]

 

The shattered remains of 2585, 1922 and 2154 with the relatively intact 1556 at the top.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]22015[/ATTACH]

 

The damage to the bridge caused by the digger (seen in the background) and the ensuing crash can be seen in this view from the eastern side of the line. The two coaches are 2424, on the left, and 2150. The five people who died were all in the latter. It will be seen that the rear two compartments and vestibule of 2150 were completely destroyed when the coach was hit by the structurally sounder Park Royal vehicle.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]22016[/ATTACH]

 

The full accident report can be found at: http://www.raiu.ie/download/pdf/accident_gorey.pdf

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Sorry 'bout that. I'll try again

 

Aerial view from the Rosslare end of the train. The digger which hit the bridge can be seen to the left of the third coach from the rear of the train (2424). In front of 2424 are 2150 and 1556 (at an angle to the right) then the remains of 2585, 1922 and 2154 which were totally destroyed. Locomotive B132 lies partly covered by the wreckage to the left of the track.

1975.12.31 - Clough Crash - 01.jpg

 

Aerial view from the eastern side of the line at the Dublin end of the train. 1556 is at the left-hand side of the image, while the upturned B132 can be seen just above the jib of the road crane. The scale of the destruction of the three 'wooden bodied' coaches can be judged in this view.

1975.12.31 - Clough Crash - 02.jpg

 

B132 lies upturned at the foot of the small embankment partly buried by wreckage. At the top are 1556, 2150 and 2424.

1975.12.31 - Clough Crash - 03.jpg

 

The shattered remains of 2585, 1922 and 2154 with the relatively intact 1556 at the top.

1975.12.31 - Clough Crash - 04.jpg

 

The damage to the bridge caused by the digger (seen in the background) and the ensuing crash can be seen in this view from the eastern side of the line. The two coaches are 2424, on the left, and 2150. The five people who died were all in the latter. It will be seen that the rear two compartments and vestibule of 2150 were completely destroyed when the coach was hit by the structurally sounder Park Royal vehicle.

1975.12.31 - Clough Crash - 05.jpg

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Within just three or four years, almost all of the fatal railway accidents of the latter half of the 20th century!

 

Apart from this one,

 

Lisburn (Enterprise & 80 class)

Hilden (80 class & 70 class)

Cherryville

Buttevant

 

Rest in peace all victims.

 

Gormanstown Oct 3 train collision 1984

 

Crashworthyness of railway rolling stock does not really appear to have been considered on Irish railways before the 1960s. Rail safety was pretty much based on strictly following the Rule Book, an interlocked signal system and the automatic vacuum brake.

 

The GSR & CIEs record of not killing a passenger between 1925-74 seems to have been more by luck than judgement Straboe 1944, Cahir 1955 & Dundrum (Co-Dublin 1957 were all warning signs that all was not well. And good examples of how the Rule Book is one of the first things go out the window when staff are under pressure or in the case of Cahir find a 'work around" to save time.

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John, since I was not aware of the circumstances surrounding these accidents, for anyone interested in your comments, the Cahir accident was discussed on the site here

http://irishrailwaymodeller.com/showthread.php/829-Cahir-crash-1955

 

The report into the GSR accident at Straboe during the Emergency seems to confirm your assertions that there was widespread non-observance of safe practices by drivers and guards, contributed to in minor part by equipment shortages including oil for train lighting

http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/documents/DIE_Straboe1944.pdf

 

The accident at Dundrum was attributable to an signaling error by the signal man and failure to warn more then one train of a potential obstruction on the line. Once again in darkness with a contributory rear lighting failure on the first train

Edited by DiveController
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John, since I was not aware of the circumstances surrounding these accidents, for anyone interested in your comments, the Cahir accident was discussed on the site here

http://irishrailwaymodeller.com/showthread.php/829-Cahir-crash-1955

 

 

 

Up to Buttervant and Cherryville Junction old railway inspectorate tended to focus on engineering and human error aspects of accident investigation, without digging too deeply about the underlying causes of why people sometimes cut corners to get the job done.

 

 

At the time of the 1955 accident the signalling and water towers at Cahir was set up for Up & Down working through the platform roads, rather than a main line and loop situation where Up and Down trains can be signalled onto or through either road. The siding extension of the Up line on to the viaduct would have been for passing trains that were longer than the loop and to protect the main line from wagons running back during shunting.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passing_loop

 

Kiltimagh on the Burma Road had a similar arrangement and run-away in 1917

 

The main station building was on the Down platform with the water tower near the starting signal for Bansha at the Limerick end of the station, there was also a water tower or crane near to the starting signal at end of the Up platform to allow Waterford bound trains to take water without blocking the main line.

 

The custom and practice at Cahir at the time of the accident seems to have been to bring Up mail from Limerick in on the Down platform road in order to load/unload mail without station staff having to use the barrow crossing.

 

On the evening of the accident the loco of the Mail stopped to take water from the tower at the Limerick end of the station blocking the crossover from the Up platform road to the main line, setting up a trap for a heavy goods with limited braking power

 

I don't know if Cahir had a down Outer Home signal in 1955 or whether BS3 entered the Clonmel-Cahir section under the "Warning Arrangement, either would have given the crew a better chance to reduce speed and stop at the Home signal before entering the station.

 

Cahir was later signalled for Up & Down running along the main and loop in connection with the closure of the Waterford-Mallow line in 1967 and by 1980 had an Outer Home from the Waterford but not Limerick direction.

 

The Woolwich were notorious for poor brakes with reports of near misses and run-aways with heavy goods trains. The crew of an Up Midland goods managed to stop a run-away between Clonsilla and Liffey Junction with the tender hand brake narrowly avoiding ending up in the Liffey, there were run-aways with Woolwich down the Gullet from Inchacore and through the Cork tunnel.

Edited by Mayner
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