Goswick rail crash

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Goswick rail crash
Date 26 October 1947
Time 12:47
Location Goswick, Northumberland
Coordinates 55°42′18″N 1°55′37″W / 55.705°N 1.927°W / 55.705; -1.927Coordinates: 55°42′18″N 1°55′37″W / 55.705°N 1.927°W / 55.705; -1.927
Country England
Rail line East Coast Main Line
Operator London and North Eastern Railway
Cause Signal passed at danger
Overspeed on turnout
Trains 1
Passengers 420
Deaths 28
Injuries 65
List of UK rail accidents by year

The Goswick rail crash occurred on 26 October 1947 near the village of Goswick, Northumberland, England. The Flying Scotsman express from Edinburgh Waverley to London Kings Cross failed to slow down for a diversion and derailed. 28 people were killed, including the talented biochemist, John Masson Gulland.[1] It was the last major accident to occur on British railways before their nationalisation on 1 January 1948.


The train was scheduled to divert from the main fast line to a goods loop at Goswick, Northumberland, between Berwick-upon-Tweed and Morpeth, because of engineering work on the fast line. However, the driver failed to respond to the signals in advance of the diversion and took the 15 mph restricted turnout at approximately 60 mph. The engine, A3 Class No. 66 "Merry Hampton", and most of the train derailed and overturned.

The driver, fireman and guard had all, for various reasons, failed to read the notice of the diversion posted at Haymarket depot. The driver, who was held principally at fault, had also taken an unauthorised passenger on to the footplate who may have distracted his attention. He claimed to have missed the distant signal due to smoke from the engine obscuring his view. The home signal was at clear to allow the train to draw up slowly to the points; the signalman could not judge the speed of the train until it was too late, and was exonerated of any blame.

A similar accident occurred two years earlier at Bourne End, Hertfordshire.

Similar accidents[edit]

See also[edit]


  • Rolt, L.T.C. (1956 (and later editions)). Red for Danger. Bodley Head / David and Charles / Pan Books.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • Hamilton, J.A.B. (1967). British Railway Accidents of the 20th Century (reprinted as Disaster down the Line). George Allen and Unwin / Javelin Books. 
  • Railways Archive account, including official Accident Report

External links[edit]