Greenock rail accident

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Greenock rail accident
Date25 June 1994
Locationnear Drumfrochar railway station, Greenock
LineInverclyde Line
(Strathclyde Passenger Transport)
List of UK rail accidents by year

On 25 June 1994, the 22:45 from Wemyss Bay to Glasgow, in Scotland,[1] derailed and smashed into a bridge after hitting concrete blocks placed deliberately on the railway by vandals outside of where Drumfrochar railway station would be opened 4 years later.[2][3]

The train involved was a refurbished Class 303 Electric Multiple Unit.[2] The concrete blocks were cable-trough covers, which were placed across the rails of the single-track line by two vandals who had climbed down to the railway to urinate on their way home.[4] The railway at this point is on a curve, going to the right as the train was travelling.

The leading bogie of the EMU derailed and the train immediately collided with the solid structure of the overbridge,[5] crushing the driver's cab, killing driver Arthur McKee, 35, and also killing passenger Alan Nicol, 21, who was seated immediately behind the cab, with his back to the partition.[6] Alan Nicol had taken this location to reduce the risk of injury from broken glass should the train be stoned by vandals, which was a common occurrence in that area. Including the two trainstaff, the train was carrying six people.[7]

Following the tragedy, many youths in the surrounding area were questioned by police regarding the incident.[6] After a trial by the High Court, Gary Dougan and Craig Houston, two 17-year-olds from Greenock were each imprisoned for 15 years for culpable homicide.[8][9] Dougan and Houston launched an appeal against their convictions two years later. In September 1996, the Court of Appeal in Edinburgh upheld both convictions.[10]


  1. ^ "Police treat train-crash deaths as murder". The Independent. 27 June 1994. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  2. ^ a b Stephen 2019, p. 82.
  3. ^ "Accident at Greenock on 25th June 1994 :: The Railways Archive". Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  4. ^ Stephen 2019, pp. 82–83.
  5. ^ "Schoolgirl tells murder trial of train crash 'joke'". Herald Scotland. 17 December 1994. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  6. ^ a b Stephen 2019, p. 83.
  7. ^ "Concrete left on railway line". Greenock Telegraph. 19 January 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  8. ^ "15 years for the railway killers' act of vandalism". Herald Scotland. 23 December 1994. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  9. ^ Child Vandals blamed for growing toll of rail havoc - Daily Mail, 15 August 1997, via
  10. ^ "Rail killers stay in jail. - Free Online Library". 27 September 1996. Retrieved 9 July 2019.


  • Stephen, Paul (19 June 2019). "The vandalism that claimed two lives". Rail Magazine. No. 881. Peterborough: Bauer Media. ISSN 0953-4563.

Coordinates: 55°56′28″N 4°46′25″W / 55.94105°N 4.77365°W / 55.94105; -4.77365