Ilford rail crash (1915)

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Ilford rail crash
Ilford station platform 4 and 5 look west.JPG
The west end of Ilford station where the crash occurred, pictured in 2009
Date1 January 1915
Coordinates51°33′32″N 0°04′07″E / 51.5588°N 0.0685°E / 51.5588; 0.0685Coordinates: 51°33′32″N 0°04′07″E / 51.5588°N 0.0685°E / 51.5588; 0.0685
LineGreat Eastern Main Line
OperatorGreat Eastern Railway
Incident typeCollision
CauseSignal passed at danger
List of UK rail accidents by year

The 1915 Ilford rail crash occurred on 1 January 1915 when an express passenger train passed a signal at danger and collided with another passenger train that was stopped at Ilford railway station on the Great Eastern Main Line in Essex, England. Ten people were killed and approximately 500 complained of injury.


At approximately 08:40 on 1 January 1915 the crew of the 07:06 express service from Clacton to London Liverpool Street failed to see that the distant and home signals at the Ilford east signal box were at danger.[1] The signalman tried to attract their attention by shouting and waving a red flag from the signal box, but to no avail. At the west end of the station, the 08:20 local service from Gidea Park to Liverpool Street was crossing over from the local line to the through line when it was run into by the Clacton express travelling on the through line at a speed variously estimated at 20 mph to 50 mph. The impact completely destroyed the eighth coach and severely damaged five others of the Gidea Park train, as well as the engine and first two vehicles of the Clacton train. Ten passengers were killed and over 500 complained of injury.

The official report attributed blame to the driver of the Clacton train for his "insufficient care in noting the positions of his signals when approaching Ilford". It also noted that the accident would have been much less likely if some form of Automatic Warning System had been in use, and recommended its introduction.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rolt, L.T.C.; Kichenside, Geoffrey (1982) [1955]. Red for Danger (4th ed.). Newton Abbot: David & Charles. pp. 240–241. ISBN 0-7153-8362-0.
  2. ^ Lt Col P.G. von Donop (1915). Board of Trade Report (PDF). HMSO.