Stairfoot rail accident
|Date||12 December 1870|
|Location||Stairfoot station, near Barnsley|
|Rail line||Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway|
|Cause||Failure to secure standing wagons|
|List of UK rail accidents by year|
Details of accident
On 12 September 1870 in Barnsley top yard a rake of 10 goods wagons was standing on a gradient of 1 in 119. A single sprag between the spokes of a wheel was holding them. When two gas tank wagons were shunted against the rake, the sprag broke and the 12 wagons began to move. Two pointsmen made valiant efforts to pin down the brakes to no avail. The wagons rapidly gathered speed as the gradient increased to 1 in 72 and passed three signal boxes, none of which had points under their control to deflect the runaways. Meanwhile, a passenger train which had left Barnsley at 18:15 was standing at Stairfoot station one and a half miles away. The runaways struck the rear of the standing train at a speed of at least 40 mph, killing 15 and injuring 59 more.
The enquiry by Lieut-Col F. H. Rich found that the goods guard was gravely at fault for not ensuring the standing wagons were better secured. The layout of the yard was also criticized as there were no trap points to protect the running lines in the event of such a mishap.
- Abergele rail disaster (1868)
- "Accident Returns: Extract for Accident at Stairfoot on 12th December 1870". www.railwaysarchive.co.uk. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
- Rolt, L.T.C.; Kichenside, Geoffrey (1982) . Red for Danger (4th ed.). Newton Abbot: David & Charles. pp. 184–186. ISBN 0-7153-8362-0.