Talk:Quintinshill rail disaster

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2005 Comments[edit]

What is Quintinshiil named for?

  • a farm?
  • a village?
  • a creek?

Is it also near Lockerbie?

Tabletop 09:18, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

It is near Lockerbie, just outside Gretna.
The railway company escaped responsibility for the following reasons;
The shortage of skilled men caused by the war.
The train was under military control so the carriages were locked.
The carriages were wooden, gas lit compartment stock; a programme to withdraw all this stock and replace it with steel electrically lit corridor stock was delayed, again by the war.
Britmax 12:24, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

The railway company was not blamed either for the use of old stock (it was wartime) or for the accident itself (adequate safeguards existed and were ignored), John Thomas cites 9 seperate breaches of rules in the 30 minute period between Tinsley entering the signal box and the accident occuring. I have not seen previous mention of the troop train doors being locked, this would need a reference. Nor was the train under military control as far as its working was concerned, although undoubtedly the soldiers were under military discipline. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.145.252.14 (talk) 13:34, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

Short deliberation of 8 minutes.[edit]

Eight minutes is not a long time for a jury to deliberate. Does this include the time that it took the jury to go to and from the jury room?

Abraham Lincoln was prosecuting attorney in one trial where the jury didn't even leave their seats in the court room!!

Tabletop 12:48, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

What happened to James Tinsley and George Meakin[edit]

What happened to James Tinsley and George Meakin after they were released ? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by MrTAToad (talkcontribs) 08:42, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

Done Mrrash (talk) 12:15, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

James Tinsley was given a job as lampman at Carlisle station and eventually died in 1961. George Meakin became a coal merchant (both from John Thomas's book) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.145.252.14 (talk) 13:38, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

Altered James Tinsley's death as per death certificate GC Jack 15:15, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

Similar accidents[edit]

"The Hawes Junction rail crash of 1910 also involved a busy signalman forgetting about a train on the main line, but because the signalman there was extremely busy and fully focused on his job, his momentary lapse was more excusable."

Using the phrase "more excusable" seems to make a judgment that is not appropriate for an encyclopaedic setting.

12.104.244.6 (talk) 17:33, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Small error in diagram[edit]

The empty coal train in the loop should have a point where the engine is. Tabletop (talk) 06:15, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Two slight errors and one major error on animated diagram[edit]

The animated diagram shows the local train crossing over to the up main line via a set of facing points. There was no facing crossover at Quintinshill - the local pulled ahead of the trailing points shown in the diagram on the down fast line, then reversed over the trailing crossover so that it was occupying the up fast line where it was hit by the troop train. The other slight error is that there was almost a minute between the troop train hitting the local, and the late-running express colliding into the wreckage. Mrrash (talk) 09:46, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

Done. Tevildo (talk) 15:29, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Another quibble is that the trailing crossover between the Up and Down main lines is probably directly opposite the signalbox for better supervision. Tabletop (talk) 07:32, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

A major error in the diagram: according to it, the second collision was caused by the 05:50 Express ex-Carlisle. However, based on the Board of Trade enquiry document, it is clear that that train passed the site at 06:39 before the first crash and it was the second express (06:05 ex Carlisle) that crashed into the wreckage of the first crash. See page 14 (actually 10th page of the enquiry PDF) and the following pages, containing the testimonies of David Wallace, George Hutchinson, Douglas Dobie Graham and Andrew Johnstone.K72571 (talk) 18:34, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

Dispute over number of fatalities[edit]

There is some doubt over the exact number of fatalities caused by the Quintinshill accident. Author JAB Hamilton in his 1969 publication "Britain's Greatest Rail Disaster" says that Lt Col Druitt's report gives the figure as 227, but he compiled the report very quickly and gave the number of troops killed as 215 which was later revised downwards by the Battalion to 214. I quote "The correct number is given in both the Regimental and the Battalion Histories - 3 officers, 29 NCOs and 182 men - and is also the total of the names which appear on the memorial in the Rosebank Cemetary. I can vouch for this last, because I counted them." (page 76 Britain's Greatest Rail Disaster JAB Hamilton George Allen and Unwin Ltd 1969). This is good evidence that the official report is inaccurate on this matter which is why I submitted the change to the article. Would anyone object if I put it back to 226 again? Mrrash (talk) 20:58, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

If that's the accurate figure, we should use it, although I think mentioning the discrepancy in the official report might be a good idea, as that's what people will refer to (OK, that's what _I_ referred to) as a definitive source if we don't. Tevildo (talk) 22:58, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

DoneMrrash (talk) 11:06, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

Removal of sentence concerning censorship[edit]

I have removed the section concerning censorship. The accident was very well reported at the time, with the The Times having a second leader ("An Unexpected Sorrow") [From Thomas]

John Thomas has a page full of facsimiles of press reports from that time. Additionally the Illustrated London News covered the accident in some detail...

See here: http://www.iln.org.uk/iln_years/year/1915.htm

The precise military casualties were not accurately reported due to the loss of the battalion muster roll in the accident. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.172.231.192 (talk) 19:32, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

Alleged callous treatment of survivors[edit]

I have not seen previously any suggestion that the surviviors were stoned, also it is reported in John Thomas's book a) that the survivors marched in good order to the barracks from the station, and b) that all the men and one of the officers were relieved of further duties, leaving only the CO and 6 officers to continue to Gallipoli. Serious allegations are made here, and if they cannot at least be given supporting references they should be removed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.145.252.14 (talk)

I have added the sources for this incident. Mrrash (talk) 12:49, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

Richards and Searle's 2013 book Quintinshill Conspiracy cites the Edinburgh Evening News writing in 1955 for the "stoning" incident. The paper states that during an interview with a survivor, he reported that the soldiers were stoned by urchins as they walked to Lime St Station Liverpool to be conveyed to Edinburgh by train. So disheveled were they that they were taken for German prisoners of war being conducted from the docks. This was Sunday 23rd May 1915. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 80.43.227.33 (talk) 11:44, 29 December 2013‎

Hugh Urquhart[edit]

I have been looking into the Quintinshill Rail Crash.

Despite quite extensive research I have failed to find any reference to Hugh Urquhart in the Board of Trade Inquiry report or newspaper coverage.

Can you advise me of the sources for Mr. Urquhart's involvement please?

There is also another point to make regarding the late shift changeover. The arrangement between the two signalmen applied whether the local train stopped at Gretna or not. Normally James Tinsley would walk to the signal box. Occasionally the local would be stopped at Quintinshill and the signalman at Gretna would be advised to tell Tinsley —Preceding unsigned comment added by GC Jack (talkcontribs) 08:40, 9 May 2011 (UTC)


GC Jack —Preceding unsigned comment added by GC Jack (talkcontribs) 13:34, 6 May 2011 (UTC)

I have asked a contributor to produce a source for a statement on this page concerning a Mr. Hugh Urquhart.

I have in my possession details of the Board of Trade Report and Inquiry into this accident. I can find no trace of any evidence given by Mr. Urquhart.

If the source cannot be identified should this reference be taken down? (GC Jack 14:02, 15 November 2011 (UTC))

GC Jack — Preceding unsigned comment added by GC Jack (talkcontribs) 14:02, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

Uncited and contraversial text[edit]

I have removed the following text from the article as uncited. If a reliable verifiable source can be found to support the statements then it can reinserted, but as it makes suggestions about the cause of the disaster not recognised by any of the official reports or court proceedings following the accident it should not currently remain in the article.

Removed text
. . .the most controversial evidence was that of Hugh Urquhart, the out-door engineering chief of the Glasgow and South Western Railway, which exercised powers over the last eight miles of shared track from Gretna Junction to Carlisle. Urquhart reminded the inquiry that at certain times of the day this was one of the busiest stretches of double-line railway in Britain. While not condoning the short-cuts and fatal mistakes made by the signalmen Meakin and Tinsley, he said he was concerned that they should not be made scapegoats for errors made by higher-ranking officials. He claimed that the real cause of the bad practices was the fact that the last two express trains from Euston – the 11.45 to Aberdeen and the 12 midnight to Glasgow – were chronically bad time-keepers. This resulted in very unorthodox shunting procedures around Quintinshill.

That the two expresses were running late is mentioned in Lt Col Druitt's official report neither he nor the subsequent coroner's inquiry list this as a contributory factor to the accident. Neither (as stated in the sections above) is there any record of Hugh Urquhart having given evidence at either inquiry. NtheP (talk) 12:28, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

Article rewrite of Jan 2012[edit]

This article has been re-written extensively including removing referenced information (e.g. treatment of survivors) apparently without discussion on this page about any glaring errors, poor English or resolved disputes requiring a re-write. The article was fairly stable for over a year. Apart from personal preferences what is re reason for the re-write and the deletion of relevant referenced information? Should it be reverted until any disputes are first raised and then resolved? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2ghoti (talkcontribs) 19:58, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

I rewrote this because it was badly laid out with some information being repeated several times as sections had been added; with sections not running in chronological order e.g. the modern memorials; a lot of uncited material e.g. the Urquhart involvement and a lot of missing information about the subsequent legal investigations e.g. why did the criminal trial take place in Sctoland rather than England. About the only cited material I removed was the bit about the treatment of survivors because I couldn't locate the cite either in the newspaper or Hamilton's book. If you have Hamilton's book and can supply a more specific reference e.g. page number then I've no objection to it being in there but as no other source mentioned this incident I ddin't feel it was right to have it in without the reference being verified. NtheP (talk) 20:21, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

This page needed re-writing.It had been added to a jumbled way and had become cumbersome. I had discussion with the editor and the reference to Urquhart had to come out.

Hamilton on page 74 of his book describes the plight of the survivors. However, there is a problem with Hamilton's book in that it contains no verification for the story. It may well be that it was carried in the Liverpool local papers can you verify that so it can be checked please?

Gordon Routeledge's book, "The Sorrows of Quintinshill" carries details of Meakin's later career in the Munitions Factory near Gretna. It was personally verified to Routledge by his mother who worked with Meakin there.GC Jack 20:30, 29 January 2012 (UTC)86.183.30.98 (talk) 19:33, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

Catchpoints ?[edit]

Would the refuge loops have catchpoints at each end? Tabletop (talk) 02:52, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

They are shown in File:Quintinshill rail crash.svg which is based on the diagram in
  • Nock, O.S.; Cooper, B.K. (1992) [1966]. Historic Railway Disasters (4th ed.). London: Book Club Associates. p. 91. CN 6843. 
but I don't really see the relevance - the troop train was on the up main, where it collided with the down local which had been shunted onto the up main to give a clear road for the down Glasgow express. If the up coal empties had somehow escaped from the up loop, or the down goods escaped from the down loop, catchpoints would be a factor, but those trains were both stationary. --Redrose64 (talk) 12:07, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

The loops had head and tail shunts, not catch points. The loop on the up main line had an extra storage siding for broken down wagons, which were a real problem for railways of that period - interestingly the signalmen at Quintinshill did use the lever collars to remind them of such wagons in this siding.

On the day of the accident the welsh empty train used the up loop but as it was too long, it had to be shunted into the head shunt and then back into the tail.

Catch points were usually located towards the lower end of an incline to divert runaways. Trap points are used at the end of loops in many cases to prevent an overrun into the mainline. At Quintinshill the head shunt would serve as that in an emergency. GC Jack 11:26, 8 April 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by GC Jack (talkcontribs)

Should the death toll be 230?[edit]

Looking through the stats on this crash it is clear that the death toll of 226 may not be accurate. Recently there has been a memorial to the four unidentified children found in the wreckage. Verified in the book by J. Thomas. They are not counted into the 226 deaths. GC Jack 17:09, 4 June 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by GC Jack (talkcontribs)

It's a moot point as the number of troops who died has never been accurately established so the overall death total is always going to be an approximation. NtheP (talk) 17:28, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
Good point, but the page does state a probable 226, which is made up 214 names on the memorial, 9 civilians and 3 railwaymen. The children have never been included. GC Jack 17:43, 4 June 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by GC Jack (talkcontribs)
What is needed is a source which states a single total. Taking one total and adding four to that falls within original research, because we don't know that the first count didn't include those four. If different sources show differing figures, we can say something like
the total dead has never been positively ascertained, but was at least x<ref>Source for x</ref> and may have been as many as y.<ref>Source for y</ref>
The number of names on the memorial is not conclusive proof of the number of soldiers who died, because the regimental roll was lost in the fire. --Redrose64 (talk) 09:59, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
I've had a shot at amending the lead. I don't think OR is an issue. Druitt's report is good in breaking down his total of 227, the reduction of army casualties by 1 by the War Office and the existence of the 4 children's bodies is documented by Thomas. I don't think it's SYN or OR to put this figures together to say that the total was probably 230. NtheP (talk) 10:55, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

This however assumes that the four unidentified corpses were not part of the 226/227 - see next section. Hyperman 42 (talk) 23:19, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

The Four Unidentified Children[edit]

There appears to be an inaccuracy regarding this on the main page. There is no evidence to suggest that the Railway Company believed the children had stowed away on the troop train. In fact hard evidence for this entire "story" is lacking. It was not even established if one of the coffins actually contained the remains of children. It was marked "three trunks, probably children." In my opinion, as this story cannot be properly verified, it is a myth and should be described as such.GC Jack 11:18, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

Only the stowaway bit is a myth - that there were four unidentified bodies described by Thomas as "little girl, unrecognisable" and "three trunks, probably children" isn't, I believe, an issue as it's a cite from an reliable source. I think it was Nock or Rolt who mentioned stowaways which is perhaps where it has grown from and now propagated by the BBC (see the link to the "lost children memorial" in the article. NtheP (talk) 11:53, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

All I am asking for is for the text stating that the Railway Company believed that they might stoways to either verified or removed. I can find no wording to that effect in the books I have. The BBC report does not in fact state anything as a proven fact, just that it is believed to be so.GC Jack 12:14, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

Look at my last edit to the article. NtheP (talk) 12:18, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

That does it!! Many thanksGC Jack 12:27, 30 June 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by GC Jack (talkcontribs)

Nock and Rolt neither mention the four "children" nor the "stowaways" idea. Thomas mentions the supposed identification of the four children. However, it should be remembered that these were the remains of bodies which had been burned and charred in the extensive fire. It's easy to misidentify in these circumstances - see the similar case at Charfield in 1928. Given that 50 bodies were never recovered at all (83 troops killed and identified, 82 bodies recovered but unrecognisable, the other 50 classed as "missing" to give the 215 total for the troops; Thomas p.59), the most likely explanation is that the bodies were the remains of some of the soldiers. Just what is the likelihood of 3 children stowing away on the one and only train that meets with disaster, and none of their families ever claiming them or reporting them missing? By far the most likely explanation is that they were part of the 226/227 - and that is what Thomas concludes by implication as he states that as the death toll while recognising the existence of the so-called children's bodies. Hyperman 42 (talk) 23:35, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

Probably correct but needs citing rather than our speculation on what Thomas meant. NtheP (talk) 14:39, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

Tinsley's Distractions[edit]

A recent edit has suggested that the Tinsley was engaged in conversation and this distracted him from his work. There is no such statement from Tinsley or brakesman Young to support this. It emerged at the Coroner's Court as a possible theory based on a statement by Meakin. The other distraction - Tinsley writing the notes - which Tinsley himself offered as a reason in the Board of Trade report is more credible. The article should make that clear.GC Jack 23:01, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Link year in lead paragraph[edit]

I don't understand the keenness to link the date of 1915 to either 1915 in rail transport, 1915 in the United Kingdom or anything else. 1915 in rail transport might be relevant enough to link to but not via the date in the lead - see WP:CONTEXTLINK. Most list articles like the two named tend to have outgoing links, not incoming ones e.g. nothing else in 1915 in the UK is linked from the articles listed in it. I haven't yet found another UK rail accident article that links to a list article via the date in the lead and I don't see any reason for this article to be an exception. NtheP (talk) 23:01, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

There is a case for linking this into 1915 in the UK. The accident was more than railway disaster it was a military incident happening at a very low point in the war. The accident happened in a dreadful week for the Govt. The Shell Scandal brought down the Asquith regime which was forced into coalition on the following Monday. No link? Wait for the new book! GC Jack 09:39, 28 January 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by GC Jack (talkcontribs)

It's not the what, it's the how. The above is grounds for a new section about the political/public impact of the accident. My concern is about the how - linking to years in lead paragraphs is just not done as per the link above. It's in 1915 in Scotland as a category, 1915 in rail transport is in the see also section, it's how much of a significance should the year be given in the lead? NtheP (talk) 10:52, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

Deficiencies in the supervision of Quintinshill signal box[edit]

On the 25th May 1915 the Inspecting Officer of Railways opened his inquiry at Carlisle. One person examined was Alexander Thorburn Gretna's Station master. He was also in charge of Quintinshill signal box. The questioning of Thorburn was poorly conducted. Asked when he had last visited the box he was unable to say when he had last been there. There was no questions posed as to where the irregular shift change over employed by Meakin and Tinsley was with Kilpatrick's assistance, was known. No question was asked as whether he knew that the shifts should change at 6:00am. Thorburn was on the platform at Gretna when Tinsley joined the local train. He was not asked if he saw him. How Thorburn could have missed the signalman entering the cab of the Cardean is unexplained. If he did, why did he not challenge the fact that Tinsley was still in Gretna some 17 minutes after he was supposed to take up his shift some 2 miles away at Quintinshill? It is clear sloppiness held sway. Later the Caledonian Railway appalled at the admission of Thorburn closed the issue by citing details from the signal box log stating when inspections had been carried out which was a least three in the previous week or so (one by Thorburn and two by the local inspector). Even then no-one asked why Quintinshill deserved such attention and why no deficiencies were found. Elsewhere someone has listed 9 deficiencies in the way the work was carried out at the signal box. A proper inspection would have found at least one - the lack of the use of the collar. See Quintinshill Conspiracy for theories as to why these inspections were carried out and why they failed to find one of the root causes of the accident. It is clear the Caledonian Railway was hell bent on seeing that the signalman were held responsible, not due to deficiencies in process, but due to negligence of behalf of two individuals. In this they focused on Meakin, the mental health of Tinsley not being an issue they they would wish to highlight. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 80.43.227.33 (talk) 12:14, 29 December 2013‎

Centenary TfA?[edit]

This article is B-Class. Can we get it to FA-class in time to be WP:TFA on 22 May 2015, that being the 100th anniversary of the accident? --Redrose64 (talk) 09:53, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

moved from User talk:Redrose64#Quintinshill
With the centenary of the accident coming up I'd loved to get this article to at least GA by then. FA and TFA would be great but I'm not sure if it can be done in time. One of the issues is the recent book The Quintinshill Conspiracy: The Shocking True Story Behind Britain’s Worst Rail Disaster and how to incorporate any of it's contents into the article. User:GC Jack is one of the authors of the book but it's only this morning that I became aware that he sadly died just prior to the publication of the book. I haven't read the book yet (Jack did say he'd let me have a copy but his death explains why this didn't happen) but looking at the reviews it gets a bit of a mixed press and I'm not sure how to include some of it's opinions e.g. were Tinsley and Meakin scapegoated? without falling foul of WP:UNDUE or even WP:FRINGE as there is only the one source to go on when the older publications, Thomas, Rolt etc are all silent on these issues. Nthep (talk) 11:54, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
I'm in! Will see what I can add from The Times. Mjroots (talk) 11:24, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

This is the 100th anniversary - let us look at the accident more objectively. 'Cause' is typically multi-layered, and multi-factorial.[edit]

By all means improve the recent edit about the 'cause' of this horrific (and historic) accident. Whether published sources are available to substantiate a more objective analysis is a moot point - but that is no reason to over-simplify and lay the blame for the deaths of over two hundred men on the heads of two signal men! So please do not just revert! The railway company's internal enquiry laid the blame for the collision on the two signalmen, and while this is an over-simplification, it is unarguable that both men bore responsibility for the original collision between the local train and the troop carrier. The fact that so many soldiers were 'roasted to death' was the result of other factors which were not even remotely the responsibility of the signalmen. I sincerely hope you will agree. 86.17.152.168 (talk) 03:29, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

What internal inquiry? The official inquiry conducted for the Board of Trade (a Government department) by Lt.-Col. E. Druitt (an officer of the Royal Engineers), states on page 25 "The responsibility for the collision lies entirely with the two signalmen, G. Meakin and J. Tinsley". No way have we oversimplified this clear statement. --Redrose64 (talk) 10:30, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
@Redrose64: - I expect that the IP editor watched the documentary on BBC4 last night. In modern parlance, there were causal factors and contributory factors. Referring specifically to this accident, the direct cause was the negligence of the two signalmen involved. Contributory factors include, but are not limited to, the construction of the carriages, gas lighting, possible medical condition for one of the signalmen. Mjroots (talk) 11:01, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
I missed it. I had assumed that it would be on the anniversary, not the day before. --Redrose64 (talk) 11:17, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Well worth a watch - should be available on BBC's iplayer. Other factors mentioned were the sheer volume of traffic (two Jellicoe specials in the passing points - one full and one empty ), pressure to get the sleeper expresses through, the dangers of shift changes, and the tendency for organisations not to police their safety rules, and to ignore rule-bending except when things go wrong. Robevans123 (talk) 11:41, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Britain's Deadliest Rail Disaster: Quintinshill with three broadcasts so far (one being Scotland-only) and no more scheduled. This means I need to stay up late, since if I watch it before midnight, my broadband provider charges extra (I get up to 10GB per month between 07:00 and midnight, but midnight to 07:00 is unlimited). --Redrose64 (talk) 12:50, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Thanks everybody - I am quite content. As one of you surmised I watched the documentary, and I watched it very carefully, rewinding whenever I needed to be sure I had picked something up correctly. Obviously some material in a TV documentary can not be substantiated from written sources, so can only find a place in the talk pages. In particular, the doc. reported that one UK railway company at the time banned the use of collars on the levers; it was also reported that in some signal boxes collars were simply not provided. Collars were available at Q, and it may be that they were not used on the fateful morning because neither signalman was in the habit of using them. Meakin probably did not have the imagination to envisage the possibility that the man taking over on the next shift might suffer an 'unbelievable' memory lapse (whether due to a hypothesised medical condition, or whether simply unexplained). Some obligation must lie with a company (even then, as now) to not only provide safety mechanisms, but to ensure that they are 'working'; and are not being undermined by the human factor, or any other factor. The exact extent of that obligation is impossible to actually pin down. The TV documentary makers, if I understood them correctly, thought that it was noteworthy (albeit from a modern perspective) that the extent of the Railway companies safety obligation was not tested by any inquiry, nor raised in any court. It was suggested, by one of the 'talking heads' that some kind of backroom deal was done before the trial of the signalmen - in my view it was a serious flaw in the programme that this suggestion was just left hanging; neither challenged as improbable, nor supported by hard evidence. Perhaps documentary makers are fond of conspiracy theories, but I am not! 86.17.152.168 (talk) 10:31, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

Some soldiers never found - deserted?[edit]

O. S. Nock in Historic Railway Disasters and Adrian Searle in The Quintinshill Conspiracy both mention contemporary rumours, which Searle says persist to this day in the area, that some of the soldiers deserted and hence were never found. Searle said that a local historian collected oral histories of witnesses who saw some soldiers jumping the fence and running off. However he goes on to say that the soldiers were all volunteers and unlikely to have deserted out of disloyalty, and some of the men ("most probably boys") were simply traumatised by the accident. Is this worth adding? Would these books be considered reliable sources? 60.242.1.97 (talk) 10:04, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

The last survivor of the incident, Peter Stoddart, was interviewed by Michael Simkins in 2001. Simkins wrote in The Guardian: 'Stoddart had little recollection of the next 30 minutes. I asked him about a story I had heard of an officer who went about the scene shooting men trapped in the burning wreckage. "That was true. I saw that. He was a Scottish gentleman, eventually a millionaire. But he had to." There was a suspicion of a chuckle in his voice as he added: "And there were one or two other survivors who made themselves scarce. They took their opportunity."' See: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/may/18/transport.uk JezGrove (talk) 10:51, 23 May 2015 (UTC)
I can't find it in Nock. On what page does he suggest that some of the soldiers deserted? --Redrose64 (talk) 13:59, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

Quintinshill (the place)[edit]

What did the placename Quintinshill mean before the accident, and before the railway came there? What is the origin of the name? Anthony Appleyard (talk) 16:59, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

@Anthony Appleyard: It was probably unknown outside the immediate area, with the nearby Gretna and Gretna Green (less than a mile distant) being far better known; as for the railway, it was never a station, but a pair of goods loops with the requisite signal box to control them. Thus, the only railway staff who would know about it would be the drivers and signalmen, plus those who worked out the timetables.
Current maps by the Ordnance Survey show Quintinshill Bridge, which is over a very minor road; but the OS 1:2500 map of 1859, which is old enough to show the railway before the loops and signal box, does show a house named "Quintinshill" adjacent to that minor road, at approximately 55°00′48″N 3°03′33″W / 55.0133°N 3.0591°W / 55.0133; -3.0591, which is not shown on current maps. --Redrose64 (talk) 17:25, 23 May 2015 (UTC)
Later, and clearer, maps than the 1859 1:2500 show the house on the west side of the minor road.
Where does 778 metres (now in the article) come from - is it OR? In any case, it's an overestimate. My OR on this map
http://maps.nls.uk/view/101089045
shows that the distance between 'box and house is less than 500 metres.
86.148.154.38 (talk) 09:55, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

BBC Iplayer & scapegoat agreement[edit]

Hope everyone has had a chance to see this without staying up late. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b05vqx7v/britains-deadliest-rail-disaster-quintinshill

In the random order that I remembered them :-

  • Tinsley may have suffered from epilepsy.
  • The defence barrister's work was poor he may have been unwilling to criticize those from his social class
  • There was probably a scapegoat agreement to blame the men who would continue to be employed after they had left prison in order not to highlight the many deficiencies in the rolling stock.
  • A statement that in such a small rail community the management would have been well aware of the fiddling of the train register but needed to be able to plausibly deny it.
  • Collars were not thought particularly important
  • An enquiry now would be far broader and would come to different conclusions

As a comment, I thought the animation remains the best description of the accident I have ever seen though it runs a little too fast for me.
Regards JRPG (talk) 09:11, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

The fact that the two signalmen were re-employed by the railway company after they had served their sentence is probably a massive indicator that something was up. In the days when "stealing" a paperclip was enough to get someone sacked, that they took back the two men supposedly solely responsible for their worst disaster is nothing short of remarkable. Nick Cooper (talk) 15:38, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
A signalman is a very responsible position. Apparently, Meakin became a goods train guard, which is a position of some responsibility, but not high as that of signalman, and probably wouldn't pay much compared to a signalman; and Tinsley became a lampman, which would involve even less responsibility - extinguishing lamps, trimming wicks, filling with oil, lighting the lamps - and would pay even less than a goods train guard. Perhaps both men had young children and pleaded hardship, and the railway was sympathetic. --Redrose64 (talk) 16:14, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
My "trains in trouble" book, temporarily mislaid, says the men were unique in facing 2 trials, one in Scotland where the accident happened & one in England where many died in hospital. We'd need a reference but I can't imagine anyone with epilepsy being employed in that role now.
JRPG (talk) 17:16, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
Vol. 1, pp. 28-29; but it doesn't mention trials. --Redrose64 (talk) 17:58, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, that's slightly ambiguous, does the book say the railways wouldn't employ someone with epilepsy now or that they faced charges in both England & Scotland? As you have the book, I'm happy for you to add it. JRPG (talk) 21:50, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
Neither. It describes the events of the accident, up to and including the fire, and it gives the the numbers killed and injured, but says nothing about what happened afterwards. --Redrose64 (talk) 22:18, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
Book has now resurfaced but appears to be a different version to yours so I've added it. JRPG (talk) 16:31, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
Do you have a page number? Nthep (talk) 16:43, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
Strike last comment, it was in the code but not displaying. Nthep (talk) 16:50, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

I changed my mind about being content, as it is indisputable (very brave) that Lt.Col Druitt's choice of words should be reflected in the article (collision v. accident)[edit]

Where the cause of an 'accident' has been thoroughly investigated, and confident conclusions reached, the use of the term 'accident' becomes counter-intuitive. From Lt.Col. Druitt's words, responsibility for the first collision lay entirely with the two signalmen. Between them, they had allowed a fast moving troop train to come through on the same track that was occupied by a stationary local train. The collision (predictably) spilled over on to the North-bound track, which caused the second collision. Piper Aplha was a disaster, the Herald of Free Enterprise was a disaster, Quintinshill was a disaster. 86.17.152.168 (talk) 10:59, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

And regardless of who was at fault, there's presumably a clue in the title of this page...JezGrove (talk) 23:03, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

Supposed doubt about number of military casualties[edit]

In the lead we currently have this bald claim:

"The precise death toll was never established with confidence as the roll list of the regiment was destroyed by the fire."

The source for this is Druitt's 1915 report, which was obviously dated 17 June 1917, only 26 days after the accident, and as such can only be regarded as provisional. The loss of the roll list in itself may have hampered initial enquiries, but naturally there will have been soldiers personal files, pension records, and other documentation, not to mention that relatives/surviving soldiers would have quickly realised absence of family members/comrades not listed or accounted for.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has a total of 218 named military personnel who can be linked to the accident, via the original Graves Registration forms (available on their website). Of these, 213 are 7/Royal Scots, two 8/Highland Light Infantry other ranks, and three 9/Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. Druitt states the fatalities include, "five officers in the 6.5 a.m. express," who are probably the latter five (i.e. three officers and two ORs).

Soldiers Died in the Great War has 207 other ranks and three officers of the 7/Royal Scots, plus one erroneously listed as 5/Royal Scots, and is otherwise missing two listed by the CWGC. SDitGW does not have any 7/Royal Scots men having died in the timeframe in question who are not corroborated by the CWGC/GR forms.

In terms of fatalities on the troop train, Druitt's Appendix I lists the following:

Non-Commissioned Officers and men killed and identified - 57
Non-Commissioned Officers and men since dead - 26
Other bodies recovered by not recognisable - 82
Reported missing by the Military Authorities - 50

This gives a total of 215 - which exactly matches the 213 known 7/Royal Scots fatalities, plus the driver and the fireman on the locomotive. On the face of it, it seems that Druitt's caution over the number of dead on the troop train was misplaced, and that his figures in the report were in fact correct. Nick Cooper (talk) 15:26, 27 May 2015 (UTC)

The problem is that we don't know what sources SDGW and subsequently CWGC commission used to come up with their figures. It's possible that they used the same sources as Druitt i.e. battalion returns and therefore contain the same errors. Nthep (talk) 17:51, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
You're missing the point. Druitt was working from available information in the immediate aftermath of the accident. The lost roll was not the only source for which soldiers were serving in the battalion (personal files, pension records, comrades, relatives,etc.), and those other sources would eventually have been fed - originally via the army's Graves Registration Commission - to the CWGC during and after the War (SDitGW was compiled separately, but does provide back-confirmation). The idea that there are undocumented unidentified fatalities of the accident who somehow fell through the net is simply not worth considering. Nick Cooper (talk) 15:20, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
No, I'm not. From other activity I know that neither SDGW or CWGC are infallible and have omissions and errors which are still coming to light 100 years on. The state is that there is no confirmed 100% accurate figure available. 215 is probably pretty accurate but it's not a figure that anyone can say without any doubt is correct.
Don't get me wrong, I'd be very happy if there was a categorical figure but none of the books on the subject or any official document that I've read gives a conclusive figure. Using SDGW, CWGC and Druitt's report and saying they all have the same figure so that must be correct lacks a reliable source and is a possible synthesis. Nthep (talk) 16:26, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
Adding my £0.02 worth from p73 The true death toll at Quintinshill was never fully confirmed although it was officially put at 227;215 soldiers, 2 passengers in the local train, seven in the express, the two footplatemen of the troop train and a sleeping car attendant. JRPG (talk) 17:05, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
No, overall the CWGC registers aren't 100%, and in fact in the past I've assisted in getting one previously unrecorded civilian Second World War casualty added. However, we are looking at a pretty exceptional event here, rather than what could be described - with no disrespect intended - as the usual run-of-the-mill wartime casualties. The battalion roll may well have been on the train, but the individual soldiers attestation forms and other records wouldn't have been. Put simply, the roll wasn't the only record of who was serving in the battalion, and while the short time in which Druitt's report was compiled might not have allowed enough time to cross-check between those records and the surviving personnel, identified bodies, etc., that process wouldn't have stopped there.
To accept the idea that there are undocumented and unidentified casualties, we would have to accept the idea that there could be individuals for whom the attestation form/s, wills, and other records were all lost, and who were somehow unremembered by not just surviving soldiers, but also living relatives (including beneficiaries), friends, former work colleagues, etc. And bear in mind we're talking about a battalion raised in a very specific geographical area at the time. It beggars belief that the absence of any particular name from the reported casualty list at the time would not have been noticed.
I wouldn't read too much into previous books not having come up with a more definitive figure than Druitt. It's only fairly recently that the CWGC has added the Graves Registration forms to its database, but even then one has to use Geoff Sullivan's external search engine to identify the battalion casualties in the relevant date range, as it's not possible to do so with the CWGC's own. I would think that previously anyone looking at the case would have simply relied on Druitt's initial uncertainty, because until recently it would have been more difficult to confirm or deny, and - dare I say it - I think the idea that the accident was so catastrophic that nobody could say for sure what the death toll was for sure makes for a better "story." Nick Cooper (talk) 19:13, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
I don't really dispute any of what you say, but to go back to wiki-basics, come up with a reliable source that says the figure is 215. What you and I think beggars belief or is unlikely isn't relevant it's compliance with policy and being able to verify content that could be subject to disagreement. This isn't a case of the Wikipedia:The sky is blue so it needs sourcing and not synthesis. Nthep (talk) 19:39, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
OK, having checked further, this CWGC fact sheet states: "three Officers, 29 Non Commissioned Officers and 182 men" - i.e. a total of 214. I'd originally found 213 7/Royal Scots with the following death dates:
22/05/1915 = 211
31/05/1915 = 1
01/06/1915 = 1
It turns out, though, that the CWGC have another man in the battalion, who died on 10/06/1915. This accounts for the 214 total in the fact sheet, as clearly the counted every 7/Royal Scots man who died in the UK on or immediately after the date of the accident. On closer inspection, however, the two 8/HLI men (James Cook and Robert Leckie)I previously assumed were killed on the express with the three 9/A&SH officers (matching the "five officers" referred to by Druitt), are both noted as been attached to 7/Royal Scots at the time, but only show as such on the CWGC database in the secondary unit text.
I think we can safely use the 214 figure from the CWGC fact sheet, but the question is whether to include the two attached soldiers? I do not consider this counts as original research or a synthesis, give that an overall total of 216 on the troop train is supported by primary documents in the form of the Graves Registration Reports and the CWGC Registers. We can equally say that Druitt reported "five officers" on the express, of whom three can be identified by name.
To really set the cat amongst the pigeons, there's this Royal Navy officer, confirmed in the GRR as being killed in the accident.... Nick Cooper (talk) 12:53, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
So what are we now saying is the total of military personnel who died? 214 Royal Scots, 2 HLI, 3 A&SH and the unfortunate Lt-Cdr Head?
I'm not going to object if the text is amended to say something like: "there were initial difficulties in determining the number of military personnel who died due to the loss of the battalion roll in the fire but from subsequent graves registrations 214 officers and men of the Royal Scots and 2 men of the HLI (attached to the Royal Scots) died on the troop train. In addition three officers of the A&SH and two navy officers who were passengers on the express train also died in the disaster" with whatever citations added.
Incidentally, assuming the 3 A&SH officers and Lt-Cr Head are 4 of the "five officers" I think the fifth was an RNVR officer - Sub-Lt Assistant Paymaster William Fisher Paton a member of Queens Park FC (it's not very clear but his service entry at the National Archives [1] ends "killed railway Accident Carlisle 22 May 1915"). Although it's not an RS this thread at the Scotish War Menorial Project contains a lot of information about all the casualties. Nthep (talk) 14:02, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I subsequently also found W F Paton via a list of casualties (including injured) which seems to have done the rounds of various forums over the years (e.g. here).
From the look of it, I suspect it appeared in a newspaper fairly early on after the accident. It's very messy, with a number of duplicate entries due to confusion over surnames (e.g. "Gorman, M, or Tonman, N." and "Tonman, N or Gorman, M."), but once these are removed it has 3 x A&SH, 2 x HLI, 2 x RN, and 6 civilians (two appearing as a married couple on a single line). This leaves 214 Royal Scots, of whom 213 match CWGC records, with A Turner (10/06/1915) missing. The single remaining entry is "Hollerin, M. Killed." which may be this casualty from December 1915. Nick Cooper (talk) 15:56, 1 June 2015 (UTC)

Mention BBC documentary in introduction?[edit]

In a recent addition, I fleshed out this page based on the 2015 BBC documentary. I then rewrote the introduction, which included based on a summary of that, the addition of the line:

"A 2015 BBC documentary alleges the two signalmen were scapegoats, and blame for the crash also rested on the working practices of both the railway company and the government, who ran the railways in war-time."

The introduction changes were rejected (but not the expansion of the BBC info) on the grounds that Wikipedia "need to avoid giving undue weight to recent TV documentary. TV documentaries are often poorly done."

I find this reasoning bizarre to say the least. The BBC don't exactly have a reputation for making poor documentaries, and AFAIK this is the only documentary that has examined this disaster from a modern perspective. And obviously, a large part of the reason for it was to re-examine the inquiry against modern expectations. If there are others, I would have thought they would have already been added to the page. But unlike air disasters, rail crashes like this hardly ever get mentioned on TV, so I have no problem assuming this is the only mainstream attention this disaster has got in recent times. Therefore, not mentioning it in the introduction would be simply unsupportable. Yandrossss (talk) 21:11, 6 September 2015 (UTC)

Why did you completely reverse the whole edit? You referred to better citations, yet I didn't remove any, and you just restored a version that was marked as lacking a citation. And if the issue is the BBC documentary, well, obviously your reaction is out of proportion given that was only one line - and if you want to dispute it, I would argue that if you want to argue the BBC are in the habit of doing poor documentaries, or indeed that there are other better ones out there, I would expect to see some evidence of that. Yandrossss (talk) 20:57, 6 September 2015 (UTC)

I will deal with this another day. Hasty responses are often unwise in these situations.-- Toddy1 (talk) 21:59, 6 September 2015 (UTC)
I would rather you answered now. I don't intend to keep checking back here, so I would appreciate either a fuller explanation of what you thought was wrong with my version, or an indication that you consider the matter closed. The documentary issue doesn't seem to interest anyone else as being an immediate concern, judging by the lack of response to the note I posted on the talk page, so I'm minded to put that back. I had already put the rest of my version back, since I frankly don't see the point in leaving it out based on this dubious 'better sourced' reasoning - I have checked many times now, and my version only removed one citation (but not the text) - and I've now put that back. And as said above, my version removed the info that was lacking a citation - feel free to add it back if you think it's important ("Pte William Clark of the 1/7th Battalion who died from injuries received aged 24 is buried in the Edinburgh Eastern Cemetery at Drum Terrace"), but I can't see how the location of one soldier's burial is all that important (unless the point of the text was somehow a counterpoint to the claim all soldiers were given a mass burial - in which case I'd say it needs a citation, and a mention in the main article, not just the introduction). I also removed the location of burial of the four children, but only because that doesn't seem important enough for the introduction (it is mentioned in the main article). But if you disagree, I'm happy for it to be reinserted inside my new version. Other than that, I didn't remove anything else, I just rearranged the text to make it flow better and be more understandable to a non-railway educated audience, and to include obvious omissions (it didn't for example say that the main failing of the signalmen was in not remembering there was a local train on the main line). The discrepancy of precise numbers of dead seemed too important to leave to a note, so I incorporated that too, removing the part about how the four children are presumed to be part of the unidentified 50 soldiers - since that is not mentioned in the main article, and was also marked as requiring a citation. Again, if you can find a source, feel free to add it to the main article, and clarify the introduction. Yandrossss (talk) 17:51, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
My main objection to your 20:11, 6 September 2015 revision of the summary was that it was less cited than the previous (10:14, 3 September 2015) version. You met that objection in your 17:35, 7 September 2015 version. Thank you.
I have reverted the revert by HLGallon. All Yandrossss was doing in the edit HLGallon reverted was restoring something Yandrossss had removed.-- Toddy1 (talk) 07:23, 8 September 2015 (UTC)

Frankly, I'm rather staggered at the justification offered by Toddy1 that "TV documentaries are often poorly done." I would note that Toddy1 appears to be Russian, so is probably unfamiliar with the standards of British television in general - and the BBC in particular - in this regard, so may not be in a position to make such spurious sweeping condemnation. Nick Cooper (talk) 11:59, 8 September 2015 (UTC)

Thank you for your ad hominem argument Nick. If you have access to satellite TV and the internet, you can watch a lot of documentaries. With documentaries where you know the subject well, it is easy to pick holes in them. One should therefore be cautious in using what they say. It is best if you can very using books, etc. Surprisingly, the presence of good academics is no guarantee of accuracy; I guess that TV people are as arrogant as film people, and the academics know which side their bread is buttered. In any case, the version you see is the one edited by the TV people, so things that do not fit the "story" get left out.-- Toddy1 (talk) 20:49, 8 September 2015 (UTC)
10:14, 3 September 2015 version i.e. before edits by Yandrossss
The Quintinshill rail disaster occurred on 22 May 1915 near Gretna Green, Dumfriesshire, Scotland at Quintinshill, an intermediate signal box with passing loops on each side on the Caledonian Main Line linking Glasgow and Carlisle (now part of the West Coast Main Line).

The accident involved five trains, and killed a probable 226[nb 1] and injured 246 and remains the worst rail crash in the United Kingdom in terms of loss of life.[2] Those killed were mainly Territorial soldiers from the 1/7th (Leith) Battalion, the Royal Scots heading for Gallipoli. The precise death toll was never established with confidence as the roll list of the regiment was destroyed by the fire.[1]

The first collision occurred when a southbound troop train travelling from Larbert, Stirlingshire to Liverpool, Lancashire collided with a local passenger train that had been shunted on to the main line.[3] Wreckage spilled over onto the northbound line, causing a second collision only a minute later, as a sleeper train from London to Glasgow ploughed into the wreckage of the first collision. Gas from the Pintsch gas lighting system of the old wooden carriages of the troop train ignited, starting a fire which soon engulfed the three passenger trains and also two goods trains standing on nearby passing loops. Some bodies were never recovered, having been wholly consumed by the fire, and the bodies that were recovered were buried together in a mass grave in Edinburgh's Rosebank Cemetery. Four bodies, believed to be of children, were never identified or claimed and are buried in the Western Necropolis, Glasgow. Pte William Clark of the 1/7th Battalion who died from injuries received aged 24 is buried in the Edinburgh Eastern Cemetery at Drum Terrace.[citation needed]

An official inquiry, completed on 17 June 1915 for the Board of Trade, found the cause of the collision to be neglect of the rules by two signalmen. Both were charged with manslaughter in England, then convicted of culpable homicide after trial in Scotland; the two terms are broadly equivalent. After they were released from a Scottish jail in 1916, they were re-employed by the railway company, although not as signalmen.

A memorial to the dead soldiers was erected soon after the accident and there are more recent memorials at various locations. An annual remembrance service is held at Rosebank Cemetery.

  1. ^ This total comprises 214 soldiers on the troop train, 9 passengers from the two passenger trains and three railway employees. Four bodies were identified as those of children and speculated to be stowaways on the troop train, but the probability is that they were among the 50 troops whose bodies were never recovered at all.[citation needed] Lt.-Col. Druitt's official report into the accident gives the figure as 227 (he did not mention the four children),[1] but he compiled the report very soon after the accident and gave the number of troops killed as 215 which was later revised downwards by the army to 214, the figure which appears on the memorial in the Rosebank Cemetery in Edinburgh.
  1. ^ a b Druitt 1915, p. 26.
  2. ^ "BBC On this day 8 October 1952". BBC. 2008. Retrieved 14 January 2012. 
  3. ^ Rolt & Kichenside 1982, p. 208.
20:11, 6 September 2015 version the initial revision by Yandrossss. This is the version that Toddy1 reverted.
The Quintinshill rail disaster was a multi-train rail crash which occurred on 22 May 1915 outside the Quintinshill signal box near Gretna Green in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, resulting in the deaths of over 200 people, the worst in British history.[1]

Quintinshill box controlled two passing loops on each side on the Caledonian Main Line linking Glasgow and Carlisle (now part of the West Coast Main Line). At the time of the accident, both passing loops were occupied with goods trains, with a local passenger train standing on the southbound main line. The first collision occurred when a southbound troop train travelling from Larbert to Liverpool collided with the stationary local train. A minute later the wreckage was struck by a northbound express sleeper train from London to Glasgow. Gas from the Pintsch gas lighting system of the old wooden carriages of the troop train ignited, starting a fire which soon engulfed all five trains.

Those killed were mainly Territorial soldiers from the 1/7th (Leith) Battalion, the Royal Scots heading for Gallipoli. The precise death toll was never established with confidence as some bodies were never recovered, having been wholly consumed by the fire, while the roll list of the regiment was also destroyed in the fire.[2] The official death toll was 227 (215 soldiers, 9 passengers and three railway employees), but the army later reduced their 215 by one. Not counted in the 227 were four victims thought to be children[2], but which were never claimed or identified. The soldiers were buried together in a mass grave in Edinburgh's Rosebank Cemetery, where an annual remembrance is held.

An official inquiry, completed on 17 June 1915 for the Board of Trade, found the cause of the collision to be neglect of the rules by two signalmen. With both loops occupied, the northbound local train had been reversed onto the southbound line to allow passage of the late running northbound sleeper. It's presence was then overlooked, and the southbound troop train was cleared for passage. As a result, both were charged with manslaughter in England, then convicted of culpable homicide after trial in Scotland; the two terms are broadly equivalent. After they were released from a Scottish jail in 1916, they were re-employed by the railway company, although not as signalmen. A 2015 BBC documentary alleges the two signalmen were scapegoats, and blame for the crash also rested on the working practices of both the railway company and the government, who ran the railways in war-time.

  1. ^ "BBC On this day 8 October 1952". BBC. 2008. Retrieved 14 January 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Druitt 1915, p. 26.
17:35, 7 September 2015 version final version by Yandrossss
The Quintinshill rail disaster was a multi-train rail crash which occurred on 22 May 1915 outside the Quintinshill signal box near Gretna Green in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, resulting in the deaths of over 200 people, the worst in British history.[1]

Quintinshill box controlled two passing loops on each side on the Caledonian Main Line linking Glasgow and Carlisle (now part of the West Coast Main Line). At the time of the accident, both passing loops were occupied with goods trains, with a local passenger train standing on the southbound main line. The first collision occurred when a southbound troop train travelling from Larbert to Liverpool collided with the stationary local train.[2] A minute later the wreckage was struck by a northbound express sleeper train from London to Glasgow. Gas from the Pintsch gas lighting system of the old wooden carriages of the troop train ignited, starting a fire which soon engulfed all five trains.

Those killed were mainly Territorial soldiers from the 1/7th (Leith) Battalion, the Royal Scots heading for Gallipoli. The precise death toll was never established with confidence as some bodies were never recovered, having been wholly consumed by the fire, while the roll list of the regiment was also destroyed in the fire.[3] The official death toll was 227 (215 soldiers, 9 passengers and three railway employees), but the army later reduced their 215 by one. Not counted in the 227 were four victims thought to be children,[3] but which were never claimed or identified. The soldiers were buried together in a mass grave in Edinburgh's Rosebank Cemetery, where an annual remembrance is held.

An official inquiry, completed on 17 June 1915 for the Board of Trade, found the cause of the collision to be neglect of the rules by two signalmen. With both loops occupied, the northbound local train had been reversed onto the southbound line to allow passage of the late running northbound sleeper. It's presence was then overlooked, and the southbound troop train was cleared for passage. As a result, both were charged with manslaughter in England, then convicted of culpable homicide after trial in Scotland; the two terms are broadly equivalent. After they were released from a Scottish jail in 1916, they were re-employed by the railway company, although not as signalmen.

  1. ^ "BBC On this day 8 October 1952". BBC. 2008. Retrieved 14 January 2012. 
  2. ^ Rolt & Kichenside 1982, p. 208.
  3. ^ a b Druitt 1915, p. 26.
06:57, 8 September 2015 version after partial revert by HLGallon
The Quintinshill rail disaster was a multi-train rail crash which occurred on 22 May 1915 outside the Quintinshill signal box near Gretna Green in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, resulting in the deaths of over 200 people, the worst in British history.[1]

Quintinshill box controlled two passing loops on each side on the Caledonian Main Line linking Glasgow and Carlisle (now part of the West Coast Main Line). At the time of the accident, both passing loops were occupied with goods trains, with a local passenger train standing on the southbound main line. The first collision occurred when a southbound troop train travelling from Larbert to Liverpool collided with the stationary local train. A minute later the wreckage was struck by a northbound express sleeper train from London to Glasgow. Gas from the Pintsch gas lighting system of the old wooden carriages of the troop train ignited, starting a fire which soon engulfed all five trains.

Those killed were mainly Territorial soldiers from the 1/7th (Leith) Battalion, the Royal Scots heading for Gallipoli. The precise death toll was never established with confidence as some bodies were never recovered, having been wholly consumed by the fire, while the roll list of the regiment was also destroyed in the fire.[2] The official death toll was 227 (215 soldiers, 9 passengers and three railway employees), but the army later reduced their 215 by one. Not counted in the 227 were four victims thought to be children,[2] but which were never claimed or identified. The soldiers were buried together in a mass grave in Edinburgh's Rosebank Cemetery, where an annual remembrance is held.

An official inquiry, completed on 17 June 1915 for the Board of Trade, found the cause of the collision to be neglect of the rules by two signalmen. With both loops occupied, the northbound local train had been reversed onto the southbound line to allow passage of the late running northbound sleeper. It's presence was then overlooked, and the southbound troop train was cleared for passage. As a result, both were charged with manslaughter in England, then convicted of culpable homicide after trial in Scotland; the two terms are broadly equivalent. After they were released from a Scottish jail in 1916, they were re-employed by the railway company, although not as signalmen.

  1. ^ "BBC On this day 8 October 1952". BBC. 2008. Retrieved 14 January 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Druitt 1915, p. 26.

Toddy1, you're actions are confusing me. If you have any remaining objections to my changes, can you please detail them here precisely? I don't know why you've posted the four different versions above, under a post that said I had rectified your main objection - the apparent reduction in citations. Are people supposed to be commenting on them or something? I also notice you restored the note to the infobox which you claim I removed without reason - hopefully my clarification makes clear that the reason I took it out of there is the same as why I rolled it into the main text. Frankly, at this point, it's not clear to me which elements of the confusion about the precise number of deaths is backed by a source, and which is just people's speculation here - the note was tagged as requiring a citation for precisely that reason it seems. My version hopefully clarified (assuming the main article citations are correct) what is known, and what is unknown, and what implications that has on the precise death toll. But I think it's safe to assume that, for the purposes of a quick reference in the infobox - 226 is the most likely accurate number - if necessary I suppose "(see articles)" could be added to somehow note it's possibly in question. Yandrossss (talk) 13:34, 8 September 2015 (UTC)

Searle and Richards book[edit]

I am surprised that the book "The Quintinshill Conspiracy" by Adrian Searle and Jackanthon Richards is not referenced in this article. The BBC documentary, about which there has been much discussion, was clearly based on this book so all the arguments about whether the documentary can be cited could be avoided by referencing it. Maybe the word "conspiracy" in the title is off-putting, but it is a solid piece of well-referenced research. The article as it stands, perhaps not unreasonably, is based on the Board of Trade report. This may, according to the book, have just been a re-write of the Caledonian's internal enquiry and there are areas of concern. For instance, in the article section "Signalman's errors" we are told that the blocking back signal should have been sent after "train out of section" had been given for the coal train. This was explicitly prohibited by the Caledonian's rules (blocking back should have taken place before the local crossed over but Meakin could not do this as the section was already occupied by the coal train. In the circumstances, "train out" should not have been sent until the local was clear of the up line and it was never established who sent the signal while it was still there.)Bruern Crossing (talk) 13:26, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

I've only skimmed the book (i don't have a copy) and while it probably has some valid points, it does seem to set out to be a bit sensationalist and determined to prove Meakin and Tinsley to be scapegoats. If I find a copy cheap I'll take another look. You're right though that the BBC programme was heavily based on it and I think it would be good to redress that. Nthep (talk) 13:43, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
I've got a copy
  • Richards, Jack; Searle, Adrian (2015) [2013]. The Quintinshill Conspiracy. Barnsley: Pen & Sword. ISBN 1-4738-4257-3. 
but I've not yet even skimmed it. I got mine cheap at some point between 30 May and 3 June 2015, in The Works, Didcot (other cheap bookshops are available). --Redrose64 (talk) 20:35, 7 February 2016 (UTC)