Welwyn Garden City rail crashes

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1935 Welwyn Garden City rail crash
Details
Date15 June 1935
Time23:27
LocationWelwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire
CountryEngland
LineEast Coast Main Line
OperatorLondon and North Eastern Railway
CauseSignalling error
Statistics
Trains2
Passengers337
Deaths14
Injuries29
List of UK rail accidents by year

There have been two rail crashes near Welwyn Garden City railway station in Hertfordshire, England, one in 1935 and another less serious accident in 1957.

1935 crash[edit]

On 15 June 1935, a train from London King's Cross to Leeds collided with a train from Kings Cross to Newcastle at night. Fourteen people were killed and 29 injured.

The accident was a rear collision caused by a signalman's error. The signalman at Welwyn Garden City, who had been fairly recently appointed to the box, became confused and accepted two trains into the same block section. The Newcastle train, arriving first, received a signal check and was slowed down to 15‒20 mph; the Leeds train consisting of 11 coaches hauled by Class K3 2-6-0 No 4009 ran into it at approximately 65 mph.

There were several significant features. Firstly, the modern rolling stock withstood the violent collision well, apart from the last coach which was totally destroyed; older coaches would have been crushed, with much heavier loss of life. Secondly, the Inspecting Officer felt that the signalman had been promoted beyond his level of competence for such a busy box, and the assessment and training procedures for signalmen should be improved. Thirdly, he recommended that the block instruments should be linked to the track circuits to prevent future occurrences in such a way that a "Line clear" indication could only be given on the block instrument if the track circuits had registered passage of a train; this was widely adopted and known as Welwyn Control.

1957 Welwyn Garden City rail crash
Welwyn Garden City 1 geograph-2272229-by-Ben-Brooksbank.jpg
Details
Date7 January 1957
LocationWelwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire
CountryEngland
LineEast Coast Main Line
CauseSignals passed at danger
Statistics
Trains2
Deaths1
Injuries25
List of UK rail accidents by year

1957 crash[edit]

A second unrelated accident took place here on 7 January 1957; this was another rear collision. This accident took place at dawn about half a mile south of the station, and was due to the driver of an Aberdeen to London express passing signals at danger in mist, even failing to notice emergency detonators set off by the signalman.

The express which was travelling at around 60‒65 mph, collided with the rear end of a local train which had just pulled away from the station, and was travelling at around 30‒35 mph. The rear coach of the local train was wrecked in the collision and two more were overturned. One passenger in the local train was killed and 25 injured. The locomotive of the express overturned and the driver suffered severe shock.

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Coordinates: 51°48′07″N 0°12′11″W / 51.80194°N 0.20306°W / 51.80194; -0.20306