Vigerslev train crash
The Vigerslev train crash occurred on 1 November 1919, when an express train collided at speed with a stopped train near Vigerslev, due to a dispatcher error. 40 people were killed and about 60 injured. Vigerslev is nowadays a part of Copenhagen's western Valby district. Vigerslev train station is nowadays the Hvidovre station of the B-line of Copenhagen's S-tog network; the accident happened to the west of Vigerslev station, between current Rødovre station and Hvidovre station. At the time, the area around the track was farm land. Train number 168 en route from Kalundborg to Copenhagen Central Station was delayed by about 15 minutes due to the heavy traffic on the line; the train consisted of 15 wagons pulled by DSB Litra K 150. It was made of two baggage cars, a mail carriage, four two-axle 3rd class compartment coaches, a four-axle 1st class compartment coach, a four-axle 2nd class compartment coach and another two-axle 3rd class compartment coach. At Holbæk, four additional coaches were added at the rear-end.
The last wagon was a well occupied 3rd class passenger car. Most of the carriages were between 17 and 56 years old and only two were less than 10 years old. All of them were made out of wood with steel frames. Train 168 was followed by an unscheduled train that carried firefighting equipment to Køge, where it was urgently required to fight a large fire, it was composed of four goods wagons and salon-composite coach Bj 665 pulled by DSB Litra KS 276. This train on its part was followed an extra express train service, train 8064, on its way from Korsør to Copenhagen Central Station. Pulling it was a high speed DSB Class P steam locomotive that could reach 120 kilometres per hour; the wagons after the locomotive were a two-axle mail carriage, a four-axle baggage car, two four axle 1st class compartment cars and seven of four-axle 3rd class corridor coaches. Against the timetable, train 168 stopped just after passing Vigerslev station, it was 20:50. It turned out that an 8-year-old boy opened one of the outer doors of the train and fell out.
Another passenger pulled the emergency brake in response to that. The train now had to drive back to search for the boy. However, the train dispatcher decided that the train carrying the fire fighting equipment had priority and signalled that the track was free to this train. Train 168 had to wait at the Vigerslev station, the engineer of train 168 was told to look for the boy as soon as the other train had passed. After the train passed, train 168 reversed in the direction of Brøndbyøster station, passing the entry signal from behind; the train dispatcher had only thought about the train carrying the firefighting equipment, gave train 168 a free path to Brondbyøster. Shortly after he noticed that he didn't think about the express train, he tried to contact Brøndbyøster station; this was unsuccessful however, as his colleague at Brondbyøster was busy with the throughcoming express train. After the dispatcher at Vigerslev managed to have phone contact with the Brondbyøster dispatcher and made him aware of the danger, he grabbed a red signalling lantern, ran toward the engineer of train 168 and commanded him to reverse.
The engineer followed his command. Train 168 had only travelled 130 metres from the entry signal at Vigerslev towards the direction of Brondbyøster; the boy who fell off the train had been found next to the track, he had survived with a broken leg. Meanwhile, the dispatcher ran towards Brondbyøster to signal the express train to stop with his lantern; the express train, was nearing rapidly. Although the red entry signals, the red tail signals of train 168 and the dispatcher's lantern were visible to the engineer of the express train, the train didn't brake, as passengers in the train would testify. On 21:01 the express train crashed into train 168 at full speed; the last five carriages of train 168 were smashed, 30 passengers died in these. Parts of the carriages crashed down an 8 metres high embankment; the express train's locomotive and its three front wagons came to a stop on the remains of train 168's carriages. 6 passengers of the express train died, as well as the engineer and the fireman, who died on the site, badly burned by the boiling water escaping from the locomotive's boiler.
In total 40 people died, 58 were injured of which 27 badly. It was the worst railway accident in Denmark in number of victims; the damage to equipment was 1.2 million Danish krone. As the accident took place away from a station, the site was not lit, which complicated the salvage operations; the only light source available were the front signals of the train carrying the fire fighting equipment, that travelled back to the site of the accident. The dispatcher in Vigerslev was sentenced to two months jail time in 1920; the express train locomotive was repaired, upgraded as a class Pr Pacific in 1943 wrecked in another accident in 1951 when it collided head-on with a DSB Litra R locomotive. One of the driving wheel axles of the locomotive is on display at the Forstadsmuseet in Brondbyøster. Eight carriages in both trains were badly damaged or destroyed. Two of them were repaired for other purposes and one of them wasn't scrapped until 2013, despite its coach body having been set aside for preservation in 1995.
Despite not directly involved in the collision, the Salon coach Bj 665, preserved in the Danish Railway Museum, saw some role in Vigerslev train crash: it was the tail-end carriage of the firefighting train runn
Houten train accident
The Houten train accident was a railway accident in between Houten and Schalkwijk, the Netherlands on 7 June 1917 around 4.11 Amsterdam Time. The locomotive and the first eight coaches were detached from the other part of the train and came to a standstill. Eleven coaches derailed including one. 11 people were injured. Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, in the train was unharmed; the cause of the derailment was heat: the outside temperature was about 30 degrees Celsius causing expansion of the rails. It was named a "slap in the track". During the evening and night, soldiers who were stationed in the area helped to release one of the two tracks; the train included two Royal coaches. These coaches were at the rear of only the first one derailed. Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands was unharmed; the Queen had made a two-day visit to the Zaltbommel region and was on her way home to The Hague via Utrecht. The Queen helped with taking care over the injured people, she responded professionally. After 20 minutes to half an hour there was no more help needed and the Queen went on by train to Utrecht.
The day after the accident there were at the various royal palaces registers opened where people could sign to congratulate the Queen with the good outcome. Video on YouTube
Quintinshill rail disaster
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. It resulted in the deaths of over 200 people, is the worst rail disaster in British history. Quintinshill box controlled two passing loops, one on each side of the double-track Caledonian Main Line linking Glasgow and Carlisle. At the time of the accident, both passing loops were occupied with goods trains and a northbound local passenger train was 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 the wreckage was struck by a northbound sleeping car express train travelling from London Euston to Glasgow Central. 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. Only half the soldiers on the troop train survived.
Those killed were Territorial soldiers from the 1/7th 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 destroyed in the fire; the official death toll was 227, but the army reduced their 215 by one. Not counted in the 227 were four victims thought to be children, but whose remains 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 the northbound loop occupied, the northbound local train had been reversed onto the southbound line to allow passage of two late running northbound sleepers, its presence was overlooked, the southbound troop train was cleared for passage.
As a result, both were charged with manslaughter in England convicted of culpable homicide after trial in Scotland. After they were released from a Scottish jail in 1916, they were re-employed by the railway company, although not as signalmen; the disaster occurred at Quintinshill signal box, an intermediate box in a remote location, sited to control two passing loops, one on each side of the double-track main line of the Caledonian Railway. On that section of the main line between Carlisle and Glasgow, in British railway parlance, Up is towards Carlisle and Down is towards Glasgow; the area around was thinly-populated countryside with scattered farms. The Ordnance Survey 1:2500 map of 1859 shows a house named Quintinshill at 55.0133°N 3.0591°W, around one-half mile south-south-east of the signal box. The nearest settlement was Gretna, 1.5 miles to the south of the box, on the Scottish side of the Anglo-Scottish border. Responsibility for Quintinshill signal box rested with the stationmaster at Gretna station who, on the day of the accident, was Alexander Thorburn.
The box was staffed on a shift system. In the mornings, a night-shift signaller would be relieved by the early-shift signaller at 6.00 am. On the day of the disaster, George Meakin was the night signalman, while James Tinsley was to work the early day shift. At the time of the accident, normal northbound traffic through the section included two overnight sleeping car expresses, from London to Glasgow and Edinburgh which were due to depart Carlisle at 5.50am and 6.05am. They were followed by an all-stations local passenger service from Carlisle to Beattock, advertised in the public timetable as departing Carlisle at 6.10am but which departed at 6.17am. If the sleepers ran late, the local service could not be held back to depart from Carlisle after them, because precedence would need to be given to the scheduled departure of rival companies' express trains at 6.30am and 6.35am. Any late running of the local train would cause knock-on delays to a Moffat to Glasgow and Edinburgh commuter service, with which the stopper connected at Beattock.
Therefore, in the event of one or both of the sleepers running late, the stopping train would depart at its advertised time of 6.10am, be shunted at one of the intermediate stations or signal boxes to allow the sleeper to overtake it. One of the locations where that could take place was Quintinshill, where there were passing loops for both Up and Down lines. If the Down loop was occupied, as it was on the morning of the accident the northbound local train would be shunted, via a trailing crossover, to the Up main line. Although not a preferred method of operation, it was allowed by the rules and was not considered a dangerous manoeuvre, provided the proper precautions were taken. In the six months before the accident, the 6.17am local train had been shunted at Quintinshill 21 times, on four of those occasions it had been shunted onto the Up line. The disaster occurred on the morning of 22 May. On this morning, both of the northbound night expresses were running late, the northbound local train required to be shunted at Quintinshill, but the Down passing loop was occupied by the 4.50 am goods train from Carlisle.
Two southbound trains were due to pass through the box's section of track - a special freight train consisting of empty coal wagons, a special troop train. With the Down loop occupied, night shift signalman Meakin decided to shunt the local passenger train onto the Up main line. At this point, the southbound empty coal train w
Rail accidents at Carrbridge
There have been two rail accidents at Carrbridge, Scotland. One occurred in 1914, the second in 2010. On the afternoon of 18 June 1914, a tremendous thunderstorm struck the mountains to the north of the Highland Main Line; the road bridge carrying the road from Carrbridge to Inverness across the Baddengorm Burn was swept away, while further down the valley the burn entered a narrow gorge, crossed by the railway by means of a narrow arch span of only 15 feet. The water was at rail level when the six-carriage 11.50 Perth to Inverness train, 9 minutes late leaving Carrbridge Station at 15:24, crossed the bridge. The first two carriages reached the other side but the bridge gave way, its foundations having been undermined by a vortex of water; the third carriage was left on the north bank of the burn but the next was plunged into the torrent which soon demolished the carriage, drowning five passengers. The enquiry laid no blame on the designers of the bridge as they could not have foreseen such a volume and force of water, which had never before occurred in the area.
The bridge was rebuilt with a longer, span. On 4 January 2010, a freight train from Inverness to Grangemouth, hauled by a DB Schenker Class 66 for Stobart Rail, derailed on the 1 in 60 gradient down from Slochd Summit at the run out or catch points at the northern end of the station, ran down an embankment; the driver and technician on the train suffered minor injuries. The line was not reopened until 13 January; the RAIB report found the cause was found to be snow and ice that worked its way into the space between the wheels' brake blocks. This may have interfered with other parts of the brake mechanisms on the freight wagons, it was found that the way the driver performed running brake tests while on the trip contributed to the outcome. Other possible contributing factors were that ploughed snow may have been allowed to accumulate too close to the tracks, thus the train passing these snowbanks at speed may have pulled snow into the brake mechanisms. British Railway Disasters publ. Ian Allan, 1996 ISBN 0-7110-2470-7 Official report into 1914 crash Image of 1914 crash site Recovery of carriage at 1914 crash site
Hammond Circus Train Wreck
The Hammond Circus Train Wreck occurred on June 22, 1918, during the last months of World War I and was one of the worst train wrecks in US history. Eighty-six people were reported to have died and another 127 were injured when a locomotive engineer fell asleep and ran his train into the rear of another near Hammond, Indiana; the circus train held 400 roustabouts of the Hagenbeck-Wallace circus. The Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus used old wooden cars; the circus train had two train segments, the segment, loaded with animals was dispatched prior, had left the train with all the performers and workers on the tracks. The cars were being moved to a spot near Gary, Indiana, so a mechanical problem could be addressed, some of the cars had been left on the main line track. In the early morning hours of June 22, 1918, Michigan Central engineer Alonzo Sargent was at the throttle of an MC troop train pulled by MC/NYC class K80r 4-6-2 "Pacific" number 8485 with 20 empty Pullman cars, he was aware that his train was following a slower circus train.
Sargent, an experienced man at the throttle, had slept little in the preceding 24 hours. The effects of a lack of sleep, several heavy meals, some kidney pills, the gentle rolling of his locomotive are thought to have caused him to fall asleep at the controls. At 4 a.m. he missed at least two automatic signals and warnings posted by a brakeman of the 26-car circus train, which had made an emergency stop to check a hot box on one of the flatcars. The second train plowed into the caboose and four rear wooden sleeping cars of the circus train at a rail crossing known as Ivanhoe Interlocking at an estimated speed of 35 miles per hour. Upon impact, the circus trains lamps ignited the wooden cars and spread. Two men were stationed at the Ivanhoe Signal Tower, about 100 feet from the accident, phoned multiple people in an attempt to raise help for the victims; the first on the scene was the Mayor of Gary, who brought the fire chief, phoned all the medical personnel he could. Triage for the victims was performed at the Michigan Central Railroad station in Hammond and they were sent to St. Margaret's Hospital.
Most of the 86 who were killed in the train wreck perished in the first 35 seconds after the collision. The wreckage caught on fire; the fire was so intense that many of the victims were thought to be some of the African-American porters on the train, until investigations identified it as being severe burns. Among the dead were Arthur Dierckx and Max Nietzborn of the Great Dierckx Brothers, a strongman act, Jennie Ward Todd of The Flying Wards. There were 127 injuries. Five days 53 of those killed were buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, at the intersection of Cermak Road and Des Plaines Avenue in Forest Park, Illinois, in a section set aside as Showmen's Rest, purchased by the Showmen's League of America only a few months earlier; the section is surrounded by statues of elephants in a symbolic mourning posture. Only five of those buried were formally identified, so the graves of most of the casualties are marked "Unknown Male" or "Unknown Female." One grave is marked "Smiley", one "Baldy", another "4 Horse Driver".
The more recent graves at the location are those who traveled with the circus and wanted to be buried there after they died. The wreck is described in great detail in the report of the joint Interstate Commerce Commission and Indiana Public Service Commission following an investigation. Sargent, under arrest, refused to testify at any of the hearings on advice of his counsel. In his report of the accident to the officials of the railroad company, he made the following statement: I was called shortly after 8 p.m. June 21, for deadhead equipment west, engine 8485, for 10.15 p.m. and left Kalamazoo, Michigan at 10.35 p.m. Had been up since 5 a.m. June 21, dead heading from my home in Jackson on Train No. 41, had had little or no sleep during the day. Had had a couple of heavy meals before going out, realizing that I would not get anything more to eat until some time the next morning. Leaving Kalamazoo, followed freight train to Michigan City yard and stopped at signal near Center Street. Got proceed signal from some one on ground, pulled up to Michigan City, stopped at standpipe and took water.
While following this freight train, we stopped first between Dowagiac and Pokagon on account signal at danger. Stopped again at Pokagon and Niles for same reason, this freight train being ahead. Leaving Michigan City, had clear track to East Gary and there caught block of train ahead, reduced speed, but did not have to stop, as block cleared before I reached it. Reduced speed going through Gary to comply with rules, saw no more signals at caution or danger until approaching curve east of Ivanhoe, where I found second signal east of wreck at caution. Was going about 25 miles per hour at this point, but did not reduce speed, as I expected that the next signal would clear before I got to it, or that I would see it, if at danger, in time to stop; the wind was blowing hard into cab on my side and I closed the window, which made the inside of cab more comfortable. Before reaching the next signal I missed it. Not realizing what had happened to me until within 75 to 90 feet, I awoke and saw the tail or marker lights showing red on a train directly ahead of me.
Not realizing that the rear end of this train was so close. I started to make a service application, but before completing it placed brake-valve handle into emergency position. We struck instantly after making the brake application
Green Mountain train wreck
The Green Mountain train wreck is the worst railroad accident in the state of Iowa. It occurred between Green Mountain and Gladbrook on the morning of March 21, 1910 and killed 52 people. A train wreck earlier that morning at Shellsburg meant that the Rock Island Line trains were being diverted from Cedar Rapids to Waterloo over Chicago Great Western tracks via Marshalltown; the trains concerned were the No. 21 St Louis-Twin Cities and No. 19 Chicago-Twin Cities. The new combined train now had two wooden cars sandwiched between the locomotives, a steel Pullman car, other steel cars. At a place between Green Mountain and Gladbrook, just east of the Marshall County border the lead engine left the tracks and hit a clay embankment coming to a sudden stop; the steel cars sliced through the two wooden coaches: a smoking car and a ladies' day coach containing many children. There were no fatalities in the Pullman cars. I have seen what I shall see all my life when I dream". A relief train arrived two hours after the accident.
It was reported, "The sight was one of horribly crushed and dismembered bodies". No official cause was released for the wreck, nor were any charges of neglect made although the crash did result in the introduction of new safety procedures. 100th anniversary of record Iowa train wreck remembered Gladbrook, IA Train Wreck, Mar 1910
Herceghalom rail crash
The Herceghalom rail crash occurred on 1 December 1916 at 00:24 in the station of Herceghalom, Hungary, on the Budapest–Hegyeshalom line as a side collision of an express train running into a shunting passenger train. 69 people were killed. This is the deadliest train incident in Hungary. Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, King of Hungary and Bohemia had died on 21 November 1916 in Schönbrunn; the funeral was held on 30 November 1916. Many mourners from Hungarian area travelled home by train, they used two special trains in the night of 30 November to 1 December 1916. The express train No 3 from Vienna to Budapest was split into two parts because of the high demand; the trains were delayed. Passenger train No 1308 from Budapest via Győr to Graz should have used track No 3, but had been inadvertently led to track No 2; the station master wanted to correct this mistake, but miscalculated the time that the delayed express train would need to reach the station. He ordered that the passenger train should move to track No 3.
He secured this movement by displaying "Stop" at the entry signal. The engine driver of the first part of express train No 3 passed the pre-signal with a speed of 76 km/h, he said. He saw the "Stop" signal 700 metres down the line and began to brake hitting the shunting passenger train in its side after another 500 m. Seven carriages of the passenger train and one saloon car and one first-class passenger car of the express train were destroyed. All comments about the signals and the begin of braking are from the engine driver, as no automated control systems were installed. 69 people, including Lajos Thallóczy, were killed. 164 were wounded, 60 of them severely. Stockert, Ludwig. "Eisenbahnunfälle – Ein weiterer Beitrag zur Eisenbahnbetriebslehre". Berlin