In railroading, the pilot is the device mounted at the front of a locomotive to deflect obstacles on the track that might otherwise derail the train. In addition to the pilot, small metal bars called life-guards, rail guards or guard irons are provided in front of the wheels, they knock away smaller obstacles lying directly on the running surface of the railhead. Fenced-off railway systems in Europe relied on those devices and did not use pilots, but that design is used in modern systems. Instead of a pilot, trams use. Objects lying on the tram track get hit by a sensor bracket, which triggers the lowering of a basket-shaped device to the ground, preventing the overrunning of the obstacles and dragging them along the road surface in front of the wheels. In snowy areas the pilot has the function of a snowplow; the pilot was invented by Charles Babbage in the 19th century, during his period of working for the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. However, Babbage's invention was not built, it is uncertain whether users were aware of Babbage's idea.
On a mainline locomotive, the pilot has to deflect an obstacle hit at speed. The locomotive should not lift on impact or the train will follow, the ideal is for a smooth structure so that the locomotive will not get caught and derailed; the typical shape is a blunt wedge, shallowly V-shaped in plan. In the days of steam locomotives, the front coupler was designed to swing out of the way so it could not get caught up. Early on, pilots were fabricated of bars mounted on a frame. Early diesel locomotives followed the same plan. Early shunting locomotives had a pilot with steps on it to allow yard workers to ride on the locomotive. In some countries, footboard pilots are outlawed for safety reasons, have been removed. Modern locomotives have front and rear platforms with safety rails where workers can ride. Most modern European rail vehicles must have pilots with snowplow rail guards by law; the required strength of the system is 30 kN in 50 kN near the rails. Modern US diesel locomotives have flatter, less wedge-shaped pilots, because a diesel locomotive has the cab near the front, the crew are vulnerable to impact from obstacles pushed up by the pilot.
To protect the crew and passengers, most modern locomotives and passenger cars have a device known as an anti-climber fitted above the coupler, designed to prevent colliding vehicles from travelling up over the frame and through the locomotive cab or passenger car. Where a pilot is not fitted, a different type of anti-climber may be used; this is to prevent one passenger car from telescoping in a collision. Bullbar Buffer stop Headstock "Notes and News: Pilot Engines and Present"; the Railway Magazine. Vol. 91 no. 556. Westminster: Railway Publishing Company. March–April 1945. Pp. 117–118. - describes seven other meanings of the word "pilot" used on Britain's railways. "Hubris and the Cowcatcher by John H. White Jr". Railroad History. Pflugerville, Texas: Railway & Locomotive Historical Society: 86–91. Fall–Winter 2016. - describes Lorenzo Davies, alleged inventor of the cowcatcher
2008 Chatsworth train collision
The Chatsworth train collision occurred at 4:22:23 p.m. PDT on Friday, September 12, 2008, when a Union Pacific freight train and a Metrolink commuter train collided head-on in the Chatsworth district of Los Angeles, California; the scene of the accident was a curved section of single track on the Metrolink Ventura County Line just east of Stoney Point. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, which investigated the cause of the collision, the Metrolink train ran through a red signal before entering a section of single track where the opposing freight train had been given the right of way by the train dispatcher; the NTSB faulted the Metrolink train's engineer, 46-year-old Robert M. Sanchez, for the collision, concluding that he was distracted by text messages he was sending while on duty; this mass casualty event brought a massive emergency response by both the city and county of Los Angeles, but the nature and extent of physical trauma taxed the available resources. Response included CEMP as a first responding unit requested by LAPD.
With 25 deaths, this became the deadliest accident in Metrolink's history. Many survivors remained hospitalized for an extended period. Lawyers began filing claims against Metrolink, in total, they are expected to exceed a US$200 million liability limit set in 1997, portending the first legal challenges to that law. Issues surrounding this accident have initiated and reinvigorated public debate on a range of topics including public relations and emergency management, which has resulted in regulatory and legislative actions, including the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008. Metrolink commuter train 111, consisting of a 250,000-pound EMD F59PH locomotive pulling three Bombardier BiLevel Coaches, departed Union Station in downtown Los Angeles at 15:35 PDT heading westbound to Moorpark in suburban Ventura County. 40 minutes it departed the Chatsworth station with 222 people aboard, had traveled 1.25 miles when it collided head-on with an eastbound Union Pacific local freight train. The freight train was pulling 17 freight cars.
The Metrolink locomotive telescoped rearward into the passenger compartment of the first passenger car and caught fire. All three locomotives, the leading Metrolink passenger car, ten freight cars were derailed, both lead locomotives and the passenger car fell over; the collision occurred after the Metrolink passenger train engineer, 46-year-old Robert M. Sanchez, failed to obey a red stop signal that indicated it was not safe to proceed into the single track section; the train dispatcher's computer at a remote control center in Pomona did not display a warning prior to the accident according to the NTSB. Metrolink reported that the dispatcher tried in vain to contact the train crew to warn them. Both trains were moving toward each other at the time of the collision. At least one passenger on the Metrolink train reported seeing the freight train moments before impact, coming around the curve; the conductor of the passenger train, in the rear car and was injured in the accident, estimated that his train was traveling at 40 miles per hour before it came to a dead stop after the collision.
The NTSB reported. The freight train was traveling at the same speed after its engineer triggered the emergency air brake only two seconds before impact, while the Metrolink engineer never applied the brakes on his train; the accident occurred after the freight train emerged from the 500-foot-long tunnel #28, just south of California State Route 118 near the intersection of Heather Lee Lane and Andora Avenue near Chatsworth Hills Academy. The accident was in Chatsworth, a neighborhood of Los Angeles located at the northwestern edge of the San Fernando Valley; the trains collided on the Metrolink Ventura County Line, part of the Montalvo Cutoff, opened by the Southern Pacific Company on March 20, 1904, to improve the alignment of its Coast Line. Metrolink has operated the line since purchasing it in the 1990s from Southern Pacific, which retained trackage rights for freight service. Both trains were on the same section of single track that runs between the Chatsworth station through the Santa Susana Pass.
The line returns to double track again. Three tunnels under the pass are only wide enough to support a single track, it would be costly to widen them; this single-track section carries 12 freight trains each day. The line's railway signaling system is designed to ensure that trains wait on the double-track section while a train is proceeding in the other direction on the single track; the signal system was upgraded in the 1990s to support Metrolink commuter rail services, Richard Stanger, the executive director of Metrolink in its early years of 1991 to 1998, said the system had functioned without trouble in the past. The Metrolink train would wait in the Chatsworth station for the daily Union Pacific freight train to pass before proceeding, unless the freight train was waiting for it at Chatsworth; the location was not protected by catch points. The events on September 12, 2008 leading up to the collision: The Los Angeles Fire Department dispatched a single engine company with a four-person crew for a "possible physical rescue" at a residential address near
The Washington Metro, or locally Metro, is the common name of Metrorail, the rapid transit system serving the Washington metropolitan area of the United States. It is administered by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which operates the Metrobus service under the Metro name. Opened in 1976, the network now includes six lines, 91 stations, 117 miles of route. Metro serves the District of Columbia, as well as several jurisdictions in the states of Maryland and Virginia. In Maryland, Metro provides service to Prince George's counties. Combined with its ridership in the independent Virginia cities of Falls Church and Fairfax, the Metro service area is coextensive with the inner ring of the Washington metropolitan area; the system is being expanded to reach Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County, Virginia. It operates as a deep-level subway in more densely populated parts of the D. C. metropolitan area, while most of the suburban tracks elevated. The longest single-tier escalator in the Western Hemisphere, spanning 230 feet, is located at Metro's deep-level Wheaton station.
Metro is the third-busiest rapid transit system in the United States in number of passenger trips, after the New York City Subway and Chicago "L". There were 179.7 million trips on Metro in fiscal year 2016. In June 2008, Metro set 798,456 per weekday. Fares vary based on the distance traveled, the time of day, the type of card used by the passenger. Riders enter and exit the system using a proximity card called SmarTrip. During the 1960s plans were laid for a massive freeway system in Washington. Harland Bartholomew, who chaired the National Capital Planning Commission, thought that a rail transit system would never be self-sufficient because of low density land uses and general transit ridership decline, but the plan met fierce opposition, was altered to include a Capital Beltway system plus rail line radials. The Beltway received full funding. In 1960 the federal government created the National Capital Transportation Agency to develop a rapid rail system. In 1966, a bill creating WMATA was passed by the federal government, the District of Columbia and Maryland, with planning power for the system being transferred to it from the NCTA.
WMATA approved plans for a 97.2-mile regional system on March 1, 1968. The plan consisted of a "core" regional system, which included the original five Metro lines, as well as several "future extensions", many of which were not constructed; the first experimental Metro station was built above ground in May 1968 for a cost of $69,000. It was 64x30x17 feet and meant to test construction techniques and acoustics prior to full-scale construction efforts. Construction began after a groundbreaking ceremony on December 9, 1969, when Secretary of Transportation John A. Volpe, District Mayor Walter Washington, Maryland Governor Marvin Mandel tossed the first spade of dirt at Judiciary Square; the first portion of the system opened March 27, 1976, with 4.6 miles available on the Red Line with five stations from Rhode Island Avenue to Farragut North, all in the District of Columbia. Arlington County, Virginia was linked to the system on July 1, 1977. Underground stations were built with cathedral-like arches of concrete, highlighted by soft, indirect lighting.
The name Metro was suggested by Massimo Vignelli, who designed the subway maps for the New York City Subway. The 103-mile, 83-station system was completed with the opening of the Green Line segment to Branch Avenue on January 13, 2001; this did not mean the end of the growth of the system: a 3.22-mile extension of the Blue Line to Largo Town Center and Morgan Boulevard opened on December 18, 2004. The first infill station, NoMa–Gallaudet U on the Red Line between Union Station and Rhode Island Avenue–Brentwood, opened November 20, 2004. Construction began in March 2009 for an extension to Dulles Airport to be built in two phases; the first phase, five stations connecting East Falls Church to Tysons Corner and Wiehle Avenue in Reston, opened on July 26, 2014. Metro construction required billions of federal dollars provided by Congress under the authority of the National Capital Transportation Act of 1969; the cost was paid with 33 % local money. This act was amended on January 3, 1980 by the National Capital Transportation Amendment of 1979, which authorized additional funding of $1.7 billion to permit the completion of 89.5 miles of the system as provided under the terms of a full funding grant agreement executed with WMATA in July 1986, which required 20% to be paid from local funds.
On November 15, 1990, the National Capital Transportation Amendments of 1990 authorized an additional $1.3 billion in federal funds for construction of the remaining 13.5 miles of the 103-mile system, completed via the execution of full funding grant agreements, with a 63% federal/37% local matching ratio. In February 2006 Metro officials chose Randi Miller, a car dealership employee from Woodbridge, Virginia, to record new "doors opening", "doors closing", "please stand clear of the doors, thank you" announcements aft
2012 Buenos Aires rail disaster
The 2012 Buenos Aires rail disaster known as the Once Tragedy, occurred on 22 February 2012, when a train crashed at Once Station in the Balvanera neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina. There were about 1,000 passengers on board when the crowded eight-carriage train, whose working brakes were not activated, hit the buffers at the end of the line, crushing the motor carriage and the following two carriages, after approaching the station at a speed of 26 kilometres per hour. Fifty-one people were killed and more than 700 were injured; the Sarmiento Line, on which the incident occurred, was operated by Trenes de Buenos Aires, owned by the Cirigliano brothers. It was the second fatal accident on the line within six months, following the 2011 Flores rail crash, the third-deadliest train accident in Argentina's history, after the Benavidez rail disaster in 1970 and the Sa Pereira rail disaster in 1978. Train number 16 was operating the Sarmiento Line local service 3772 from Moreno to Once during the morning rush hour on the first working day after a Carnival holiday.
The train was reported to be traveling too fast—about 50 kilometres per hour —on entry to the station. It failed to stop before the end of the track at Once Station and at 8:33 ART crashed into the buffer stops at a speed of 26 kilometres per hour; the motor carriage and the following two carriages were crushed. Several passengers described the impact as an explosion. Several ambulances were in the area at the time of the accident, waiting for a ship that had suffered an influenza B outbreak, were used to transport victims to nearby hospitals. People with minor injuries left the accident zone on foot. According to the city's head of civil defence, the rescue was difficult because the hard and complicated structure of the carriages made the task of removing the wreckage difficult; the train driver survived the crash. It took many people to free him from the wreckage, he was not injured, a test for blood alcohol content gave a negative result. The Sarmiento Line did not resume normal operation for several hours.
People demanding the reopening of the line threw bottles and chairs at federal police and soldiers guarding the crash site, though police regained control within a few minutes. Fifty-one people, including three children, were confirmed dead. More than 700 others were injured; the crash scene and audio logs were examined to determine the cause of the accident. Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner declared two days of national mourning and suspended the Carnival festivities. Mauricio Macri, the chief of government of the autonomous city of Buenos Aires, the governor of Buenos Aires Province, Daniel Scioli, did the same. Secretary of Transport Juan Pablo Schiavi announced that the government will investigate the accident, he reported that the driver was well rested at the time of the accident and had good labour reports. The train's and station's black box and the security tapes were handed to the a Federal Judge. Minister of Planning and Public Investment Julio de Vido announced that the presidency would initiate a lawsuit against TBA, the owners of the Sarmiento line, but, not accepted by the Justice Department, arguing that government officials could have broad responsibilities in the accident.
The Radical Civic Union proposed the impeachment of Schiavi, requesting explanations about the state of railway lines, pointing to previous complaints about the lack of proper state control over the working of the lines. They urged Congress to create a commission to investigate the case and the responsibilities of the government; the Civic Coalition criticized De Vido's announcement, pointing out that the state cannot be plaintiff as it is involved in the case. The General Confederation of Labour complained about the overall poor condition of the railways, saying that the accident highlighted the problem; the Argentine Workers' Central Union requested the removal of the TBA administration of the train. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom regretted the incident and expressed its condolences to the "families of the victims" and the "emergency agencies that are still working to aid" those in the accident; the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs of Mexico sent its condolences to the "sister country of Argentina" and hoped for the "speedy recovery of the families and those injured."
Pope Benedict XVI sent his condolences. A union leader said that the train had been working well, there had been no problems with the brakes at previous stations; some passengers reported the same. The driver, 28-year-old Marcos Antonio Córdoba, was taken into custody but released by the investigating judge over the objections of the prosecutor after declaring under oath "I tried to brake twice, but the mechanism failed." He activated the hand brake, which failed. A judicial source said Cordoba told investigators: "At each station he advised the dispatcher by radio that he had problems with the brakes." He said he was told to keep going. An event in Plaza de Mayo was arranged for 22 February 2014, to mark the second anniversary of the crash. On 29 December 2015, the case was tried and resulted in the conviction of 21 people and the acquittal of seven. Sergio Cigliano, one of the owners of TBA, was sentenced to nine years in prison. Juan Pablo Schiavi, former Secretary of Transportation, was se
Harrow and Wealdstone rail crash
The Harrow and Wealdstone rail crash was a three-train collision at Harrow and Wealdstone station in Wealdstone, Middlesex during the morning rush hour of 8 October 1952. An overnight express train from Perth crashed at speed into the rear of a local passenger train standing at a platform at the station; the wreckage blocked adjacent lines and was struck within seconds by a "double-headed" express train travelling north at 60 mph. The Ministry of Transport report on the crash found that the driver of the Perth train had passed a caution signal and two danger signals before colliding with the local train; the reason for this was never established, as both the driver and the fireman of the Perth train were killed in the accident. The accident accelerated the introduction of Automatic Warning System – by the time the report on the accident had been published, British Railways had agreed to a five-year plan to install the system to give drivers an in-cab audible and visual warning of being about to pass a distant signal at caution, actuated by magnets between the rails.
There are three pairs of running lines through Harrow and Wealdstone station, from east to west these are the slow lines, the fast lines of the West Coast Main Line, the DC electric lines. In each case the "up" line is southbound towards London Euston, the "down" is northbound towards Watford and Birmingham; the collisions involved three trains: The 7:31 a.m. Tring to Euston local passenger train—9 carriages hauled by a steam locomotive—on the up fast line The 8:15 p.m. Perth to Euston night express—11 carriages carrying 85 passengers hauled by a single steam locomotive—on the up fast line, running about 80 minutes late because of fog The 8:00 a.m. express from Euston to Liverpool and Manchester—15 carriages carrying 200 passengers, double headed by two steam locomotives—on the down fast line. On 8 October 1952, at around 8:17 a.m. the local train stopped at platform 4 at Harrow and Wealdstone station seven minutes late because of fog. Carrying about 800 passengers, it was busier than usual because the next Tring-Euston service had been cancelled.
As scheduled, it had travelled from Tring on the slow line, switching to the up fast line just before Harrow and Wealdstone to keep the slow lines to the south of the station clear for empty stock movements. At 8:19 a.m. just as the guard was walking back to his brake van after checking doors on the last two carriages, the Perth express crashed into the rear of the local at a speed of 50–60 miles per hour. It had passed a colour light signal at caution and two semaphore signals at danger, had burst through the trailing points of the crossover from the slow lines, which were still set for the local train; the collision destroyed the three wooden bodied coaches at the rear of the local train, telescoping them into the length of one coach, drove the entire train forward 20 yards. The leading two vans and three coaches of the Perth train piled up above the locomotive; the wreckage from the first collision was spread across the adjacent down fast line. A few seconds after the first collision, the northbound express to Liverpool Lime Street passed through the station on this line in the opposite direction at 60 miles per hour.
The leading locomotive of this train derailed. The two locomotives from the Liverpool train were diverted left, mounting the platform, which they ploughed across diagonally before landing on their side on the adjacent DC electric line, one line of, short circuited by the wreckage; the leading seven coaches, plus a kitchen car from the Liverpool train, were carried forward by momentum, overriding the existing wreckage and piling up above and around it. Several of these coaches struck the underside of the station footbridge, tearing away a steel girder. Sixteen vehicles, including thirteen coaches, two bogie vans and a kitchen car were destroyed or damaged in the collisions. Thirteen of these were compressed into a compact heap of wreckage 45 yards long, 18 yards wide and 6 yards high; the Perth locomotive was buried under the pile of wreckage. The first emergency response arrived at 8:22 a.m. with the fire brigade and police services being assisted by doctors and a medical unit of the United States Air Force, based five miles away at RAF West Ruislip.
Help was accepted from the Women's Voluntary Service and local residents. The first loaded ambulance left at 8:27 a.m. and by 12:15 p.m. most of the injured had been taken to hospital. The search for survivors continued until 1:30 the following morning. All six lines running through the station were closed including the undamaged slow lines to allow the injured access to ambulances that left from the goods yard; the slow lines reopened at 5:32 a.m. the following day. The electric lines were used by cranes to remove the Liverpool locomotives and carriages and reopened 4:30 a.m. on 11 October. The fast lines were reopened, with a speed restriction, at 8:00 p.m. on 12 October and a temporary footbridge was opened the same evening. There were 112 fatalities, including the driver and fireman of the Perth express and the driver of the lead engine of the Liverpool express. Of these 102 perished at the scene, the remaining 10 died in hospital from their injuries. Of the 108 passenger fatalities, at least 64 occurred in the local trai
Signal passed at danger
A signal passed at danger, in railway terminology of many countries, including Australia and the UK, occurs when a train passes a stop signal without authority to do so. The United States's National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates railway accidents in that country terms this as running a red signal, it takes a considerable distance to stop a train, incidents of this type involve a slight or slight overrun of the signal, at low speed, because the driver has braked too late after sighting the signal too late. In some situations, the driver is unaware that they have passed a signal at danger and so continues until a collision occurs, as in the Ladbroke Grove rail crash. In such cases it is up to the safety system to apply the brakes, or for the signaller to alert the driver. A SPAD may occur because the signal changed to “danger” too late for the driver to stop before reaching it, due to a technical failure; this can happen in an emergency. Thus, for example, where track circuiting alerts a signaller to a SPAD, a Stop All Trains message is issued, other drivers will be faced with signals stepping straight down from green or double yellow to red, further SPADs may result.
An approximate classification of causes is as follows: Misjudgement Inattention Distraction Fatigue Misreading of an adjacent signal due to line curvature, or sighting on one beyond Misunderstanding Miscommunication Incomplete or lapsed route knowledge Acute medical condition, such as a heart attack or stroke Chronic medical condition, such as sleep apnea causing microsleep Automatic train protection is a much more advanced form of train stop which can regulate the speed of trains in many more situations other than at a stop signal. ATP supervises speed restrictions and distance to danger points. An ATP will take into account the individual train characteristics such as brake performance. Thus, the ATP determines when brakes should be applied in order to stop the train before getting to the danger point. In the UK, only a small percentage of trains are fitted with this equipment; the DRA is an inhibiting switch located on the driver's desk of United Kingdom passenger trains designed to prevent'starting away SPADs'.
The driver is required to operate the DRA whenever the train is brought to a stand, either after passing a signal displaying caution or at a signal displaying danger. Once applied, the DRA prevents traction power from being taken. Whilst the ideal safety system would prevent a SPAD from occurring, most equipment in current use does not stop the train before it has passed the Danger signal. However, provided that the train stops within the designated overlap beyond that signal, a collision should not occur. On the London Underground, mechanical train stops are fitted beside the track at signals to stop a train, should a SPAD occur. Train stops are installed on main line railways in places where tripcock equipped trains run in extensive tunnels, such as the on the Northern City Line where the Automatic warning system and Train Protection & Warning System are not fitted. On the UK mainline, TPWS consists of an on-board receiver/timer connected to the emergency braking system of a train, radio frequency transmitter loops located on the track.
The'Overspeed Sensor System' pair of loops is located on the approach to the signal, will activate the train's emergency brake if it approaches faster than the'trigger speed' when the signal is at danger. The'Train Stop System' pair of loops is located at the signal, will activate the emergency brake if the train passes over them at any speed when the signal is at danger. TPWS has proved to be an effective system in the UK, has prevented several significant collisions. However, its deployment is not universal. At certain junctions where if the signal protecting the junction was passed at danger a side collision is to result flank protection may be used. Derailers and/or facing points beyond the signal protecting the junction will be set in such a position to allow a safe overlap if the signal was passed without authority; this removes the chance of a side-impact collision as the train would be diverted in a parallel path to the approaching train. Prior to the introduction of TPWS in the UK, "SPAD indicators" were introduced at'high risk' locations.
Consisting of three red lamps, they are placed beyond the protecting stop signal and are unlit. If a driver passes the signal at'danger', the top and bottom lamps flash red and the centre lamp is lit continuously. Whenever a SPAD indicator activates, all drivers who observe it are required to stop even if they can see that the signal pertaining to their own train is showing a proceed aspect. Since the introduction of TPWS, provision of new SPAD indicators has become less common. Prior to December 2012, the term "SPAD" applied to all incidents where a signal was passed at danger without authority, a letter was used to specify the principal cause. Now the term SPAD is only used for what were category A SPADs and a new term, SPAR is used to describe the former category B, C and D incidents. There are a number of ways that a train can pass a signal at danger without authority, in the UK these fall into four basic categories: A SPAD is where the train proceeds beyond its authorised movement to an unauthorised movement.
A Technical SPAR (Previ
Moorgate tube crash
The Moorgate tube crash occurred on 28 February 1975 at 8:46 am on the London Underground's Northern City Line. It is considered the worst peacetime accident on the London Underground. No fault was found with the train, the inquiry by the Department of the Environment concluded that the accident was caused by the actions of Leslie Newson, the 56-year-old driver; the crash forced the first carriage into the roof of the tunnel at the front and back, but the middle remained on the trackbed. The second carriage was concertinaed at the front as it collided with the first, the third rode over the rear of the second; the brakes were not applied and the dead man's handle was still depressed when the train crashed. The London Fire Brigade, Ambulance Service and City of London Police attended the scene, it took 13 hours to remove the injured from the wreckage. With no services running into the adjoining platform to create the piston effect pushing air into the station, ventilation was poor and temperatures in the tunnel rose to over 49 °C.
It took a further four days to extract that of Newson. The post-mortem on Newson showed no medical reason to explain the crash. A cause has never been established, theories include suicide, that he may have been distracted, or that he was affected by conditions such as transient global amnesia or akinesis with mutism. Tests showed that Newson had a blood alcohol level of 80 mg/100 ml—the level at which one can be prosecuted for drink-driving, though the alcohol may have been produced by the natural decomposition process over four days at a high temperature. In the aftermath of the crash, London Underground introduced a safety system that automatically stops a train when travelling too fast; this became known informally as Moorgate protection. Northern City Line services into Moorgate ended in October 1975 and British Rail services started in August 1976. After a long campaign by relatives of the dead, two memorials were unveiled in the vicinity of the station, one in July 2013 and one in February 2014.
London Underground—also known as the Underground or the Tube—is a public rapid transit system serving London and some parts of the adjacent counties of Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. The network opened in 1863 and contained 250 miles of route track by 1975; the Tube was one of the safest methods of transport in Britain in 1975. Apart from suicides, there were only 14 deaths on the Underground between 1938 and 1975, 12 of which occurred in the 1953 Stratford crash. Moorgate station, in the City of London, was the terminus at the southern end of the Northern City Line, five stops and 2.6 miles from the northern end at Drayton Park. Moorgate is an interchange between suburban overground services; the station contains ten platforms. At the end of platform 9 in 1975 was a red warning light atop a post, situated in front of a 61-centimetre-high sand drag placed to stop over-running trains; the drag was 11 metres long, of which 5.8 metres was on the tracks in front of the platform, 5.2 metres was inside an overrun tunnel, 20.3 metres long, 4 metres high and 4.9 metres wide.
The tunnel had been designed to accommodate larger main line rolling stock and so was wider than the standard tube tunnel width of 3.7 metres. A buffer, which had once been hydraulic, but had not been functioning as such for some time prior to the crash, was at the end of the tunnel, in front of a solid wall; the approach to Moorgate from Old Street station, the stop prior to the terminus, was on a falling gradient of 1 in 150 for 196 metres before levelling out for 71 metres to platform 9. There was a speed limit of 40 miles per hour on the line, a limit of 15 miles per hour on entry into Moorgate station. From November 1966 the Northern City Line ran 1938 rolling stock. Weekly checks were made on the stock's brakes and compressors. On 28 February 1975 the first shift of the Northern City Line service was driven by Leslie Newson, 56, who had worked on London Transport since 1969, been driving on the Northern City Line for the previous three months. Newson was known by his colleagues as a conscientious motorman.
On 28 February he carried a bottle of milk, his rule book, a notebook in his work satchel. According to staff on duty his behaviour appeared normal. Before his shift began he shared his sugar with a colleague; the first return trips of the day between Drayton Park and Moorgate, which started at 6:40 am, passed without incident. Robert Harris, the 18-year-old guard who had started working for London Underground in August 1974, was late and joined the train when it returned to Moorgate at 6:53 am. Newson and Harris made three further return trips before the train undertook its final journey from Dr