Podcast: Signals to Danger - Railway disasters in the UK

malc-c

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And it's here!

Episode 19 covers the derailment at Conington South in 1967, often overshadowed by the Hitchin disaster it cost 5 lives. The cause is a little more intriguing than most of my episodes however so I hope you enjoy!

Another very professionally narrated and produced episode. It does make you realise just how much trust passengers put in the people who run the railways, and what can happen when you have one individual that abuses that trust. (spoiler alert !!)

You mention the Hitchin disaster, if that was the 1958 multiple goods train pile up, how does that overshadow Conington South, as no lives were lost at Hitchin.

Looking forward to the next one Dan
 
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tpfx89

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You mention the Hitchin disaster, if that was the 1958 multiple goods train pile up, how does that overshadow Conington South, as no lives were lost at Hitchin
I absolutely meant Hither Green, with it having taken place in 1967 and all that...‍*facepalm* I do keep telling people I don't really know what I'm talking about. Maybe they'll finally start believing me! Haha
 

JohnMcL7

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I wasn't aware of this crash so the outcome was a large surprise and quite chilling to hear the details. I've been having a search but I can't find any details on the legal case against the signaller because dropping the manslaughter charge doesn't seem right given the outcome of the report. Was it simply the case that they couldn't prove the sequence wasn't possible accidentally even though the report was exhaustive in testing? The sentence seems shockingly brief given it appears not only did he intentionally derail the train but he must have planned to do it as well.
 

bramling

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I wasn't aware of this crash so the outcome was a large surprise and quite chilling to hear the details. I've been having a search but I can't find any details on the legal case against the signaller because dropping the manslaughter charge doesn't seem right given the outcome of the report. Was it simply the case that they couldn't prove the sequence wasn't possible accidentally even though the report was exhaustive in testing? The sentence seems shockingly brief given it appears not only did he intentionally derail the train but he must have planned to do it as well.

It’s an interesting one for sure, there’s a whole book written on it. I’m not sure anyone quite knew what the signalman’s intentions were, just that he was a rather odd character who was already known locally as troublesome. As well as the possibility of it being a deliberate act of derailment, it could just as easily have been a case of the devil making work for idle hands, playing Russian roulette to explore the limitations of the interlocking. He could, for example, have been proving to himself that it was possible to move the point lever with a train over it, but without actually intending to cause an accident. This would seem to fit more with some of the things which had happened at the box concerned in the period leading up to the accident.

It may well have been the case that they couldn’t absolutely prove that derailment was his intention, and with a very slight weakness (I hesitate to use the term flaw as if being used correctly there was no issue) in the integrity of the interlocking pursuing the signaller too strongly might have raised questions to BR as to how it was possible for the sequence of events to happen, especially as the case against the signaller was to some extent circumstantial.
 
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malc-c

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Enjoyed the latest episode on Doncaster... quite stunned to find the locos of that time had no speed indication system...
 

malc-c

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How's the next episode coming along? - I'm chomping at the bit in anticipation :)
 

tpfx89

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How's the next episode coming along? - I'm chomping at the bit in anticipation :)
Its on its way, unfortunately there was a lucozade and laptop incident which left me without a means to produce for a week or so! I won't point the finger of blame but it wasn't me!

Sorry for the delay!
 

malc-c

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Its on its way, unfortunately there was a lucozade and laptop incident which left me without a means to produce for a week or so! I won't point the finger of blame but it wasn't me!

Sorry for the delay!
Uuggghhh stick laptop syndrome. - Yuk !
 

midland1

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There is a book on the Connington accident "A Significant Accident" by Courtney Atkin. Upfront Publishing Leicestershire, 404 Pages published in 2002. Might be a bit hard to get though.
 

malc-c

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I'm guessing the lucozade has done more damage than just sticky keys..... Hopefully it can be fixed and normal service can be resumed in the near future... It would be such a shame if these fantastic podcasts stop....
 

malc-c

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Glad to see ya still hanging in there :)

I'll take a listen later this afternoon, and I'm sure it will be worth waiting for.... glad to have you back
 

tpfx89

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Glad to see ya still hanging in there :)

I'll take a listen later this afternoon, and I'm sure it will be worth waiting for.... glad to have you back
Hopefully should be getting more back to normal now as well, pulling myself back to my fortnightly release schedule.
 

malc-c

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Excellent podcast as usual.... really enjoyed it, and liked the tangential details :)
 

tpfx89

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Hello all, next episode now available. Covers the derailment of the "lollipop express" at Cheadle Hulme in 1964.

StD Cheadle Hulme Logo.jpg
 

malc-c

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Dan, thanks for providing us with another episode and with a new format. I listen to most via headphones as there are less distractions, and for me the bright guitar in the background music around the five minute mark, was just a tad to loud and I found it pulled my focus away from the information you were providing on the events of the time....partly as the music was quite catchy. Otherwise an exquisitely narrated and professionally produced production... Was there any follow up as he driver was speeding ? - There was no real closure as by stating that he was aware of the restriction and claimed to be doing no more than 15mph meant he knew about the restriction, but still didn't abide by it even after being briefed

PS love the bird chirping in the background around 25:20 :)
 

tpfx89

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I think some audio didn't duck as much as it was supposed to! I'll be refining it tonight as I picked up on it myself.

And on outcomes, I've not really been able to find anything more than was in the episode sadly!
 

bspahh

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Its not really a railway "disaster", but there is an interesting site at
where they have a few different views on the same accident to goods guard E Beaumont, at Cudworth in Yorkshire, in 1911
 

janb

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If you ever get a job with TfW you'll need to work on your pronunciation of Leominster :smile:
 

malc-c

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It should be pronounced "Lem-ster" rather than "Leo-minster".

LOL - for years I used to pronounce Berkshire as "Berk-shire" rather than "Bark-shire" !

Dan, another fascinating and interesting pod cast. I seem to be detecting a trend in that a lot of the systems that could have prevented each incident existed, and had been around for some time, yet despite opportunities to implement them they were overlooked, presumably on a financial basis as it was often thought not to be worth the cost. And them following a tragedy, the gate is closed well and truly after the horse has bolted.
 

TheEdge

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How wrong was I? :oops:

As a Shropshire/Herefordshire native apart from flinching every time you said Leominster it was an interesting episode.

You queried Marches, March, Marcher and all that. The Welsh Marches is the whole region where England and Wales border each other, March is the old French term specifically referring to a borderland. Then Marcher (not sure if you mentioned that) is the title used relating to the Marches (Marcher Lord, Marcher Castle and so on)
 

Cowley

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How wrong was I? :oops:

You did your best Dan. ;)

I’ve not commented for a while on this thread and to be honest it’s probably a bit too late in the evening to provide any constructive feedback really, but I’ve enjoyed listening to all of the last few episodes and I think you’re doing a great job.
I didn’t really know much about the latest one and it was quite shocking to listen to. Actually it was enough to make me shudder.
It goes to show that sometimes just one poor unfortunate person dying in an event like this can somehow make it more relatable when listening to it than a large catastrophe that we’ve all known about for years.
I think you’re very good at showing respect to the victims of these incidents and also their families in all of this Dan.

Nick
 

tpfx89

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I've toyed with the idea of making an apology video! (I've now researched Lem-stuh)...

Ooops!

And I do want to try and pull some of the lesser known ones out, and one death in circumstances like Moreton is almost more shocking than some of the larger scale accidents! Certainly thought it was worth an episode.
 

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