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By Ellen Tait on

Collision on Signal School Model Railway 

Our volunteers recreate a railway disaster, revealing what happened on a fateful day in 1949.

At 2pm on 17 January 2015, the School of Signalling Model Railway will restage a collision that happened near Heighington, North East England in 1949.

In 1949, the UK rail network was crowded with goods trains like this 1966 example, photographed at Stockport Teviot Dale. Image No. 10659629 | This is a Rights Managed image
In 1949, the UK rail network was crowded with goods trains like this 1966 example, photographed at Stockport Teviot Dale. Image No. 10659629 | This is a Rights Managed image

At 5.43am, on a dark, rainy and cold morning in Heighington, a goods train was struck by a following passenger train which was carrying 120 passengers. The goods vehicle guard and his trainee had to jump for their lives, as the passenger locomotive reduced their guard van to splinters, before proceeding to demolish several more wagons.

Brake Vans, like this LMS example, were used to provide braking for goods trains; if the train lacked a continuous brake. These were known as ‘loose coupled’ goods trains. Image No. 10659802 | This is a Rights Managed image.
Brake Vans, like this LMS example, were used to provide braking for goods trains; if the train lacked a continuous brake. These were known as ‘loose coupled’ goods trains. Image No. 10659802 | This is a Rights Managed image.

But how could it happen that the passenger train had been allowed to run into the rear of a stationary goods train? Where many people killed or injured?  Was anyone prosecuted? To find out more come along to the 2pm demonstration of these events on the School of Signalling Model Railway.

Discover more at one of our regular Signalling Demonstrations.

School of Signalling Model Railway volunteers Alan Lewis, Dave Eastoe, Bob Wright, led by Phil Graham, microphone in hand, as he sets the scene for the reconstruction of the collision at Heighington. (Image Copyright National Railway Museum)
School of Signalling Model Railway volunteers Alan Lewis, Dave Eastoe, Bob Wright, led by Phil Graham, microphone in hand, as he sets the scene for the reconstruction of the collision at Heighington. (Image Copyright National Railway Museum)

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