LMS Route: Birmingham New Street to Tamworth
Wilnecote Station: mrw1103
An aerial view of the railway accident at Cliff Sidings
which saw ex-LMS 5XP 4-6-0 No 45699 'Galatea derailed on 16th August 1953.
Interestingly, Colonel WP Reed, who investigated the causes of the accident on
behalf of the Secretary of the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation,
described the locomotive a 4-6-0 type engine of the 'Royal Scot' class and not
as a Jubilee class locomotive. The train was the 9:28 am down express passenger
service from Bradford to Bristol, comprising 9 bogie coaches and was travelling
at about 55 mph when it became completely derailed on plain, straight track.
The train parted between the second and third coaches during the course of the
derailment, and the front portion came to rest well ahead of the rear. There
was no structural damage to the coaches though the engine fell on its side.
The train had over 450 passengers hut only two required
treatment in hospital for concussion and shock, and the driver and fireman, who
remained on the engine were unhurt. Emergency arrangements were put in hand
promptly and doctors, ambulances and police arrived within a few minutes. A
relief train for the passengers was brought near to the site by 3:17 pm and
left for Birmingham half an hour later. The derailment blocked both lines and
arrangements were made for the diversion of all passenger trains at Wichnor.
Though there was little damage to the up line and it was quickly repaired, it
was required for the cranes employed on re-railing the engine and coaches and
could not therefore be opened to traffic until 10:42 am on the morning of the
next day. The down line was repaired and opened to traffic at 6:37 pm that
evening. The day was fine but not exceptionally hot and Colonel Reed was
satisfied that there was no heat distortion of the track.