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LMS Route: Birmingham New Street to Tamworth

Wilnecote Station: mrw1103

An aeriel view of the railway accident at Cliff Sidings on 16th August 1953

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.