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LMS Route: Birmingham New Street to Tamworth

Wilnecote Station: mrw1103a

Close up showing the severely damaged railway track and the locomotive No 45699 'Galatea' lying on its side

Close up of image 'mrw1103' showing the severely damaged railway track and the locomotive No 45699 'Galatea' lying on its side. Colonel Reed's reported noted 'The first mark of derailment was found on the left hand rail 510 yards beyond the 27th mile post. There was a shallow diagonal groove across the table of the rail from inside to outside in the direction of travel, 26 feel 5 inches long and deeper at the end than at the beginning. The first chair beyond the groove was marked on the outside but was unbroken; the remaining five chairs before the left hand joint were broken at the outside jaws. Over this rail length the right hand rail was slightly battered with a burr on the running edge, and the left hand rail was slightly worn on the running edge which was very smooth and even. The gauge was one eighth of an inch slack just before the point of mounting and the cross level was correct'. At the left hand rail joint 15 feet beyond the end of the diagonal groove the four fishbolts had been sheared off by a sharp impact on the outside nuts, and the fishplates had fallen away. The rail beyond this joint had fallen on its side as all the chairs were broken; it had also been driven forward 2 feet 7 inches and the running on end had evidently received a severe blow. This rail was still connected to the rail ahead of it and was not bent. The right hand rails were in position for two lengths beyond the severed joint, but beyond that the whole track was broken up for the 260 yards to the diamond crossing at Cliff Sidings, and was damaged for 60 yards beyond.

On the approach side of the diamond crossing there were marks on the sleepers of derailment to the right as well as to the left. The marks furthermost to the right appeared on the ends of the sleepers of the up line over a distance of 40 feet, beginning at 57 yards before the first 'V' of the diamond crossing and been again over 10 feet about 22 yards before it. At this diamond the splayed end of the check rail on the down line opposite the 'V' had been struck and twisted outwards, and the 'V' was bulged and scored on the outside edges of the rails as if the wheels derailed to the right had been guided into the back of the 'V' and had been lifted on to the track by it. The rails across the down line had been violently distorted to the right, and the up line had been forced outwards. Ahead of the diamond the down line immediately behind where the engine stopped had been ploughed up and pushed violently to the right, breaking the right hand rail and pushing out the Up line. There was such damage to this diamond crossing generally and to the connection with the adjacent siding, but the flat bottom track had withstood the impacts of the derailed vehicles much better than the bull-head track.

The stonework on the return wall of the Cliff Sidings dock was chipped for about 3 feet before the beginning of the coping which had been scored for 40 feet by the tender sliding along it. The track showed evidence of unsteady running for some distance before the site of derailment. At 100 yards past the 27th mile post the right hand rail was rubbed bright along the running edge for about 5 feet. At 133 yards the left hand rail was rubbed bright along the running edge for about 40 feet. From there up to 400 yards bright marks were visible on both rails, the length of each mark varying between 5 feet and 45 feet without any clear pattern being apparent in the relation between the marks on the two rails, although they did alternate to some extent. The last five of these marks, none longer than 16 feet, overlapped the first two of twelve lateral distortions in the track which started at about 367 yards beyond the 27th mile post. The distortions were small, none exceeding ¾ inch, and occurred alternately to the right and to the left of the alignment with an average pitch of about 76 feet. The distortions to the right were less than those to the left as might be expected as the resistance to lateral thrust of the ballast between the up and down lines would be greater than that of the ballast on the cess shoulder. The last distortion to the right was at its maximum about 23 feet before the beginning of the diagonal groove, and the last to the left about the end of the groove, the distance of this half pitch being about 50 feet, so far as could be judged owing to the damage".