Accident at Bournemouth West

Accident at Bournemouth West

The crushed remains of a Blood and Custard Maunsell coach immediately after the accident happened. The crash appears to be in platform 6, photographed from platform 4.

photograph by Mike Morant

Friday, August 17th, 1956 at Bournemouth West station witnessed an unfortunate mishap involving a runaway train which had descended from the carriage sidings and demolished the parcels depot. Because there was no serious personal injury involved the subsequent BTC inquiry was 'internal' and never published and so we have to rely on other sources for information pertaining to this saga.

It is alleged that fitters had been working on the stock destined for the 11.16 departure to York /Newcastle and for reasons that we shall probably never know the handbrake wasn't properly applied when the work was completed in the carriage sidings. The stock was on the quite steep downhill slope, 1 in 101/90, and when the engine assigned to gently push the stock down to the station kissed the stock's buffers it set the train in motion. That the outcome wasn't as disastrous as it might have been has been credited to the rapid reactions of all concerned giving the signalman just enough time to set the points so that the runaway stock ran into the siding adjacent to the platform 6 road which had a sturdy stop block with buffer-height concourse at its end. However, this was already occupied by the stock for another service -  Maunsell set no. 300 plus a GUV  - which absorbed the initial impact. Nevertheless, the impact was sufficiently strong for the GUV to be forced almost vertically to land on the parcels depot's roof and demolish it.

The resultant damage to the station itself was minor and affected only the platform 6 canopy whilst the only reported rolling stock damage was to BTK S3783 in Maunsell 3-set no. 330 as shown in the accompanying illustration. It should be noted that this was the only known reported damage.

Text from Mike Morant, who saw the accident happen.

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This page was updated 6 August 2015

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