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Accident Involving 34040 outside Waterloo

Derek Gribble asked:
I found this newsreel today - Pathe Newsreel Looks like an emu ran into 34040 Crewkerne on the approaches to Waterloo. It's post-1960 because the engine has been rebuilt. I wondered if any of your 70A Nine Elms website contributors remember anything of this incident?

Alan Newman kindly provided a copy of the official accident report and a couple of key paragraphs are reproduced here. The accident happened at 5.26pm on 11th April 1961.

The 4.38 pm. 8-coach multiple unit electric passenger train from Effingham Junction to Waterloo (via Epsom) was approaching Waterloo on the Up Main Local line. It was to be stopped at the outer home signal (a colour light), which was at Red, for the engine to pass in the Down direction from the Down Main Through line across the Up Main Local line to the Down Main Local line, en route to the Motive Power Depot. The electric train, however, failed to stop at the signal and collided head on with the engine on the crossover which had been reversed for the latter, at a point about 195 yards beyond the signal. At the time of the collision the electric train was travelling at 20-25 miles per hour and the engine at about 12 m.p.h. The engine was running tender leading and its driver only became aware of the electric train at the last moment, and was unable to slacken speed.

As a result of the collision the motorman's cab of the electric train was wrecked and the rear end of the leading coach was telescoped into the front end of the second coach for a distance of about six feet. Five other coaches sustained relatively minor damage. The tender of the engine was derailed and severely damaged. I regret to report that the motorman of the electric train, R. E. Charles, of Effingham Junction, was killed. There were about 100 passengers in the train and 14 of them, including two railwaymen, received slight injuries. Twelve were taken to St. Thomas' Hospital and were discharged after treatment, and two were given first aid at the Medical Centre at the station.

I am satisfied that the brakes of the electric train were working correct. I am also satisfied that the signalling equipment at Waterloo was in good order, and that consequently the levers of signal No. 17-20 (the outer home) could not have been reversed when crossover No. 4 was reversed, and the aspect of the signal could not have been at Clear when its levers were normal. There is ample evidence that the crossover was in the reverse position and that its points in the Up Main Local line, which were trailing for movements on that line, had been "run through" and burst open by the electric train. As will be seen later the signal must also have been at Red when it first came into Motorman Charles' view, and he must therefore bear the main responsibility for this accident, for driving the electric train past it.

(From Ministry of Transport Report by Colonel D. McMullen)

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