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Sideshoots - associated subjects => Railway History and related topics => Topic started by: grahame on January 05, 2022, 11:46:12 pm

Title: OTD - 6th January (1968) - Hixon Accident
Post by: grahame on January 05, 2022, 11:46:12 pm
Rail Level Crossings have inherent risks - where something (usually not another railway) crosses on the flat, or at such a level that trains cannot safely proceed while the other user(s) are making use of the crossing. For low speed tramways and light rail, where the train driver can see the crossing and stop short of any obstacle, risks are lower but once you get a train travelling where it cannot routinely stop short of an obstacle, you need either a good visibility to users (and users who understand too) or controls (physical and / or signalled).

If something does go wrong, more often than not it's the crossing user rather than the train that comes off worst - but that's far from always the case and certainly wasn't on 6th January 1968 when a Manchester to London express ploughed at 80 mph into a lorry carrying an electrical transformer at a level crossing in Hixon, Staffordshire, and resulted in the death of 11 people. and

"The basic facts of the tragic accident are not in dispute. At approximately 12.26 p.m. on Saturday the 6th January, 1968, in clear visibility, the 11.30 a.m. Manchester to Euston express, a 12-coach train carrying some 300 passengers and weighing (with its locomotive) 491 tons, running at about 75 miles per hour collided with a heavy road transporter carrying a 120-ton transformer over the automatic crossing. As a result of that collision the train driver, the second man, and a spare driver in the locomotive were killed, and so also were eight passengers in the train. Forty-four passengers and a restaurant car attendant were injured, six of them seriously...

The immediate cause of the accident is plain. The level crossing was thirty feet long from the nearest half-barrier to the furthest rail and no vehicle of the length of the transporter could traverse it within the 24 seconds' warning period before the arrival of an express train unless it moved at more than six miles per hour: but this transporter was going at only two miles per hour. Neither the crew of the transporter nor the police escort knew the time sequence of operation of automatic crossings, and so did not realise that they would have such short warning of the onset of a train. Consequently, no one paused to consider whether a train might be imminent. Nor had any of them observed the Emergency Notice, or become aware of the provision of a telephone in the half-barrier apparatus, so no one telephoned the signalman to enquire whether it was safe to cross."

Some illustrations from the report:




( 24th August 2010 ... and again ...

A tanker driver has been arrested after a collision between his vehicle and a passenger train on an unmanned level crossing which injured 21 people, one of them critically.

The two-carriage diesel train collided with the 44-ton heavy goods vehicle on Bures Road in Little Cornard, Sudbury, yesterday.

A passenger who received severe abdominal injuries after becoming trapped on the train is in intensive care in a critical condition.

Five other victims - three men and two women - were kept in hospital overnight with fractures and cuts while fifteen other passengers also received treatment.

Sadly, through the year I will come back to some other significant accidents involving level crossings, and road vehicles being on the railway when and / or where they should not be.

Title: Re: OTD - 6th January (1968) - Hixon Accident
Post by: stuving on January 06, 2022, 10:44:57 pm
There's more on this forum's previous thread on the topic (

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