Deadliest UK train crashes – victims shot in inferno wreckage to triple smash

Passengers feared for their lives last night after two trains crashed inside a tunnel.

Twelve people were taken to hospital after a train reportedly hit an object on the track before derailing.

This led to the second train knocking into the first at Fisherton Tunnel near Salisbury, Wilts.

Thankfully, nobody was killed in the accident, and those wounded were given treatment for minor injuries. An investigation is now underway.

Thankfully, deaths caused by railway crashes have been a rarity in the 21st century.

Here, the Daily Star takes a look at some of the most tragic train disasters ever recorded in the UK.

1879 – Tay Bridge, Dundee

A storm caused havoc in the Scottish city of Dundee on December 28, 1879.

The powerful gale-force wind resulted in the old Tay Bridge collapsing just as a train passed through it.

All passengers on board the six-carriage train were killed as they plummeted into the ice cold waters of the River Tay.

It is not known how many passengers were killed, but newspapers at the time reported that 75 people died.

Researchers have since concluded that the real number is likely to be closer to 60.

The Tay Bridge is now considered to be one of the most haunted places in the UK. It became a legend that a phantom train can be spotted crossing the old bridge on the anniversary of the disaster.

1889 – Armagh, Northern Ireland

The Tay Bridge incident was one of the worst train catastrophes of the 19th century – only matched by the Armagh rail disaster.

This happened a decade later on June 12, 1889 and a grim total of 89 men, women and children lost their lives.

It was Ireland’s worst ever railway accident and 19 of the victims were under the age of 15.

The train was packed with people going on a Sunday school trip.

It attempted to move up a slope but was pulled back by its weight. As such the front four carriages were decoupled.

They gathered speed as they rolled backwards before eventually crashing into another train, causing the heartbreaking death toll.

1915 – Quintinshill

Britain's worst ever rail disaster occurred 106 years ago when the collision of three trains resulted in the deaths of more than 200 soldiers in Scotland.

The tragedy occurred near Gretna Green and the trains were packed with Royal Scots soldiers on the verge of fighting in the First World War.

A troop transport with 500 soldiers was on the way to Gallipoli, Turkey, when it crashed into one stationary train before being struck by another.

Some children from Glasgow were also among the victims after the accident on May 22, 1915.

The wreckage caused an inferno and some victims were reportedly shot to save them from burning to death, the BBC previously reported.

1952 – Harrow and Wealdstone

The Harrow and Wealdstone three-train disaster became known as Britain’s worst peacetime rail crash after 112 were killed and 88 were injured.

It happened in Wealdstone on October 8, 1952 and bodies of school children were among the first casualties to be recovered.

The tragedy unfolded when a night express from Perth hurtled into a local train, which then collided with an onrushing train bound for Manchester and Liverpool.

It sparked the introduction of the Automatic Warning System – meaning divers were given an audible warning and visual reminder when they were approaching a distant signal.

1957 – Lewisham

Just five years after the Harrow and Wealdstone catastrophe – another savage railway crash happened.

This time it was in Lewisham, south-east London and 90 people were killed and 173 injured on December 4, 1957.

Two trains crashed at St Johns Railway Station just outside Lewisham after one of the drivers missed a warning signal to stop.

The dense fog was said to have played a part and one of the trains deflected into an over-bridge, which eventually collapsed onto the packed carriages underneath.

Many who lost their lives were travelling home during the rush-hour evening commute.

1967 – Hither Green

Further devastation rocked south-east London just a decade later, this time in nearby Hither Green.

A derailment at Hither Green on November 5, 1967, ended up killing 49 people and injuring 78.

The evening express train was travelling from Hastings to Charing Cross when it crashed off the rails.

It happened just a mile from the scene where 90 people were killed in Lewisham.

An investigation later found that the crash occurred because of a rail that had fractured at its weakest point.

1988 – Clapham

Britain’s worst railway accident since the 60s happened in Clapham on December 12, 1988.

In total 35 people died and more than 400 were injured at Clapham Junction after three trains crashed during morning rush-hour.

It led to British Rail being fined a quarter of a million pounds for violations of health and safety law.

A crowded passenger train collided into the back of another packed train that had stopped at a red signal.

Shortly after a third train ran into the wreckage too.

1999 – Ladbroke Grove

On October 5, 1999, two trains travelling at a combined speed of 130mph smashed into each other.

The horror crash killed 31 people and injured 258 passengers who became trapped in the destroyed carriages.

It is also known as the Paddington rail crash and the trouble unfolded after a Thames train left Paddington station at 8.06am.

It ran through the infamous SN109 signal two minutes later, which had been showing red.

At the same time, a busy First Great Western train was travelling towards Paddington at full speed.

Driver Michael Hodder, qualified for just two weeks, was perhaps blinded by the sunshine when he ran the red signal into the path of the high speed Great Western.

Both drivers slammed the brakes for 33 seconds but they collided at a terrifyingly high speed.

A huge fireball erupted before brave firefighters worked to save hundreds of lives.

2004 – Ufton Nervet

A high-speed London to Plymouth train hit a stationary car at a level crossing in Berkshire on November 6, 2004.

The accident happened after Brian Dystale, 49, parked at the level crossing to end his own life.

Brian lost his life as planned but the crash caused further tragedies as six of the 300 passengers also died after the train derailed.

It is now regarded as one of the deadliest railway crashes in the UK in the past 25 years.

And it is also the last time more than one passenger died in a single rail crash in Britain.

Hundreds of crossings were closed and safety improvements were made to train windows after the horror smash.

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