21st July 1991

Commuter trains crash at Newton

Two passengers and both drivers were killed when a pair of trains crashed head-on at Newton station, around six miles outside of Glasgow. The combined speed of the two trains was 60mph, which was sufficient to lift up one of the leading carriages and deposit it on top of another.

Twenty-two other passengers were injured.

Casualties taken to hospital

The accident happened at 10pm, so didn’t appear in the papers until the following day. On 22 July, the Dundee Courier said that “Strathclyde ambulance service said 12 casualties had been taken to hospital – almost all ‘walking wounded’ [and] firemen were searching the wreckage for more victims.”

The Aberdeen Evening Express reported that damaged points had been found at the site and that “today’s discovery showed that the points appeared to have been damaged before the impact, rather than as a result of it”. This could mean that a train had gone through the points when they were set against it, and, said British Rail, there was no sign of any vandalism.

Tracks reduced

The track where the collision occurred had been remodelled the month before the collision. The original remodelling had introduced what is known as ‘single lead junctions’ at the east and west ends of Newton Station as replacements for the parallel lines that had previously served the platforms. The official report, published by the Health and Safety Executive the following year noted that “the introduction of single-lead junctions at Newton was a major contributory factor amongst others in creating the circumstances in which this accident could occur”.

Following the accident, the line was closed, and the tracks once again redesigned to bring back the dual lines.



Other events that occured in July

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