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DMU Accidents


DMUs have had their fair share of mishaps through the years and this section is an attempt to document them.

If you have any notes or photographs please submit them to be added here. I would also welcome further information on any of the accidents featured here.

Many of the accident reports are available on-line at www.railwaysarchive.co.uk.


1960s


25/04/60 - Between Garforth and Micklefield

Collision involving DMU / Steam

Info from Bill Read

A 6-car DMU travelling from Leeds City to Hull collided at speed with the rear of an unfitted goods train running at about 25mph, and hauled by an 8F. 5 persons injured. The freight train divided and the DMU continued forward for 75 yards, with the leading bogie derailed, pushing in front of it a 20-ton brake van and two wagons. The front of the leading coach (E50554?) was stove in and there was damage to the cab floor and fittings. The DMU passed a red signal.


18/08/60 - Between Castleton South Junction and Mills Hill, LMR

Collision involving DMU / Trolley

Info from Richard Greenwood

A Manchester-Heywood-Bury-Bacup late morning dmu hit a platelayers trolley on the line. Delays of up to 55 minutes before normal traffic resumed.


02/09/60 - Castlecary, ScR

Collision involving Class 126 / Steam

Info from Bill Read

A 6-car Inter City DMU travelling between Glasgow and Edinburgh collided at about 25 mph with the rear of a slow-moving ECS train hauled by a Class 5MT running tender first. 3 passengers injured. Damage to the DMU was confined to buffers, headstocks, gangway frames and couplers. The shock of the collision was transferred through the 4-coach ECS train resulting in the first coach being forced upwards from its leading bogie and impacting with the smokebox of the locomotive. The DMU had been irregularly admitted into an occupied block section.


New Mills Collision

12/10/1960 - New Mills (Central) Station, LMR

Collision involving Derby Lightweight / Steam

Info from Bill Read, John Darwent

Three Derby Lightweight twin units, built 1955, collided with the rear of a goods train hauled by a Class 8F (48443), which was standing at New Mills (Central) Up home signal. 3 injured. The leading power car (M79170) was wrecked and the following trailer car was crumpled by collision with the leading car. The two rear units were little damaged. The DMU had passed the Strines Station starting signal at danger. In the image M79170 has been lifted off it's bogies and sits on a wagon. There's a fair bit of debris at *this end* of the bogies but no visible damage to this end of the vehicle, the tarpaulin at the cab end suggests damage there so the vehicle may have been turned when being put on the wagon. The crane is from Lostock Hall MPD, and the photo was due to appear in Trans-Pennine Publishing Ltd's book "British Railway's Breakdown Cranes" by Peter Tatlow, Alan Earnshaw and David Carter (ISBN 1 903016 35 5).Picture by Bill Warden.


16/11/1960 - Pontrhydyfen Jct, WR

Collision involving Class 116 / Steam

Set CAT343 was operating a journey from Neath to Treherbert when the leading car, W50125 was struck by a runaway coal train headed by ex-GWR pannier tank 9737, on the single line track at Pontrhydyfen Junction. The DMU driver was killed in the accident and the leading car was so badly damaged that it was written off and later scrapped at Swindon Works.


24/11/1960 - Between Pontrhydyfen and Cwmavon, WR

Collision involving Class 116 / Steam

Info from Bill Read

A 3-car DMU travelling from Swansea High Street to Barry Island was in a head-on collision with an unfitted goods train (weighing 620 tons) hauled by a Class 57XX Tank locomotive running bunker first. 2 persons killed and 26 injured. The point of collision was on a single-line section with a gradient of 1 in 42. The locomotive drove some five feet into the leading power car which telescoped some ten feet into the intermediate trailer. The locomotive was also extensively damaged and 8 wagons were wrecked. The goods train was travelling too fast down the gradient and had an insufficient number of wagon brakes applied to enable it to stop at the Pontrhydyfen signal.


Royton Accident

08/02/61 - Royton Station, LMR

Collision involving Class 112 / Class 105

Info from Bill Read, Richard Greenwood, Peter Dawson

Two ECS Cravens twin-units collided at about 40mph with the buffer stops at Royton Station at 6.12am. 5 persons injured. More Details.


16/07/61 - Singleton Bank (near Weeton), LMR

Collision involving Class 105 / Class 113 / Freight Train

Info from Bill Read and Andrew Dyson

Class 105 power-twin (leading) + 2 x Class 113 units (cars not identified) struck the rear of a stationary ballast train which had been carrying out track work. Seven persons killed and 116 injured. The first three cars were severely damaged. More Details.


Images in the book 'Leeds Termini' published by Challenger UK.

10/08/61 - Leeds City Station

Collision involving Class 101 / Class 45

Info from John Darwent and Bill Read

Peak D105 running light to Neville Hill over-ran signals and collided with a Leeds - Scarborough DMU (two 4-car units) almost opposite Leeds East Signal Box. Leaking diesel caught fire and the leading two DMU vehicles (51440 & 59533) overturned, but were returned to traffic after repair. One killed, two injured. The leading motor coach (51440) turned over and slid on its side, demolishing the parapet wall of a bridge and releasing fuel oil which then ignited. The second coach (59533) also fell on its side, but the remaining six coaches were little damaged. All returned to trafic. The driver of the locomotive mistakenly accepted the signal that had been cleared for the DMU.


Hessle Road Derailment

October 1962 - Hessle Road, Hull

Derailment involving Class 104

Info from Ian Fleming and Mick Nicholson

In the final week of the old mechanical cabin. Trains were being hand signalled, the Class 104 (59226 closest) ‘split’ a set of wrongly clamped points. The photographer said: “Within hours the mess was cleaned up and normal working soon resumed, today it would be a ‘scene of crime’ and the job stopped for a week”! Mick Nicholson.


25/01/1963 - Bracebridge Gas Sidings Signalbox (near Lincoln), ER

Collision involving DMU / Steam

Info from Bill Read

A 2-car power/trailer DMU travelling from Grantham to Lincoln Central collided with the rear (tender) of a stationary Class B1. 2 persons killed, 3 injured. The power car of the DMU was extensively damaged at the front end and the leading bogie was driven back two feet. The light engine had been allowed to wait on the Down line in preparation for reversal and its presence there had been forgotten by the signalman.


10-12-1963 - Between Glendon Junction and Kettering, LMR

Derailment involving Class 127

Info from Bill Read

Derailment of Class 127 + unidentified twin unit. M51609 – no other cars identified. Minor injuries. While travelling at 60mph, a complete engine and torque converter weighing 2.5 tons fell from M51609 causing extensive damage to the vehicle and derailing all cars. A small fire broke out. The conclusion was that the unit was released into service, after overhaul at Derby Works, with loose torque-converter securing bolts. This caused progressive overloading of other bolts, brackets and cardan shaft until final failure.


12/03/1964 - Shoe Mill, Baxenden, LMR

Fire involving Class 113

Info from Andrew Dyson

An engine fire destroyed a vehicle. More Details.


Castleton fire

27/05/64 - Castleton

Fire involving Class 110

Info from Richard Greenwood

In the late afternoon a down Calder Valley train suffered a fire at Castleton station. It was extinguished in the platform and the unit removed into the yard at Castleton by 46439 More Details.


Bradford Collision

03/06/64 - Bradford (Exchange) Station, NER

Collision involving Class 108 / Steam

Info from Bill Read, Malcolm Paul and Peter Mullen

The DMU descended the steep gradient into the station and collided with the stationary parcels train at about 50 mph. The leading car was destroyed. Damage to the steam locomotive and M52059 was minimal. More Details.


10/10/64 - Between Milbrook and Wilshamstead, LMR

Fire involving Class 127

Class 127 on fire after breaking cardan shaft. M51591 (trailing car). 1 passenger killed, 4 injured. The rotating ends of the broken cardan shaft punctured the fuel tank. The resulting fire caused some damage to the trailing cab but did not penetrate the saloon. Examination of other units found that some 40 cardan shafts were bent, probably as a result of careless handling when torque converters were changed, and this was assumed to have caused the failure.


25/05/65 - Llanddaniel Occupational Level Crossing, LMR

Collision involving DMU / Road Vehicle

Info from Peter Mullen

A Crewe – Holyhead DMU passenger train running at 45mph struck and wrecked a Vauxhall Victor saloon car which was going over an unclassified level crossing. More Details.


15/06/65 - Near York, NER

Collision involving Class 101 / Class 104 / Coaches

Info from Peter Mullen

A ECS loco / coaches reversing from the station went through signals at danger and hit an incoming DMU. More Details.


18/08/65 - Sandridge, near St.Albans, LMR

Fire involving Class 127

Info from Peter Mullen

A 4-car DMU was travelling from St. Pancras to Luton when a fire broke out under the rear power car (M51594) about 1 mile north of St. Albans. More Details.


29/08/65 - Connah's Quay

Fire involving Class 101 / Class 104

10:35 Excursion from Wigan to Llandudno formed M50318/M59129/M50336 & M50490/M59146/M50438 caught fire near Connah's Quay. The failure of a universal joint in the transmission caused the gearbox to become detached and fall to the track rupturing fuel tanks, the spilt fuel was ignited by sparks after vapourizing on hot exhaust parts.


29/12/65 - Bold Colliery, LMR

Derailment involving Class 124

Info from Peter Mullen

A 6-car Trans-Pennine DMU travelling from Leeds (City) to Liverpool (Lime Street) was approaching Bold Colliery Sidings at 50 m.p.h. under clear signals when it became derailed over facing points, the leading bogie continuing down the main line whilst the remainder of the train became derailed to the left into a colliery reception siding. More Details.


09/02/66 - Napsbury, LMR

Fire involving Class 127

Info from Bill Read

During investigation of excessive wear in the torque convertors of the Class 127 units, M51622 was fitted with test equipment which caused the cardan shaft to break up, rupture the fuel tank and catch fire. More Details.


Article and photo can be found in the book 'Railways Around Blackburn'

October. '67 - Sough Tunnel (near Darwen), LMR

Fire involving Class 112

Info from Andrew Dyson

51705/24 caught fire in Sough Tunnel. These were cut up at Spring Vale in April 1968 by staff from Accrington depot. Cutting the unit up was only undertaken on Sundays, as staff had to work Monday to Friday, and management wouldn't free them on these days to cut the unit up. The fire was so intense that the sole bars in the middle on the units melted, causing the unit to sag. The cause given was the cardan shaft shearing, flailing about rupturing the fuel tank. Lancashire Telegraph article.


12/06/68 - Sandridge (near St.Albans), LMR

Fire involving Class 112 / Class 127

A train consisting of a 4-car Class 127 (leading) and two 2-car Class 112s suffered severe vibration under the seventh coach. Almost at once there seemed to be a minor explosion and seconds later the vehicle became full of choking smoke and fumes, while smoke & fumes emanated from the underside of both rear coaches. As the train slowed down passengers began to jump, killing two and injuring ten others. More Details.


09/09/68 - Castlecary, ScR

Collision involving Class 126 / Class 24

Info from Bill Read

A 6-car Inter City DMU travelling between Glasgow and Edinburgh was standing at a signal when it was run into at the rear by a light engine, Class 24 Diesel locomotive D5122. 2 persons killed and 3 injured. The rear car of the DMU, SC 79092, and the Class 24 locomotive were destroyed by the collision and subsequent fire. During a track-circuit failure, general confusion and slack working practices resulted in the Class 24 being admitted to an occupied block section. Having done so, the locomotive travelled too quickly to be able to stop short of an obstruction.


15/02/69 - Catholme Level Crossing, LMR

Collision involving Class 105 / Tractor

Info from Peter Mullen

A tractor drove into the path of a DMU. More Details.


28/11/69 - Great Coates Level Crossing near Grimsby, ER

Collision involving Class 114 / Lorry

Info from Bill Read

E50031-E56031 ran through level crossing gates, striking a Dodge articulated lorry and carrying it 46 feet into the station. 3 people needed hospital treatment. Both bogies of E50031 were derailed. The train ran past a red signal.

DMU Accidents


1950s
1960s
1970s
1980s
1990s

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