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DMU Accident

Lower Darwen, LMR - 27/12/73

A 4-car Class 108 DMU (M51946, M52061, M52058, & M51943) had been diverted by a goods loop line to bypass a set of catch points that had been giving trouble. After passing the loop exit signal (which was held at danger by the failed points) and proceeding onto the single line again, the driver allowed his train to accelerate to 40mph on the steeply falling gradient before hitting a second set of catch points which were set against him.

The train was diverted into a short spur terminating in a stop block where it crashed through the stop block at speed and into a stack of track panels consisting of rails fixed to sleepers. Some of the panels were thrown onto the running line and one rail pierced the front of the cab and passed through the passenger seating at the front of the train. The driver was thrown out of his cab onto a bank where he suffered severe fractures of both legs. Eight passengers were also injured and nine suffered from shock.

The accident occurred because, under signal failure conditions, the signalman failed to set and lock the worked catch points by means of the point switch and emergency sealed release. Having set the route, the signalman failed to check the light sequence above the switch indicating the lie of the points which would have shown him that two of the four panel lights were incorrectly set and not illuminated.

accident report

DOE; b/c; 12pp; f/o location diagram, track and signalling diagram, gradient diagram; f/o cross-sectional sketch of signalling panel including details of a sealed release push-pull key; f/o point switch diagram (A.G. Townsend-Rose)

Lower Darwen, LMR

Involving Class 108
Vehicles included: 51943 / 51946 / 52058 / 52061

Information from Peter Mullen

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