Following the failure of all communication equipment between Three Horse Shoes and Whittlesea signalboxes, ‘Time Interval Working’ was introduced on the Down Line. The signalman admitted a Yarmouth - Birmingham parcels train (hauled by D6726) into the section, followed by a Colchester - Peterborough 2-car Class 101 DMU (51207 & 56364) sixteen minutes later.
The passenger train then collided at a speed of about 25mph with the rear of the parcels train which was pulling away from the Whittlesea Down First Home signal. Severe damage was done to the rear vehicle of the parcels train as well as the driving cab of the DMU, the leading bogie of which was derailed. The driver of the passenger train, three passengers and a guard travelling as a passenger suffered from shock and minor injuries.
Whilst the immediate cause of the accident was a failure of the DMU driver to proceed through the section with due caution, the signalman was also partly responsible for failing to ensure that the driver had been made fully aware that there was a complete communication failure with the signalbox and that Time Interval Working was in operation.
DOE; 9pp; (I.K.McNaughton)