digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















Nuneaton rail crash
The aftermath of the crash, which killed six people and injured 38.
The aftermath of the crash, which killed six people and injured 38.
Date 6 June 1975
Location Nuneaton, Warwickshire
Country England
Rail line West Coast Main Line
Cause Overspeed on temporary track
Driver error/lineside equipment failure
Trains 1
Deaths 6
Injuries 38
List of UK rail accidents by year

The Nuneaton rail crash was a train crash which occurred on 6 June 1975, on the West Coast Main Line just south of Nuneaton railway station in Warwickshire, England.

It happened when the 23:30 sleeper from London Euston to Glasgow was derailed after entering a temporary speed restriction at too high a speed. Six people (four passengers and two staff) died and 38 were injured. In the subsequent inquiry,[1] the accident was deemed to have been caused by driver error, partially due to the failure of lineside equipment warning of the speed restriction.

The accident[edit]

The accident occurred at approximately 01.55, as the train approached Nuneaton station. The train was running over an hour late owing to a locomotive failure further south, and was composed of two Class 86 electric locomotives (nos. 86006 and 86242; both later repaired) and fifteen carriages, including twelve sleeping cars.

Just south of Nuneaton station, there was a speed restriction of 20 mph for a distance of just over a mile, owing to a track remodelling scheme. Approximately a mile before the restriction, there was a board giving advance warning of the restriction. This board should have been illuminated, but was not. The driver claimed that he wrongly assumed that this meant the restriction had been lifted, and so did not slow the train. The board marking the actual start of the restriction, however, was lit, but by the time the driver saw this, it was too late.

Despite an emergency brake application, the train entered the 20 mph restriction at a speed estimated at around 70 mph and became derailed on a length of temporary track being used during the remodelling scheme. The locomotives became detached from one another, the second mounting the northbound platform and causing damage to the station. The first two vehicles stayed mainly upright, but the next four fell onto their sides and were badly crushed. All the fatalities and most of the injuries occurred in these four sleeping cars. Every vehicle on the train was derailed except the last. Over a quarter of a mile of track was destroyed along with three lineside electrification gantries, and severe damage was caused to an overhead road bridge, numerous other items of trackside equipment, and the locomotive of a passing freight train (Class 25 number 25286). It was noted in the inquiry that casualties would have been much higher if not for the lightly loaded nature of the train (there were fewer than 100 passengers on board).

The Inquiry[edit]

The heavily damaged 86242, a British Rail Class 86, after the accident.

The inquiry, conducted by Major C.F.Rose, found the accident to be due to the following causes;

  • It was found that the gas equipment which powered the warning lights on the advance warning board was not being used properly, and had thus gone out;
  • A number of drivers on preceding trains noticed that the lights had gone out, yet did not stop at Nuneaton to report the fact;
  • Although he claimed otherwise, it was thought likely that the driver, in his haste to make up lost time, forgot about the speed restriction without the reminder of the advance warning board.

The driver, Mr J. McKay, was later charged with manslaughter but found not guilty. A number of recommendations to prevent a recurrence of the accident were accepted by the British Railways Board, and the later installation of the Automatic Warning System ensured that drivers were given audible notice of speed restrictions.


  1. ^ Accident Report Retrieved on 2007-05-01

External links[edit]

Media related to Nuneaton rail crash at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 52°31′29″N 1°27′40″W / 52.5246°N 1.4610°W / 52.5246; -1.4610

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuneaton_rail_crash — Please support Wikipedia.
A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
2460 videos foundNext > 

YouTube nuneaton train crash

The Windy Station, Nuneaton Documentary (29th January 2013)

This Documentary wasn't planned, only planned an hour before I arrived at Rugeley Trent Valley to board the 1204 to Nuneaton, but this journey takes us down ...

Railfanning at Nuneaton Train Station - Part 7: Cross Country train arrives at Platform 6

After meeting Matt with his London Midland Class 350253, I see a Cross Country Turbostar Class 170 arrive at Platform 6. This is the final part.

Rail Simulator 2013. This is Nuneaton

Train Simulator 2013, Train Spotting at Nuneaton, jetgriff's Birmingham 2010 route freely available from http://www.trainsim.com/ go .. file library...search...

Trains At Nuneaton (09/11/2010)

While on the hunt for Tornado, we managed to get a few other trains with her and these are them right here In this video, we see: London Midland Desiro 35024...

Trains at Nuneaton Station

Pendolino's freight trains and London Midland Units.

26.10.10 at Rugby and Nuneaton station

Footage from a day out at both Rugby and Nuneaton railway stations on the 26th October 2010. Captured were lots of pendolinos, along with a lot of freight ha...

*RARE* Greater Anglia 156418 Passes Nuneaton on 29/8/13 !

156418 Was working 5Z56 empty coaching stock from Wolverton-Norwich TRSMD! Enjoy !

90049 and the Virgin Mk 3 set passing Nuneaton (12th July 2013)

Freightliner Class 90 no. 90049 crawls through Nuneaton on the slow line owing to points problems north of the station. The consist is WB64, the Virgin Mk3 r...

crash out side mine today at 6 this morring nuneaton

wat a twat this woke me up at 6 to day 29/07/07.

2460 videos foundNext > 

1 news items

Nuneaton News

Nuneaton News
Mon, 24 Mar 2014 11:45:00 -0700

"The immediate aftermath of the crash and the following few days of clearing up the mess are shown on a new video now available on line at 1975 Nuneaton Rail Crash" Mr Lee said. "The seven and a half minute film is from the camera of local photographer ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Talk About Nuneaton rail crash

You can talk about Nuneaton rail crash with people all over the world in our discussions.

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!