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view document PDF (0.4Mb download)Report on the Derailment and subsequent Collision that occurred on 4th July 1971 at Surbiton in the Southern Region British Railways

Document Summary

The report on the derailment of an engineer's train and the susequent collision with a passenger train at Surbiton in 1971.

This document was published on 12th May 1972 by Department of the Environment.

It was written by Lieut. Col. A. G. Townsend-Rose.


This item is linked to the Accident at Surbiton on 4th July 1971


The original document format was Stapled Book, and comprised 10 pages.

This document was kindly sourced from Stuart Johnson and is in our Accident reports collection. It was added to the Archive on 23rd May 2007.

Copyright Information

This document is Crown Copyright, and is subject to the terms governing the reproduction of crown copyright material. Depending on the status and age of the original document, you may need an OPSI click-use license if you wish to reproduce this material, and other restrictions may apply. Please see this explanation for further details.

"The 08.25 Clapham Yard to Farnham ballast train consisting of 45 engineer's wagons with a brake van at each end and hauled by two Class 73 electro-diesel locomotives, was running at slow speed on the Down Slow line approaching Surbiton Station when the 24th wagon, having previously become buffer locked with the wagon ahead of it, became derailed at facing points. The wagon struck the ramp of the Down Slow line platform and its door springs rode along the platform coping until, about half way along it, the wagon following it also became derailed and both vehicles swung foul of the Down Fast line. The 09.50 Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour electric passenger train which was closely following at about 72 mph on the fast line struck the derailed wagons and itself became derailed. One of the derailed wagons was thrown to its left and struck and destroyed a point machine causing the facing points to be reversed and directing the following wagons into the side of the passing passenger train.

The leading car of the passenger train continued derailed for some 580 feet until its bogies struck and badly damaged a rail-over-road bridge girder and the car then turned onto its offside and travelled a further 500 feet before coming to rest in front of Surbiton signalbox. One of its bogies directed to the left by a crossover struck the leading end of the ballast train which resulted in the brakevan and first two wagons turning onto their sides, the derailment of three other wagons, and damage to the rearmost locomotive. The passenger train became divided behind the leading car and also between the fourth and fifth cars and all except the third car were derailed. The ballast train also became divided, the front portion consisting of the brakevan and 23 wagons being separated by some 280 feet from the remaining 21 wagons and the rear brakevan, the latter coming to rest two-thirds of the way along the platform.

The emergency services were called immediately and arrived promptly and ten passengers and the driver, all from the leading car, were taken to hospital but only three passengers were detained."

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