The report into the fire in a sleeping car of the Penzance to Paddington sleeper train at Taunton, which killed 12.
This document was published on 15th November 1979 by Department of Transport.
It was written by Maj. A. B. G. King.
This item is linked to the Accident at Taunton on 6th July 1978
The original document format was Stapled Book, and comprised 43 pages.
This document was kindly sourced from Bob Spowart and is in our Accident reports collection. It was added to the Archive on 27th February 2006.
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"The fire was caused by the overheating of bags of linen placed in the leading vestibule of sleeping car W2437 against a convector heater. They ignited and flames spread to the materials of which the coach was constructed, consuming a major proportion of the linings and furnishings. The carriage of the linen in the vestibule had been authorised by local management although before the introduction of ETH on the service, at a time when the vestibule heaters were not operational.
The majority of sleeping-car exit doors were locked irregularly and while there is no evidence that this led directly to loss of life it hampered the evacuation and fire fighting. Other instructions had been disregarded and I think that the training given to sleeping-car attendants in the Western Region was insufficient under the circumstances; their supervision and control was inadequate. I have concluded that the attendant responsible for the Plymouth portion of the train was not as alert as he should have been and might quite possibly have been asleep. By the time he became aware of the fire it would have taken a major effort by a number of persons to extinguish it using the equipment carried on the train.
There were no arrangements made for fire detection in sleeping-cars, except perhaps the instruction requiring attendants to remain alert, nor was there any means of raising the alarm and rousing passengers, and there were no fire instructions to passengers or clearly marked fire exits."
15th November 1979
Report on the Fire that occurred in a Sleeping-Car Train on 6th July 1978 at Taunton in the Western Region British Railways...
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