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view document PDF (0.2Mb download)Report on the Collision which occurred on 18th November 1948, at Woolwich Arsenal Station in the Southern Region (British Railways)

Document Summary

The report into the collision between two passenger trains at Woolwich Arsenal in 1948.

This document was published on 9th February 1949 by Ministry of Transport.

It was written by Col. A. C. Trench.


This item is linked to the Accident at Woolwich Arsenal on 18th November 1948


The original document format was Scanned Images, and comprised 5 pages.

This document was kindly sourced from Stuart Johnson and is in our Accident reports collection. It was added to the Archive on 26th June 2006.

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 12.28 p.m. Down electric train, Charing Cross to Dartford, collided with the trailing end of the 12.17 pm. Down electric train, Cannon Street to Gravesend, which was standing at the platform in Woolwich Arsenal Station. I regret to report that the motorman of the Dartford train, G. W. Hewitt, and one passenger in that train, were killed. Four passengers were treated for injuries at St. Nicholas' Hospital, Plumstead, but were not detained. Ten passengers and two members of the staff received minor injuries ; fortunately the trains were only lightly loaded.

Both trains were of the Coach suburban type. the composition of each being : motor coach-two trailing coaches--motor coach. The tare weight was roughly I40 tons and the length 257 feet. The Gravesend train consisted of stock built ill 1935 and 1937. with steel underframes and steel and/or timber panelling on timber framing. Both motor coaches had steel panelling. The Dartford train consisted of 3 old type coaches, built in 1925. with steel underframes and steel panelling on timber framing, and one new type trailing coach of all steel construction. The stock was close coupled with central spring buffers and couplings, and the outer ends of the motor coaches had side bulks. Both trains were fitted with the Westinghouse brake on all wheels : the 12.28 pm. train had non-ferrous brake blocks and the brake power was roughly 60% of its weight.

The shock of the impact was lessened owing to the Fact that the brakes of the standing train had been released, and it was driven forward for a distance of about 90 feet. The underframe of the leading motor coach of the Dartford train was forced underneath that of the trailing motor coach of the Gravesend train for a distance of 18 feet. The trailing motor bogie of the latter was pushed forward (without derailment) and the bodies of these two coaches were telescoped for about this distance. The motorman's compartment, brake compartment u d the leading passenger compartment of the Dartford train, in which the passenger was killed, were completely wrecked and the second passenger compartment was damaged. The rear motorman's compartment and brake compartment of the Gravesend train were badly smashed. Both running lines were blocked. From the results would appear probable that the collision took place at a speed of not less than 15 m.p.h. "

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