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view document PDF (1.0Mb download)Report on the Derailment and consequent Fire on 8th May 1972 at Chester General Station in the London Midland Region British Railways

Document Summary

The report into the collision between a tanker train and a DMU, and the subsequent fire, at Chester in 1972.

This document was published on 30th July 1974 by Department of the Environment.

It was written by Major P. M. Olver.


This item is linked to the Accident at Chester General on 8th May 1972


The original document format was Stapled Book, and comprised 16 pages.

This document was kindly sourced from Nick Smith and is in our Accident reports collection. It was added to the Archive on 8th August 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 goods train was 8D66, the 19.31 Ellesmere Port to Mold Junction, and consisted of 38 vehicles including a number of tank wagons loaded with petroleum products. The train ran out of control down the falling gradients on the approach to Chester Station on the line from Warrington due to the vacuum brakes of the leading wagons, which should have formed a 'fitted head', not being connected to the locomotive. The train, after running past several signals at Danger, entered No. 11 Bay Platform at about 20 mile/h and collided with an empty 2-car diesel multiple-unit standing just short of the stop block.

On impact, the two coaches of the diesel multiple-unit were forced over the stop block onto the platform : the leading coach demolished a wall of the station refreshment room while the rear coach disintegrated as the locomotive of the goods train rode over it. The body of the leading brake-van of the goods train was also completely wrecked, whilst the tank wagon behind it, loaded with kerosene, came to rest on its side on Platform No. 10. The following two tank wagons, loaded with petrol and gas oil respectively, were also derailed, the leading end of the petrol wagon being forced up on top of the remains of the brake-van so that the axis of the tank was at about 30£ to the horizontal.

Fire broke out under the locomotive almost immediately after the collision and spread rapidly. The two leading derailed tank wagons were enveloped in fire which also spread to an empty 2-car diesel multiple-unit standing in Platform No. 12 and to three coaches of the 19.15 Bangor to Crewe diesel multiple-unit which was standing in No. 10 Platform waiting to depart at 20.58. The station roof above Nos. l1 and 12 Platforms, together with the building on Nos. 10 and 13 Platforms, were also damaged.

Prompt action was taken to uncouple the goods train between the third and fourth tank wagons and the rear portion of the train was rapidly hauled clear of the area of the fire."

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