A Terrible Train Crash October 8th 1952

Harrow and Wealdstone

By Terry Trainor

Harrow 1952
Euston Station Archives
Harrow 1952
Thanks to Euston Acrhives
Harrow 1952
Permission Euston Archives
Harrow 1952
Permission Euston Archives

A Terrible Train Crash October 8th 1952  

In 1952 the South Oxhey Estate was filling up the new council houses. The displaced people from London had been moving in since 1947. With new residents transferred from London escaping overcrowding, slums and the housing shortages caused by the Blitz. Many of the newcomers still worked in London and it was a long journey to London and back on top of a days work. They would get the train from Carpenders Park Station a slow train which stops 18 times between Watford Junction and Euston. To cut down traveling time the South Oxhey Residents would take the slow train to Harrow & Wealdstone and change onto an express that went, non-stop to Euston. On the morning of 8 October 1952 one of the most serious accidents in United Kingdom railway history took place at Harrow & Wealdstone station, just north of London on the main line from Euston. A southbound express ran into the back of a local train standing in the station; another express, northbound from Euston, then ran into the wreckage. 112 people were killed, a death-toll second only to the Quintinshill disaster of 1915. This event shocked the nation, and much controversy followed over where the blame lay.

This page was added on 19/05/2012.

Comments about this page

  • I was a schoolgirl ,living at South Oxhey and travelling to school in Maida Vale .I always caught the morning train at about 8 o`clock ,ignoring the Bakerloo if it came first, in order to travel in the same place on the train ,the first compartment of the last carriage .About six or seven adults would join me ,most of whom got out at Harrow and Wealdstone . There three classmates would regularly join me plus a few other passengers . On the morning of the crash we travelled on to Kenton ,then just outside that station we we stopped again but thought nothing of it, it was quite normal to have several short stops .However when the delay got to about ten minutes the other passengers started to get rather restless and after about twenty minutes we girls realised that there was no way we could get to school by 9 o`clock and it all seemed rather exciting .Some time later there was a call from the track and railway workers came with wooden steps to help us down and back onto the platform at Kenton . No one knew what was happening although there was a feeling that something serious has occurred; we were informed that there would be no train service and to make our own arrangements about further travel. One of the girls lived at Belmont and we went to her house ,where her mother phoned the school .I don`t remember how we got there but arrived at school at about 11.30. For the return journey and for about the following two weeks there was a bus service between South Kenton ( I think) and Headstone lane ,to link the two railway sections. On the day I still had no idea what had happened but the next day the newspapers were full of the story and pictures. It was said at school that a senior girl was actually on the passenger footbridge as the debris from the crash piled up beneath it but she was able to run back and escape injury .

    By Gill Cawthorn (28/12/2018)

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