Winsford Train Crash 1948

On 17 April 1948, 24 people died when the when the 13-coach City of Nottingham train, number 6251, smashed into the stationary Princess Arthur of Connaught, number 6207, which had stopped between Winsford Junction and the railway station.

The collision happened at between 40 and 45 mph (64 and 72 km/h) and was so severe that only five of the ten passenger coaches could be pulled away on their wheels and only the rear eight of the 13 Postal coaches could be pulled back. 24 passengers were killed.

The Princess Arthur of Cannaught had left Glasgow at 5.40pm and was halted in Winsford when a soldier on leave pulled the communication cord to stop the train in town.

The City of Nottingham left Glasgow at 6.25pm and was told by signalmen there was nothing on the line in front of it.

The driver applied the brakes but saw the stationary train too late, smashing into the back of it at 45mph.

The signalman at Winsford Train had, in error, reported the passenger train clear of the section and accepted the postal train. The person who pulled the emergency cord was a railway employee who worked as a signalbox lad in Winsford Junction, but was currently serving in the army having been called up. He thought that the train would be perfectly safe because he knew how the signalling equipment of the time in that area worked; but he did not know that the train had stopped short of the track circuit, which would have reminded the signalman of its presence. He turned up at the enquiry to confess, and was still a signalman in Winsford Junction until he retired in the 90’s.

Winsford came together to help survivors, with Crook Lane residents opening up their homes to help anyone in need.

This picture shows the scale of the disaster on the section of track behind Bradbury Road.

04nrailcrash (1500 x 1981)


11 thoughts on “Winsford Train Crash 1948

  1. I was speaking to my Father yesterday, he is now 95, and he was involved in the above accident. He was a sorter with the Royal Mail. He said how horrendous it was and can remember giving a sailor a cigarette – when he next saw him he was dead. Also he can recall taking a baby from a dead woman’s arms and passing it to a colleague. Unfortunately the baby was also dead. It is something he has never really spoken about. I have found a photo of the crash and wondered if you would like a copy for your archives. I have also contacted the Guardian as they did a piece a few years ago on the 60th Anniversary of the crash.

    1. My uncle John died in this accident and his wife and baby. John was a seaman in the Royal Navy. His twin brother Ernest Hambly was my father whom came to Australia after this accident. John’s dog survived the accident but I can’t find information about it.

    2. Thank you so much to your father. My dads twin brother died and his wife and baby. The gentleman’s name was John Hambly and was a seaman in the Navy. I think this may be who your beautiful father helped. God Bless you and your Family. Your father will forever be in our hearts.

  2. Hi, my uncle (one of four sailors who died) was in the above accident. This is something that my father has never really spoken about so thanks for the photo as I am compiling a family history at the moment.

  3. My grandparents were killed in this crash, they were coming down to wales to see their first grandchild (my older brother) so alas we never knew them.

  4. I would appreciate a copy of any photographs of the winsford train crash as my father John Nixon was the local police sergeant and the first police officer on the scene. He was on duty for three days and was praised by the coroner for his hard work and devotion to duty. Thanking you in anticipation. Robert Nixon.

    1. Thank you Robert Nixon for your dedication. You will be forever in our hearts. My son is named John after my dads twin brother John Hambly whom was a navy seaman with his wife and baby in this accident. Thank you and God Bless You and your family. Forever in our hearts

  5. A plea for help:
    I have reason to believe my father survived this accident (at age 7 months), but lost both of his parents. He was then adopted.
    Is there anywhere I can find a list of those tragically killed in this accident so that I might try to trace names?

  6. I am told that a street in winsford was named after my father sergeant John nixon who was the first police officer on the scene of the 1948 winsford train crash. I would really appreciate it if anyone could confirm or refute this information.many thanks in anticipation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *