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 Cannaught, 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.
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