1957

SATURDAY 8th JUNE 1957


ELECTRIC COAST TRAIN HITS STEAM ENGINE


Involving Ore Motorman Thomas Page

EXTRACTED FROM THE HASTINGS OBSERVER

PHOTOS FROM DAVID COWELL COLLECTION

Motorman escapes in Hastings rail crash when a coastal train entering Hastings Station on Tuesday afternoon collided with a stationary express locomotive on an adjourning track, Motorman Thomas Frederick Page (60), of Lyndhurst Avenue, Hastings, controlling the electric train, had an amazing escape from death although he was injured.

The four coach electric train arriving from Brighton at x.5p.m. was about to run into platform 3 when the leading coach struck the projection of the School Class engine Blundells (No.30932).

Virtually the whole of the left hand side of the leading coach was ripped out before the train could be stopped, but none of the passengers on the train numbering more than 30 was injured because this coach by a fortunate chance was empty.

Motorman Page was sitting on the left hand side of the driving cabin, which took the main force of the smash but he escaped with little more that a cut head and severe shock.

Rescue workers helped hm from the wrecked and twisted cabin and was taken in a St John Ambulance to the Royal East Sussex Hospital.

Travelling in the train from Bexhill was “Observer” reporter, who writes.

Some of us were already standing up to leave the train as it approached the platform when there was a grinding crack and a violent jerk which threw several people on to the seats. The train shuddered and then stopped.

People sat shocked for a moment then flung open windows to see what had happened. We saw the track alongside the leading coach scattered with wood fragments and water gushing from the 4,000 gallons in the locomotive tender as it stood embedded in the gashed side of the electric train.

Within a few minutes railwaymen had freed the trapped motorman and worked along the leading carriage looking for injured passengers. Fortunately there were none, though a full turn-out of ambulance men and fireman had been rushed to the station ready for any emergency.

There was a ten minute wait while the current on the conductor rail was switched off, then railwaymen placed ladders and helped us out of the carriages.

Passengers laughed and joked about their narrow escape as they walked the few yards along the rails to the platform. 

Many of them went straight on to a waiting Ashford steam train which was held back a few minutes for them.

Less than half an hour after the collision a light engine hauled away the damaged electric train and freed the line.

It was found that the locomotive tender had two axle boxes cracked, in addition to the punctured tank, but the engine was able to move out under its own power.

Other traffic was not affected.

Mr. Page (right) was allowed to return home from hospital later in the day, when his condition was stated to be much improved. He rested in bed at home for the following two days.

SOUTHERN WAY MAGAZINE

ISSUE 31/31
WRITTEN BY DAVID COLWELL

In essence the E.M.U., 1815, was running into Hastings whilst 30932 (Blundells) was backing out of the station. The driver of the Schools mistook the signals and continued into the path of the E.M.U. colliding with the left hand front cab and ripping out the side of the first coach. Charles sustained injuries to his head and was badly shaken but remained conscious being only concerned of his train. His daughter Peggy Waters (the lady on the right hand side of the picture) worked at Hastings as a railway telephonist and was present at the time. The recovery train engine is a Standard 84XXX 2-6-2T 84022 from Ashford. There is very little information regarding this accident and it wa never recorded as such.
Interestingly as a result of my article in Southern Way a first hand account of the incident has come to light. The gentlemen who was a boy at the time and on holiday with his aunt in Hastings saw the E.M.U. running into the station followed by a loud bang and large dust cloud. He and his father were able to see the aftermath but not able to see the number of the Schools involved. He and I believe there was a report in the Hasting & St. Leonards Observer at the time (see above).
He also followed up the works visit of Blundells and it appears that 30932 was admitted to Ashford Works on the 13th June 1957 for a non classified casual repair. It was released back into traffic on the 21st June 1957 (see Southern Way Issue 31/33)   

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