Neil Oliver describes the worst ever railway accident in the UK, which happened a hundred years ago on 22 May 1915, in which three trains collided at Quintinshill near Gretna Green. One of the trains was a troop train taking soldiers to fight in World War I at the Battle of Gallipoli: many of the dead were in this train which caught fire due to escaped gas from the archaic gas lighting in the carriages. The cause of the crash was attributed to a catastrophic signalman's error, but Neil examines whether there were other contributory factors and whether there was a cover-up to prevent investigation of them, making convenient scapegoats of the signalmen.
Did You Know?
Neil Oliver - Presenter
Wartime pressure on the rail system, causing the passing loops to be used as sidings, left Meakin with little choice of what to do with the local train, but use the most risky option.
Adrian Quine - Railway Journalist
That essentially is the cause of what led to the disaster at Quintinshill. It was too many trains piled into a small area with simply nowhere to put them, and huge pressure put on the signalmen to find a solution.