Clapham Junction rail crash

Clapham Junction Rail Crash

UK RailAccident
UK RailAccident

Clapham Junction rail crash

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The Clapham Junction rail crash was a serious railway accident involving two collisions between three commuter trains at 08:10 on the morning of Monday, 12 December 1988.

The collisions occurred 800 m (half a mile) southwest of Clapham Junction railway station in southwest London, England, UK. Thirty-five people died and five hundred were injured, making the crash one of the worst in the UK in recent times.


The first collision occurred after the driver of the 07:18 from Basingstoke to London Waterloo saw a signal in front of him abruptly change from green to red. As required, the driver stopped his train at the next signal post telephone to report to the signalman at Clapham Junction 'A' signal box that his train had passed a red signal. He was advised there was no fault and that he was free to proceed. The driver told the signalman that he intended to make a formal report when he reached Waterloo. As the driver hung up the phone his train was hit from behind by a following train at a speed of 35mph to 40mph (56 km/h to 64 km/h), the late-running 06:14 from Poole, running under false clear signals.

A second collision, consequent on the first, involved the second, third and fourth coaches of an empty train leaving Clapham Junction (travelling on an adjacent line in the opposite direction) which hit the wreckage of the Poole...
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