The Sonning Cutting railway accident
occurred during the early hours of 24 December 1841 in the Sonning Cutting
, near Reading, Berkshire
. A Great Western Railway
(GWR) luggage train travelling from London Paddington
to Bristol Temple Meads
station entered Sonning Cutting. The train comprised the broad-gauge
, a tender, three third-class passenger carriages and some heavily-laden goods waggons. The passenger carriages were between the tender and the goods waggons.
Recent intense rain had saturated the soil in the cutting causing it to slip, covering the line on which the train was travelling. On running into the slipped soil the engine was derailed, causing it to slow rapidly. The passenger coaches were crushed between the goods waggons and the tender. Eight passengers died at the scene and seventeen were injured seriously, one of whom died later in hospital.
Details of the accident and subsequent proceedings were reported widely by the newspapers of the day.
The first reports of the accident were published in The Times
on Christmas Day, with the headline "Frightful Accident on the Great Western Railway
". Reporting was hindered by "strict reserve on the part of all the company's servants
", but the account given in the newspaper could, according to The Times "be relied on as substantially correct
The train left Paddington at about 4.30 am with about 38 passengers aboard "chiefly of the poorer class
". Just... Read More