Straffan Rail Accident 1853

Straffan Rail Accident 1853

UK Rail Accident
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Straffan Rail Accident 1853

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The Straffan Rail Disaster on October 5, 1853 occurred when a goods train ran into the back of a stationary passenger train a quarter of a mile south of Straffan Station in County Kildare.


The Great Southern and Western Railway line from Dublin to Cork was only in operation six years when 18 people died in what is still the island’s third worst railway tragedy, having since been surpassed by the Armagh rail disaster of 1889 (80 killed) and the Ballymacarret Junction (Belfast) disaster of 1945 (23 killed).


At 6:20 pm on October 5, 1853 the piston rod on a locomotive snapped, stranding the newly operating noon express train from Cork at a place 974 yards south of Straffan Station, towards Baronrath in a dense fog and gathering twilight. There were a total of 45 passengers in the two first and three second class carriages.

Edward Croker Barrington, a solicitor for the company who was a passenger on the train, directed John O’Hara, stoker on the train, to signal a warning to a 20-carriage goods train which had been passed in Portarlington and was approaching from behind that it might push the train into Dublin. He was gone 15 minutes when the goods train was seen approaching and, reassured, some of the passengers got back on the passenger train. But the goods train crashed into the stationary carriages at full speed, passing...
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