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Rail Crash Drama

23 Jul 1971
Padiham Power Station

Rail Crash Drama

The rear of the engine with its derailed wagons. A previously unpublished image.

Diesel engine driver Mr. Edward Shackleton, of Lowerhouse Lane Burnley and his shunter, Mr. Trevor Lyall, of Laithe Street Burnley, escaped serious injury by jumping clear from their cab before their goods train careered out of control and crashed through buffers on a Padiham siding. They were detained at Burnley Victoria Hospital with head and arm injuries. A third man in the goods train, Mr. Anthony Middleton of Carlton Street Nelson, also jumped clear but was unhurt. His end of the train was not derailed.

It happened about 7.50 on Friday morning, the 23rd July 1971, when the 74-ton diesel was taking coal to Padiham power station from Rosegrove. A police spokesman at the scene said: "Just before the train enters the power station it is supposed to stop while the driver's mate switches the points." After it failed to stop near the bridge over Station Road the driver and his mate jumped out of the cab. As the points were not changed the train went down a siding for about a mile before crashing. It hit the buffers and went on for 30 yards and then stopped. A wire fence separates the siding from the power station area and the diesel No. D7654 of the VB(LQ) class made in Manchester in 1956, finished up tilted against the wire. A British Rail spokesman said that seven wagons, each containing 20 tons of coal, were derailed. Coal was scattered over the track and, near the point where the buffers had been, the wagons were arched in an inverted "V". Officials of British rail and the Central Electricity Generating Board visited the scene and a spokesman for British Rail said that an inquiry would be held although the results would not be published.