Sevenoaks railway accident
|Sevenoaks railway accident|
|Date||24 August 1927|
|Location||near Sevenoaks railway station|
|Rail line||South Eastern Main Line|
The Sevenoaks railway accident occurred on 24 August 1927 between Dunton Green railway station and Sevenoaks railway station. The Southern Railway's afternoon express from Cannon Street to Deal left London at 5pm, in charge of River Class tank engine No 800 River Cray. Several passengers later recounted that from time to time the train seemed to roll excessively on fast curves. As it passed through Pollhill Tunnel at 60 mph the rocking became violent and the train derailed past Dunton Green railway station. Unfortunately, at this point on the line, the line is in a cutting which is spanned by a bridge carrying Shoreham Lane, which the cab of the locomotive struck, turning it on its side across the cutting. The leading coaches piled up against it, killing 13 and injuring many more (railway engineer Archibald Jack survived).
John Wallace Pringle, Chief Inspecting Officer of Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate conducted the inquiry in person. After news of the accident, the Southern Railway withdrew all 21 'River' class tank engines, which caused a public sensation at the time. Other drivers testified to the instability of the class and it emerged that a previous example had derailed at speed (though miraculously re-railed itself). The engines' high centre of gravity, hard springing and tendency for the water in the side tanks to surge all caused the engines to roll dangerously at speed, so much so that in this case the nearside wheels had lifted.
Trials carried out after the accident showed that the design behaved well on the Great Northern main line out of King's Cross running at 85 mph, showing that indifferent permanent way was partly responsible; however, before the results of the trials had been published, all 20 engines had been rebuilt to form the first SR U class 2-6-0 tender engine design in 1928.
- "Inspecting Officers (Railways) - Pringle, (Sir) John Wallace". SteamIndex. Retrieved 2011-07-10.