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Quarry Line Derailment 1949

On 27th June 1949 the 2.25pm Southern Electric express from Victoria to Littlehampton derailed due to track that had buckled in very hot weather. Nobody was seriously hurt, making the accident a minor one by the standards of the time (an average of 60 people were killed in train accidents each year between 1946 and 1951) but the work of the recovery team attracted the interest of local children, one of whom, Ian Hounslow, fortunately had a camera....


trailer car still on buckled track

The train consisted of a 6 Pul unit (leading) and 4 Cor unit 3152 (trailing). As it emerged from Quarry Tunnel it encountered a stretch of track that had started to buckle. The first six coaches remained on the track but the leading bogie of the seventh derailed to the right and the leading bogie of the ninth coach derailed to the left. These nine coaches came to a stand 675 yards further on, beyond Rockshaw Road bridge.


rear driving motor brake

Both bogies of the tenth (rear) coach derailed to the right causing the coupling between it and the ninth coach to lift from the drawbar hook. It came to rest 200 yards of the point of the derailment......

rear driving motor brake

.....pressing against the Up track, which was slewed and obstructed by the impact.


crane in action crane lifting a trailer car
trailer car being lifted by crane a bit of checking going on!
crane lifting driving motor brake  
crane lifting driving motor brake

These images show the re-railing and recovery of Unit 3152. The leading motor brake saloon third coach no 11221 (seventh in the train consist) is viewed from the western side of the line, with the Redhill lines in the foreground. Trailer third 10106 (ninth in the train) is seen from the eastern side of the embankment - this idyllic spot is now where the M25 crosses under the Quarry and Redhill lines. Back in the cutting, motor brake saloon third no 11222 (the tenth and last car of the train) is prepared and lifted back on to the track.


the track is clearly buckled!

This picture appears to have been taken later in the evening at the point of derailment, looking south towards Rockshaw Road bridge from beneath Peter's Bridge (which has since been demolished) just beyond the Quarry Tunnel's southern portal. The tenth coach has been recovered but work has not yet started on repairing the damaged track.

To read an account of the Official Accident Report as an Acrobat document, please click here.