Southall Train Crash (08:53)
Seven people were killed when a high-speed passenger train hit a cargo train on September 19, 1997 in West London. The rate of survivability depended on where the passengers were sitting.
Passenger Train Front Car (04:02)
Swindon College principal Clive Brain missed an earlier train. He was one of twelve passengers seated in the front car, the most dangerous part of the train.
Freight Train (05:27)
A 450-ton train of 20 hopper cars was cleared to cross the high-speed tracks near Southall. Passengers remembered a normal train ride until feeling a strange jolt. The driver of the passenger train failed to acknowledge two cautions signals about the other train.
Moment of Impact (02:56)
The passenger train driver applied the emergency brakes shortly before impact. A rocking hopper car hit the front car at 70 miles an hour, shattering the safety-glass windows.
Passenger Car Design (04:03)
The passenger cars were designed in the 1970s to fit with the new trend of high-speed travel. Engineers only had theoretical data on how the cars would handle a crash. The first car did not buckle and absorbed the force of the hopper wagons.
The passenger train engine derailed and debris from the hopper cars landed on the tracks. The first car derailed and fell onto its side. Passengers were thrown across the car and two fell out of broken windows.
Train Safety (03:45)
The two passengers in the first car died because the safety glass broke. The train designers knew the calculated risk of using safety glass.
Passenger Train Rear Cars (06:05)
Passengers in the rear cars felt the impact and knew the train was going to crash. The rear cars filled with smoke and dust as the second car hit the stationary hoppers head-on. The hopper landed on top of the second car.
Passenger Train Second Car (03:53)
The side of the second car was damaged by a hopper, causing the car to bend in half after it was pinned underneath another hopper. It took most of impact and protected passengers in the further back cars.
Southall Crash Aftermath (08:46)
Five passengers died in the second car and over 135 passengers were injured. Many survivors feel guilty about the circumstances that led to their survival.
Credits: Train Crash at Southall (00:43)
Credits: Train Crash at Southall
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