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Cinderford rail accident 11th March, 1959

Cinderford rail accident

Cinderford Bridge 1959, the rail line runs to Ruspidge, Soudley and the Gloucester to S Wales line via the Haie tunnel.

Anne wrote (October 2007) " ...a railway accident on the 11th March, 1959 at Ruspidge, the engine driver was William G. McOwan (he is second from the left) and first on the left of the picture is the fireman H. Trigg. My grandfather, W. G. McOwan said the car came quickly down the hill, stopped on the track and he always remembered how the driver got out of the car and calmly shut the door before leaving the track, seemingly unworried about the oncoming steam engine".

Peter Essex added (October 2007): "This is horribly reminiscent of an incident at Lydney Town level crossing at roughly the same time, in which my grandfather William Frank Essex, driving a Standard Vanguard owned by my uncle Sidney Essex (then of Bathurst Park, Lydney), suffered a heart attack as he proceeded from the car park on the far side of Hill Street from Lydney Town station. The story goes that he flew across Hill Street and embedded the car in the footings of the station footbridge with wheels spinning, whereupon the heroic signalman flew down from his box and switched the engine off before anyone could be cremated on the spot. If anyone remembers that (other than my cousin David who has already contributed his recollection) do let's hear about it. I had no idea that Ruspidge had seen a similar incident".

Allain McOwan added (in the Forest Review of 9th July 2010): " ... The car in the photograph ... was traveling down the hill past the Dilke Hospital. The crossing gates were across the road to allow the train bringing around 30 empty wagons up to Cinderford. The car driver applied his brakes but the car skidded (due to the road being iced up) and smashed into the gates and ended up across the tracks. The train applied the brakes etc. but could not stop in time and smashed into the car. My father, Mr W G McOwan was the driver of the train and the fireman was Mr Harry Trigg from Bullo near Newnham. The amazing thing about this is that the driver of the car looked down the track and saw the train bearing down on him. He calmly opened the car door, got out, and closed the door of the car before stepping aside. The train smashed into the car and the photo shows the result. There were no injuries and after the track was cleared everything reverted to normal".

Eric Hayman added (April 2013): "... So much for the strength of wooden crossing gates and the gate locks. Like this year, 1959 had a very cold start. In the January of 1959 I was on the ranges at Malvern (not far from Ruspidge) trying to fire a Lee Enfield ∙303 and a bren gun while lying on a ground sheet spread on snow only melted by my own body heat".

Pete Clark added (April 2015): "... My Grandfather also hit those gates back in the 1920s when his starting handle rolled out from under his seat and under the brake pedal. Somebody had to run up the line to stop the train".

James Bevan added (February 2017): "... I believe car driver and owner was Gareth Jones late of Mitcheldean who was an accountant".

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