Ilford rail crash (1915)

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Ilford rail crash
The west end of Ilford station where the crash occurred, pictured in 2009
The west end of Ilford station where the crash occurred, pictured in 2009
Date 1 January 1915
Time 8:40 am
Location Ilford
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Country England
Rail line Great Eastern Main Line
Operator Great Eastern Railway
Type of incident Collision
Cause Signal passed at danger
Trains 2
Deaths 10
Injuries 500
List of UK rail accidents by year

The 1915 Ilford rail crash occurred on 1 January 1915 when an express passenger train passed a signal at 'danger' and collided with another passenger train that was stopped at Ilford railway station on the Great Eastern Main Line in Essex. The collision killed ten people and approximately 500 complained of injury.


At approximately 8:40 am on 1 January 1915 the crew of the 7:06 am express service from Clacton-on-Sea to London Liverpool Street failed to see that the distant and home signals at the Ilford east signalbox were at 'danger'.[1] The signalman tried to attract their attention by shouting and waving a red flag from the signalbox, but to no avail. At the west end of the station, the 8:20 am local service from Gidea Park to Liverpool Street was crossing over from the 'local' line to the 'through' line when it was ran into by the Clacton express at an estimated speed of 20 mph. The impact completely destroyed the eighth coach and damaged five others of the Gidea Park train, as well as the front two vehicles of the Clacton train. Ten passengers were killed and over 500 complained of injury.

The official report attributed blame to the driver of the Clacton train for his "insufficient care in noting the positions of his signals when approaching Ilford". It also noted that the accident would have been much less likely if some form of Automatic Warning System had been in use, and recommended its introduction.[2]

See also


  1. Rolt, L.T.C.; Kichenside, Geoffrey (1982) [1955]. Red for Danger (4th ed.). Newton Abbot: David & Charles. pp. 240–241. ISBN 0-7153-8362-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Lt Col P.G. von Donop (1915). Board of Trade Report (PDF). HMSO.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>