This film is part of Free

Fatal Train Smash

The clean-up begins after a Royal Scot Class express passenger train derails near Leighton Buzzard

Non-Fiction 1931 1 mins Silent


Lunchtime on Sunday 22 March 1931: the LMS Royal Scot Class passenger express to Scotland derails approaching Leighton Buzzard station, wrecking the first five carriages, including the still sparsely populated kitchen and dining cars. Six lost their lives, including the driver, fireman and cook – the gruesome task of recovering their bodies from the wreckage still underway as the newsreel camera arrived.

Built in 1927, engine No. 6114 - the Coldstream Guardsman - had left London Euston at 11:30 bound for Glasgow and Edinburgh. Approaching Leighton Buzzard it was intended to divert to the slow line due to engineering work. For reasons that may never be known, the warnings to reduce speed were not obeyed until it was too late. Watching the cranes pick up the shattered pieces in this film, it's a wonder that the majority of over 200 passengers and staff walked away unharmed. The train would get back on the rails and stay in service until 1963.