For enthusiasts and researchers of the Great Eastern Railway

RH083: The Collision of the Night Mail at Witham, 1950.

NEW JULY 2020. This is the official report into the accident which happened near Witham in the early morning of 7 March 1950. It consists of nine printed pages plus a very wide fold-out map.

There was patchy fog, and the express passenger night mail train from Peterborough to Liverpool Street via Ipswich was running late. A freight ahead of it was being set back into sidings at Rivenhall when the passenger train ran into it at speed.

The report does not say this, but the engine was B1 61057 which had been an Ipswich engine from new. It was so badly damaged that it was written off and became by far the earliest of the 410 B1's to be withdrawn.

This therefore is a record of its final journey. Coincidentally the Files Emporium also offers a record of what may well have been its very first jouney in revenue-earning service as well. The late John Dew was a medical student and later a doctor who kept detailed records of his train journeys between 1935 and 1947, and we have transcribed these and issued them in three volumes in Section TO.  Most are on GE territory or the GNR route from Cambridge to Kings Cross. 

In 1946 he paid a visit to Scotland. Journey 141 (in file TO001) records his trip on the 12.45pm Glasgow Queen Street to Edinburgh on 27 July that year. The ten coaches were hauled by a gleaming new B1, No. 1057, presumably on trial - the North British Locomotive Company in Glasgow made it, and its building date is recorded as July 1946. The journey was bedevilled with signal stops, but the locomotive achieved a creditable 62 mph at one point. Little did John know that this engine was about to go to Ipswich, or that it was destined for a short life of less than four years!

This file concludes with four snapshots depicting the condition of the B1 after it had been recovered. It will be available to download as soon as payment has been made. You go to your account and click on ‘Downloads’. New customers create an account as they place their order.

File
Pages 15
File Size (MB) 5.3

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