Isolated Accident: The 1997 Southall (England) Train Collision


The location of Southall in Europe.
The approximate site of the accident seen from above in 1998, Southall Yard can be seen on the right (gray-black warehouse). The passenger train came from the west (left), with the freight train approaching from the east (right).

The trains involved

GWT Class 43 #43173, the locomotive leading the train at the time of the accident, photographed in 1994.
A 10-piece GWT Intercity 125 identical with the train involved, photograpehd in 1996.
ARC Class 59 #59101, the locomotive pulling the freight train, photographed with a similar train in 1999.

The accident

A reproduction of the note left in the London-side locomotive, reading AWS ISOLATED REPAIR BOOK FULL.
The signal-bridge carrying SN254, captured from the adjacent road in 2019. The platforms begin at the overpass just past it.


The remains of Coach G sitting in the wreckage next to Coach F. The folded-up roof is clearly visible.
The master switch for the AWS-system aboard an identical locomotive, set and sealed in the “on” position.
The wreckage of GWT Class 43 #43173 as it sat in the wreckage. Harrison was lucky to survive the collision.
Responders standing at the back of the wreckage during recovery (apologies for the watermarks).
Cranes starting to remove train cars from the site a few days after the accident (apologies for the watermarks).
ScotRail Class 43 #43163, the rear locomotive from the accident, photographed in service in 2018.


A reconstruction of the collision as shown in a BBC Documentary in 2003, using model trains as well as CCTV-footage combined with CGI.



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Max S

Max S


Train crash reports and analysis, published weekly.