At around ten minutes past eight on the 5th October, 1999, two trains collided near Ladbroke Grove, a mile and a half west of Paddington. A Thames Turbo headed for Bedwyn in Wiltshire, passed a red signal and crossed into the path of a 125 First Great Western express train from Cheltenham.
The Thames train was severely damaged and its front coach destroyed. The front power car and several coaches of the 125 were derailed. Diesel tanks were ruptured and a cloud of atomised diesel created a massive fireball. A serious fire started in Coach H of the 125 and left it burnt out.
Of the 570 people on board the two trains, 31 people were killed, including the drivers of both trains, and 417 injured.
Passengers were evacuated to the nearby Sainsburys and Barlby Road Primary School, both of which closed in a community effort to cope with the sheer numbers of affected people.
The governemnt of the day announced a Public Inquiry and this was carried out by Lord Cullen. There were two parts to the enquiry, the first examined the train crash, and the second looked at the managmement of safety in the rail industry.
It is clear that the crash and the others that occurred immediately before and after it were not acceptable and changes in the industry had to occur.
31 people lost their lives in the crash.
Sam Di Lieto
Sun Yoon Hah
Dr Khawar Tauheed