Sunday History Photo / NSW

Submitted: Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 00:54
ThreadID: 69789 Views:4613 Replies:7 FollowUps:0
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An early morning, peak hour Blue Mountains commuter train from Mt Victoria, travelling into Sydney, crashed after derailing on an approach curve to Granville Station. It careered along for 46 metres before striking the supports of the Bold Street Bridge over the rail line, demolishing all 8 steel stanchions and coming to rest 67 metres from the derailment, with carriage one, behind it, also derailed and split open from hitting a pole. Eight died and 34 were injured in this carriage.
Carriage two also derailed and passed to the north of carriage one, coming to a halt hard up against the concrete retaining wall lining the track. It was relatively unscathed and there were no fatalities in this carriage.

Carriages three and four were not so lucky. The four lane concrete bridge with a weight of 570 tonnes, collpased onto them, squashing them almost flat and trapping the passengers. 44 of carriage two's 77 passengers died, along with 31 of carriage three's complement of 64.
The other carriages were strung crookedly on the opposite/or western side). The massive response by police, civil & emergency services was complicated by the dangerous environment rescuers were working in. At the end of the third carriage the concrete slab threatened to slump lower at any moment. At the other, tonnes of loose bricks teetered on the flimsy roof.
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The rescuers worked with frantic care. Any slip could be fatal. At one point of the operation rescuers could smell gas. It came from ruptured bottles of LPG used to run the carriage heaters. With the threat of gas leaking over the site, a further major disaster was averted when an unwitting attempt to start a small chainsaw inside a carriage was immediately stopped. The chainsaw was taken outside the carriage & started, first pull. If the chainsaw had started inside the ignition of gas would have added considerably to the dead & injured toll.
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There were 83 deaths & 213 injuries, 83 were serious. Rescuers performed extraordinary feats of bravery to stay with some of the injured in some areas of the wrecked carriages considered too dangerous. The last body was not removed until 31 hours after the accident. An inquiry exonerated the train's driver & fireman, finding the accident was caused by poorly maintained tracks.

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Reply By: Member - Jack - Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 07:05

Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 07:05
That brings back memories, Doug.

I was on that train, but fortunately a little further back, and was uninjured. The guy who used to drive me to work has to get to the airport early and I decided to catch the train instead of taking my own car.

The car teetering on the brink belonged to a lady I had worked with at Firestone at Auburn. There was also a motorbike on the "V" where the bridge had collapsed. He got up and walked away, and was found sitting in the doorway of the butcher shop in a dazed state, but otherwise uninjured.

The Granville Train Crash was then the subject of a documentary called "Day of the Roses". Evey year crash survivors, families and others gather at the bridge and throw 83 roses onto the rails in memory of those who died.

Thanks for the posting.

The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get. (Lewis Carroll-Alice In Wonderland)

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Reply By: The Top End Explorer - Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 07:15

Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 07:15
G/day Doug.

Luckily for us we had moved to Darwin after cyclone Tracy, Dad used to catch that train every day, he actually lost some friends that day.

Cheers Steve.
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Reply By: Member - Vince M (NSW) - Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 09:50

Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 09:50
It brings back Memory's & a day I will not forget , dad worked in the morgue tent & moved/ transported 82 of the 83 we all helped, My sister was in the train & we did not know if we had moved her or not for days & then she finally rang home to say she was OK

Two of the young rescuers that day were the Bushman brothers both rookie Ambulance & fireman they both went on to be in charge of their fields of rescue with NSW Fire & ambulance services & in their spare time ran Nepan Rescue squad

I sill remember this little Italian guy crawling thru looking for survivor's he was a hero

My counselling was a screaming fire truck out side the pub (I was not old enough to go in)

the owner of the funeral parlour who my dad worked for got some medal from the government & he did not even help or go to the site that day

A day that a lot of people will never forget

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Reply By: Member - Footloose - Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 12:20

Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 12:20
I was on holiday in the UK at that time. It was the only Australian news item that made it to the news on UK tv. When we got back we realized what a "big deal" it was. A very big deal indeed :(((
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Reply By: Member - steveinoz (NSW) - Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 13:50

Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 13:50
Doug T.

Well down. I worked for a Local newspaper at the time and remember it well. I remember it was a Tuesday morning and I was driving to work for Penrith. As I approached Church Street Parramatta all I could hear was Sirens. Then rescue vehicles coming from all direction. I heard on the Radio, that there had been a Plane crash in the Granville shopping Center. Then as I approached Parramatta Road everything came to a halt, as Rescue, Ambulances, Fire trucks were trying to get to the scene. That was when the music stopped and it was confirmed the the Bold Street bridge had collapsed onto a train. I sat in my office and one after another, the screaming sirens of ambulances heading for the Auburn Hospital. In the back of my mind, I still remember someone saying at the time. We will never forget this. I sertainly won't. Thanks Again...

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Reply By: Honky - Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 21:25

Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 21:25
I lived in the block of flats in the background.
A fresh faced kid from Moree.
Still had my Moree licence and had to prove that I lived in one of the flats.

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Reply By: On Patrol & TONI - Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 22:05

Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 22:05
Who can forget that day??
I was in Clyde (the next station) visiting a client and we were stuck in a dead end street that opened onto Parramatta, the police just closed Parramatta rd for the duration, it was late that night when I, along with hundreds of others were allowed to retrieve our vehicles from the nearby back streets as Parramatta Rd was declared an emergency vehicle access route exclusively.

Several of the people stuck there, me included, walked up to Granville to see what was going on, I regret that decision to this day. Colin.
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