Birmingham New Street Station: lnwrbns_str417b
Close up of image 'lnwrbns_str417' showing two unidentified
Midland locomotives standing on the centre road and the cantilevered LNWR
signal over the platform. The locomotives are probably a Midland 2-2-2 'Single'
on the right with a Midland 2-4-0 coupled to its tender. The LNWR signal has
been cantilevered out from the wall to reduce station clutter and is located at
this point rather than on the footbridge because the platform could accommodate
two trains at the same time, the signal protecting the West end of the
platform. The arrangement was however to prove fallible and at 4 25pm on 26th
November 1921 the 2 10pm Bristol to Sheffield express ran into the rear of the
late running 4 12pm Birmingham to Derby local passenger service killing three
people and injuring another 24 people.
Midland locomotives were driven with the driver standing on
the right-hand side of the cab and because of the angle of approach and the
bend of the platform he needed the fireman to pass onto him the state of the
signal. A misheard call resulted in the express being driven at sufficient
speed to come to rest at the far end of the platform and consequently hit the
rear of the local. Despite the driver being blamed for the accident for not
confirming the position of the signal himself, Colonel Pringle, the Inspecting
Officer, did recognise that the station was a very difficult one to work and
the few accidents demonstrated the care and attention exercised by the men.
His two criticisms focused on improving the sighting of the
signal and the practice of allowing long trains to enter partly occupied
platforms when there was insufficient room for the full length of the train.
The latter remark reflecting that the express was three coaches too long to
stop at the signal and needed to occupy part of the Eastern half of the
platform. The sighting problem was addressed by the installation in 1924 of
special colour signals (see image 'lnwrbns_lms1875') which remained until the
station was rebuilt in the 1960s.