ASLEF: Remembering those who died in the Newton rail crash
On Wednesday 21 July we mark the 30th anniversary of the Newton rail tragedy when two drivers – ASLEF members Reginald McEwan, 61, and David Scott, 27 – and two passengers – Kenneth Meechan, 20, and Tracy Donnachie, 18 – lost their lives.
Kevin Lindsay, ASLEF’s organiser in Scotland, said: ‘It is with great sadness that we remember the events of 21 July 1991, when two commuter trains crashed just west of Newton railway station at Cambuslang near Glasgow. The junction had been remodelled just a month before the crash.
‘At 21.55, the 21:55 Newton-Glasgow Central Cathcart Circle service, a British Rail Class 303 unit driven by Reginald McEwan, left the ‘down’ platform at Newton. Meanwhile, the 20:55 Balloch-Motherwell service, a Class 314 unit driven by David Scott, was crossing from the fast West Coast main line tracks through a single-lead junction to enter the ‘up’ platform.
‘The two trains collided head-on at the junction, killing both drivers, and two passengers, and injuring 22. The Class 303 overrode the buffer unit of the Class 314 and the trains telescoped over one another. The leading coach of the 314 was completely destroyed. After the accident, the track layout was changed to install double track from the platforms towards Kirkhill station.
‘The railway family in Scotland will come together to observe one minute’s silence to remember those who died and those who were injured. It is vitally important that we work, every day, to improve the safety of our railway and do nothing to compromise the safety of passengers and staff.’
Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, said: ‘We will never forget the two drivers, and two passengers, who died in the crash at Newton. We must ensure that we never forget the lessons from this tragedy, to ensure that we keep the people who work on, and travel on, our railway safe.’
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