A Narrow Escape – Hugh Brawley and Catherine Cosgrove 

I found this newspaper article dated Monday 10 August 1953 while researching my maternal grandparents, Hugh Brawley and Catherine Cosgrove. The fact that they’d been involved in a train derailment was something I’d never heard before but it must have been pretty big news in the family at the time. Hugh and Catherine had been visiting their son, Daniel in Luton, Bedfordshire.

The picture isn’t very clear but the article focuses on two Yorkshire men who assisted in rescuing passengers from the train. Information from the Railway Archives tells us the events surrounding the accident.

Report on the Derailment which occurred on the 8th August 1953 near Abington in the Scottish Region British Railways

“The 10am Down express passenger train from Euston to Glasgow (the “Royal Scot”) comprising 13 bogie coaches, hauled by a Pacific type engine, was running about 60mph on the northward descent from the Beattock summit. As it emerged from a shallow cutting, rather less than a mile beyond Abington station, the track buckled laterally under its passage, with the result that the last seven coaches were derailed. The 7th, 8th and 9th came to rest upright and practically undamaged. They were in close line with the front portion of the train which was still on the rails ahead of them, but the 10th became uncoupled and fell on its side about 200 yards further back; this coach was again separated by about 150 yards from the day three which remained coupled together, with the 11th and 12th also overturned to the left, and the rear brake van partially overturned to the right diagonally across the two tracks. Damage to the three overturned passenger coaches was remarkably light in the circumstances, and there were no very serious injuries. Nineteen of the 312 passengers in the train and a dining car attendant were taken to hospital, and 7 of the passengers were detained; 17 others sustained minor injuries or shock.”

The newspaper article lists those detained including my grandmother.

My grandfather was also injured but refused to go to hospital thus missing out on the £150 compensation payment that followed!

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