July 29, 2020

Railway Accident at Cowden: A Report of the Inquiry into the Collision between two Passenger Trains which occurred at Cowden on 15 October 31st Oct . Both Mr Brett-Andrews and the train’s driver, Mr Brian Barton, 31, died in the accident at Cowden in October along with the driver of the. Cowden rail crash The Cowden rail crash occurred on 15 October , around yards southeast of Cowden Station in the English county.

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In a book Britain’s Railway Disasters by Mortons Publishing there is an article about the incident, which we have pasted below.

At hrs cdash Saturday the 15 Octoberaround metres south of the end of the platform at Cowden Station in Kent and This branch line is from Hurst Green junction near Oxted, south to Uckfield and at this point is single track.

Essentially, the Northbound train failed to wait at the Ashurst Loop and entered the single line section at Blackham junction against the Red signal at OD Two modern drash passing on the Ashurst Loop in Blackham Junction is around the bend in the far distance.

Five people were killed and twelve were injured.

The five who died were the driver and guard of the northbound train, the driver of the southbound train and two passengers in the northbound train. The southbound train consisted of two class units cowven up 6 carriages; at the rear and unit at the front.


The northbound fowden also consisted of two class units; at the front and at the rear. Coach E – Trailing bogie still on the track. Coach F- Lying on its side down the embankment. All other units described as “Cushions and light fittings displaced”.

Accident at Cowden on 15th October :: The Railways Archive

The guard of the northbound unit was in the driving cab, contrary to regulations and had been previously warned about driving trains. However, whether he was driving or not will never be known for sure as he and both drivers were killed in the collision.

Both of the front ends of both trains were so badly damaged that it was not possible to ascertain the exact positions of the crew in the northbound train at the point of impact. Several other possible contributory factors were considered by the Inquiry.

Cowden rail crash

The lack of crashworthiness of the aging thumpers was considered and may have played a part in the redesigning of carriages that followed. Additionally, a lack of cab radios was also considered as the Oxted signalman could see from his electronic board what was going to happen, but could not communicate directly with the drivers.


The effectiveness of the signal OD58 was also questioned as there was found to be contamination on the insides of both of the signal lenses, the red lens seeming to be more affected than the green.

However, after the accident, the red aspect of Signal 0D58 was seen to be alight, hence vrash can be inferred that at the time the northbound train passed it, signal 0D58 was showing red.

No one really knows what happened. If the legitimate driver of the northbound was driving, why did he not stop at the red signal?

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Was he lost, as he was described as inexperienced as he cowxen only driven this route some 60 times before? If the guard was driving, what was the legitimate driver doing and why did he not intervene?

The front carriage of and were completely destroyed and were either cut up at the scene or shortly afterwards. Because of the complex work required to recover the leading vehicle of the Down train, the line was not restored to traffic until