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Morpeth crash: I helped two survivors

THE feature by Fraser Pithie on the Morpeth Curve (RM Sept) was a fascinating read, which allowed me to re-live my involvement in the 1984 crash.

We lived at 45 Low Stobhill at the time of the 1984 crash. I loved the fact there were trains at the bottom of my garden, and my son and I enjoyed watching them go by.

My wife and I were late home on the evening of  June 24, 1984. Not long home, I was aware of a ‘WHOOOSH’ sound, and the wardrobe gave a rapid jerk. 

I certainly did not hear noises one may have associated with a crash.

However, I ran to the bathroom at the back of the house and looked down towards the railway.

There was enough ambient light for me to see a cloud of dust, and a carriage lying up the embankment on the outer bend of the curve.

I leapt downstairs, grabbed my torch and ran into the garden to look over the fence. Amazingly, there was no noise……in fact I recall all was silent.

As I climbed over my fence, I was joined by a teenage neighbour and we scrambled down the bank to find a carriage on its side. The carriage had obviously separated from the one behind, so there was an entry point and I climbed in. The corridor was uppermost so the cabin doors were below me as I crawled in.

I banged on the first door and shouted. A ladies voice replied. It was a mother travelling with her teenage daughter and said they were shaken but not injured. She was not able to climb up to open the door. 

I told them to take cover as best they could while I attempted to smash the door open. I was able to unlock the door, which of course swung downwards with a crash.

Since the ladies were not able to climb up to the door, I lowered myself into the compartment, and was able to help first the daughter, then mother to climb out. By this time police and fire brigade chaps were on the scene…

With my neighbour, we took the ladies to my house, where my wife made them drinks and gave the daughter a travel rug for comfort, since she was shivering, before they were taken away by ambulance, which was later returned by the police. 

I never knew the names of the ladies, where they were from, or where they were going. 

Earlier this year, I travelled over around the curve again, and it made me wonder where they are now? 

Brian Green
Queensland, Australia

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