60th anniversary looms of Eastbourne Railway Station crash which killed five people

An Eastbourne man has called for a plaque to remember the rail crash at Eastbourne Railway Station on August 25 1958 which left five people dead and 40 injured.

Thursday, 2nd August 2018, 6:13 pm
Updated Friday, 31st August 2018, 5:11 pm
The scene of the crash at Eastbourne Railway Station in 1958 SUS-180208-170959001

The 60th anniversary of the disaster is this month which has prompted Eddie Oades to renew his plea for a plaque within the station to be erected by either Eastbourne Borough Council or the rsailway authorities.

The accident happened at 7.27am on a Monday morning when the 7.45pm sleeper-car steam train originating from Glasgow “ran past the home signal at Eastbourne at danger”.

A second train with 150 people onboard – the 6.47am 12-coach electric service from Ore to London Bridge station – was at the number 4 platform at the Eastbourne station awaiting departure when the steam train, carrying 36 passengers, ploughed into it.

The scene of the accident was between Cavendish Place Bridge and Eastbourne Railway Station.

The front two carriages of the electric train were destroyed and the overhead signal gantry was brought down.

The operator of the London bridge train and three passengers were killed at the scene and a fourth passenger died later in hospital.

Records show 40 people were injured.

Mr Oades said as this year is the 60th , “With the passage of time, this will all too soon pass beyond living memory,

“It does seem sad that the borough council and the railway authorities have never seen fit to erect some memorial plaque or similar in tribute to the five who died and the 40 or so injured, together with all those who coped so well.”

An official report into the crash found the train driver of the Glasgow to Eastbourne service, Alfred Wembridge, failed to see the home signal was set at ‘danger’ and drove straight through the points, into the path of the oncoming London Bridge service. But Mr Wembridge was acquitted of manslaughter at Sussex Assizes in December 1958.

Historians are to make contact with Network Rail and Eastbourne council.