Description of Abergele train accident

“We are now approaching Abergele, near which such a terrible accident
happened to the Irish mail in 1868. Some trucks had been shunted from a train in front, and they, by some mistake, came running down the hill to meet the “Irishman.” The driver saw them, and the shock was not severe, but unfortunately they were filled with oil barrels, which broke open, the petroleum caught fire, and in two minutes all the fore part of the train was enveloped in flames.

“Nothing could be done; the poor people in the carriages – lords and
ladies and gentlemen – were burned, and with difficulty any escaped. This was a fearful catastrophe, and quite puts aside any ordinary accidents which (not a few) have happened to the “Wild Irishman.”

Article in ‘Little Folks, A Magazine for the Young’, date of issue unknown

9 thoughts on “Description of Abergele train accident

  1. David Hughes:

    Hi Melyn, a bit of detective work gone on. You can see the article, the Wild Irishman, in the index of Little Folks, December 1884, under “Famous Railway Trains and their Story” You can view the rest of the sequence of issues bar one, August 1884. If you look through the other issues and check page numbers etc there can only be one conclusion and that is it was published in August 1884. The stories in the series were attributed to a certain Henry Frith. To read the article follow

  2. David Hughes:

    Incidentaly, I presume you’ve seen the memorial to the disaster in St Michaels Church yard.

  3. Brian Haynes:

    Detailed descriptions of the Abergele Train Disaster can be found in L.T.C. Rolt ‘s book “Red for Danger” and also in “The Chester & Holyhead Railway Vol I” by Peter E. Baughan. (David & Charles)
    Abergele was also the scene of an accident in 1863 in which 52 cattle were killed as a result of a broken wheel, wreckage heaped up to a height of 40ft.

    1. melyn:

      Thanks for the book details Brian.
      And I hadn’t heard of that other accident involving cattle.

      1. Delyth A MacRae:

        Another book of interest on the Abergele Rail disaster is ‘Death by chance’ by Dr Robert Hulme and published by Gwasg Carreg Gwalch

  4. Edward Case:

    Frank Harris in his book “Life and Loves” gives an account of his witnessing the scene of destruction minutes after the disaster.

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