Castlecary Rail Accident

On December 10, disaster struck the railway station at Castlecary, between Falkirk and Glasgow.

Heavy snow that day had led to big delays, and by late afternoon showers of large, thick, snowflakes fell.

A local train was brought to a halt outside Castlecary station while the tracks were cleared. A few minutes later an express train from Edinburgh to Glasgow ran through a danger signal at about 70mph — in the heavy snow and fading light, the train driver had not seen the signal.

The express train smashed into the back of the stationary train, hurling its engine 100 yards down the track. Both trains were full of commuters and shoppers, and 35 people were killed and 179 injured. It was Britain’s worst snow-related rail crash.

An accident occurred on the evening of 10 December 1937, at Castlecary in Scotland, in snowy weather conditions. Two trains were involved in a collision on the Edinburgh to Glasgow main line of the LNER, killing 35 people.

The death toll was 35 (including 7 train crew) and 179 people were hurt, most of them seriously. An eight year old girl was counted as missing. Poignantly some locals swore to seeing the ghost of the girl for many years. The driver of the Edinburgh train was committed to court on a charge of culpable homicide (Scottish equivalent of manslaughter) for supposedly driving too fast in the weather conditions, but the charge was dropped. The Inspecting Officer concluded that it was the signalman who was principally at fault for the disaster. This was Britain's worst snow-related rail crash, others of note being Elliot Junction in 1906 and Abbots Ripton in 1876.

The railway stands on an embankment about 40 feet above the station courtyard and adjoining the main road. A special train arrives each Friday at Haddington at 11.19am for those attending the grain market, and it was this train which was involved in the accident.

The engine came to rest overhanging the embankment, and, had it gone a few feet further, would in all probability have toppled into the yard below. As it was, the buffers went with the engine and these landed in the courtyard.