Pontypridd railway accident: 100 years on
Sunday 23 January marks the 100th anniversary of the Pontypridd railway accident in which 11 people were killed and five others seriously injured. The tragedy drew considerable public attention and sympathy, as well as extensive press coverage, and the ensuing Board of Trade inquiry is recorded in The National Archives document RAIL 1057/2707.
The accident occurred at 9:48am when a passenger train carrying more than 100 people collided with a coal train on the Taff Valley Railway line near Hopkinstown following a signalling error. The force of the impact separated the chassis of the leading carriage and forced it into the carriage behind, resulting in many deaths and injuries. The inquiry analysed the actions of the signalmen and train crews in detail as well as the signalling methods in use at the time. However, conflicting evidence made it impossible to establish who was at fault.
RAIL 1057/2707 includes the testimonies of the signalmen on duty at the time, details of the rolling stock involved and the damage resulting from the crash and associated correspondence. Among those called to give evidence was Labour MP J. H Thomas who would go on to become General Secretary of the National Union of Railwaymen and eventually Lord Privy Seal, before being forced to resign over alleged financial irregularities.
You can find this file in Discovery.