Remembering the Clapham Junction rail tragedy

Published: 12 December 2018

Today (Wednesday) marks the 30th anniversary of the Clapham Junction rail disaster in which 35 people lost their lives.

There was a wreath laying ceremony at the memorial on Spencer Park this morning organised by the London Fire Brigade in partnership with Wandsworth Council and Network Rail. The council was represented by the Mayor of Wandsworth, Cllr Piers McCausland and the leader of the council Cllr Ravi Govindia.

The Mayor laid a wreath and the memorial was followed by a service at St Mark's on Battersea Rise. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan was also in attendance, along with London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton and representatives from the Metropolitan Police and British Transport Police.

Cllr McCausland said: “Today was an opportunity to reflect on what happened 30 years ago and remember the people who lost their lives on that tragic day. This terrible event left a scar on our borough, and I want to thank all the people involved in the rescue effort and tell the loved ones of those who died that our thoughts remain with them.”


*The rail disaster happened at 8.10am on December 12, 1988. Two passenger trains crashed outside Clapham Junction Station and shortly after a third train collided with the wreckage.

Thirty-five people died and close to five hundred people were injured. The Hidden Report, a 1989 inquiry into the crash, found that it was caused by a signalling failure caused by a faulty wire.

Council staff were widely commended for their decisive response to the crash 30 years ago. They helped to remove undergrowth, cut railings and carved steps into the bank to aid the rescue efforts. Other staff directed traffic, arranged floodlighting, helped the walking wounded and acted as stretcher-bearers.

The Hidden Report said the officers were “to be commended for the speed and scale of the assistance they gave to the emergency services.”