1945: The Sun Bank Halt Accident

The most notable event in the history of the Ruabon to Barmouth line was an accident near Sun Bank Halt. For some distance, the Shropshire Union Canal (Llangollen branch) runs nearby and above the railway. On the night of 6th September 1945, the canal burst its banks just to the West of Sun Bank Halt, washing away the earthworks supporting the railway but leaving the track suspended in the air. With the signalmen unaware that anything was wrong, because the telegraph cables were unaffected, the first train the following morning arrived at the location before the damage was discovered.

GWR 2-6-0 mogul no. 6315, hauling a mail and goods train, fell into the breach, killing the driver, the fireman miraculously escaped. The ensuing fire destroyed much of the train, although the guard was lucky enough to escape alive. On descending from the brake van, he dropped his detonators and then could not find them in the darkness. The walked back all the way to Trevor Station where the following train was held at the signal,.Here he was greeted with “why haven’t you cleared the section?”

The locomotive itself was beyond recovery and dismantled / cut up on site, the remains of the wagons being removed or buried in the earthwork repairs.

The scene of the accident  The other track still intact

Above: The scene of the accident. The other track remains intact, suspended above the breach. The remains of the floodwater are visible on the field below. (LR archives)

The footplate of the engine  Another view of the wreckage

Above: (left) The footplate of the wrecked engine. One of the unfortunate driver's boots can be seen by the reversing lever.

(right) The wreck of the train. Amazingly, the guard escaped, although injured and managed to walk back to Trevor Station to raise the alarm (both LR Archives)

Significant Events between 1860 and 1964

Click this link for the Official Report of the incident