Clapham Junction Train Collision

On December 12th, 1988 a moving train collided with a stationary train at Clapham Junction, and after a third train had crashed into the wreckage, 35 people had been killed and 70 injured.

The blame was placed upon a faulty traffic control signal that showed a clear track to the moving train in the first collision.

The faulty signal was caused by a live wire being able to make contact with other equipment, bypassing safety equipment. During maintenance of the wiring, instead of the old wires being tied off or cut back they were pushed out of the way and left uninsulated, and old insulation tape was reused.

Pressure on maintenance staff to keep the trains running and a shortage of qualified staff had led to overwork.

As a result of the accident, the processes behind signalling work were completely overhauled.


More adequate maintenance procedures and funding may have prevented the accident.