Norwich Yarmouth Train Collision

On September 19th, 1874 the Liverpool St-Yarmouth express was running twenty minutes late to cross over with a mail train at Brundall.

As a result, the night inspector suggested to the stationmaster that the mail train be given permission to proceed from Brundall to Norwich. Believing that the stationmaster had given approval, the clerk did not follow procedures requiring a signed message before sending a telegraph to Brundall for the train to proceed.

Poor communication between the day operator and the night operator led to the day operator giving permission for the express to proceed to Brundall, realising only a minute or two later when there was no way to recall the trains.

The trains collided near a bridge at Yare, some of the carriages fortunately remaining on the bridge after the collision despite there being nothing to prevent a fall. 25 people were killed and 70 injured.


The handover between shifts is one example where poor communication can lead to failures.