Next month it will be the 60th anniversary of the Harrow and Wealdstone rail accident, Britain’s worst civilian rail disaster.

We wrote extensively about the accident last year, but for those unfamiliar with the consequences, Harrow represented a milestone in railway history, effectively marking the point from which Automatic Warning Systems (AWS) became inevitable countrywide. It also had a wider effect on the country at large, playing a crucial role in the creation of the modern ambulance service. The role played on the day by a young black American Nursing Lieutenant, Abbie Sweetwine, means it is also holds an oft-forgotten place in the history of race relations in Britain as well.

Harrow Council are currently looking to hold a short ceremony of some kind to mark the anniversary, and to take the opportunity to gather more information related to the disaster that is worth recording for posterity and sharing with future generations.

As part of that, Harrow Council enquired as to whether we’d consider running a short appeal on London Reconnections to help them gather any memories readers, or their family members and friends, may have of the accident. We share Harrow Council’s belief that the disaster is a tragic and important event in the history of both London and the country at large, and one most definitely worth commemorating, so we happily agreed.

So if any readers have anything they would like to contribute on the subject of the Harrow disaster, please feel to add it to the comments on this post or – if you’d prefer not to communicate it in such a public fashion – to email us directly at [email protected]. Please feel free to use the comments to discuss the disaster in general as well.

Our thanks in advance,


jump to the end
There is 1 comment; on this article
  1. Egduf says:

    I hope this brings your superb “Angels and Errors” article to a wider audience.

Leave a Comment

In order to make LR a pleasant place for discussion, please try to keep comments polite and, importantly, on topic! Comments that we feel do not meet these criteria, or that contain language that could cause some people trouble at work, may be moderated or deleted.

acceptable tags

* (This won't be shown, but you can link it to an avatar if you like)

Recent Articles

Friday Reading List – 17 March


As anyone looking to properly understand London’s transport needs and network knows, context, background and best-practice are important. As readers might imagine, behind the scenes here at LR Towers we thus spend a lot of time sharing links and reading

Read more ›

LR Magazine Issue Five: Overgrounded


With print copies now being prepped for dispatch to subscribers at LR Towers, London Reconnections Magazine Issue 5: Overgrounded is now available to purchase in our online store. Transport is politics, politics is transport You don’t get transport without politics.

Read more ›