Newton (South Lanarkshire) rail accident

Newton Rail Crash
Date 21 July 1991
Location near Newton, South Lanarkshire
Country Scotland
Rail line Argyle Line/Cathcart Circle Line
Strathclyde Passenger Transport
(West Coast Main Line)
Cause SPAD, inadequate junction layout
Trains 2
Deaths 4
Injuries 22
List of UK rail accidents by year

On 21 July 1991, two commuter trains crashed just outside Newton station in the south-eastern outskirts of Glasgow, Scotland.

At 21.55, a Class 303 left the "down" platform at Newton on a Newton-Glasgow Cathcart Circle service. Meanwhile, a Class 314 forming a Balloch-Motherwell Argyle Line service was crossing from the fast West Coast Main Line tracks through a single-lead junction to enter the "up" platform. The two trains collided head on at the junction, killing both drivers and two passengers and injuring 22. The leading coach of the Class 314 was completely destroyed, later replaced by a redundant Class 507 driving motor vehicle.


The accident was attributed to the Cathcart Circle train passing a signal at danger and causing a collision at the single-lead junction, as at Bellgrove in Glasgow just over a year earlier. The arrangement was newly installed and designed to be simpler than the double-lead junction that it replaced, allowing faster running on the WCML following the East Coast electrification, but was inherently less safe. The configuration was unnecessarily constrained and was strongly criticised in the accident report and by contemporary commentators (Hall 1999).


Following the accident the junction was closed, with a special timetable in place for several months whilst the layout was revised to provide double track from the platforms towards Kirkhill. Diversions included West Coast Main Line trains being diverted via the Rutherglen and Coatbridge Railway and Whifflet with electric trains hauled by diesel locomotives to Mossend Yard, East Coast Main Line trains terminating at Edinburgh Waverley, and Lanark and Motherwell trains being diverted along the North Clyde Line via the Whifflet link line immediately west of Coatbridge Sunnyside.

See also


Coordinates: 55°49′9″N 4°8′16″W / 55.81917°N 4.13778°W / 55.81917; -4.13778

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