On this day in 1945, a goods train smashed into the back of a stationary train near Pontefract.
The train was travelling at 45mph when the collision occurred at about 11pm on the Swinton and Knottingley line at Brackenhill. The stationary train had about 40 laden wagons, while the other had about 53, again laden. Both locomotives were damaged and carriages rolled down either side of the banking. An express train, which was some way behind the goods train but travelling in the same direction, was alerted in time to stop before it reached the crash site. The only casualties, according to the report which ran in the Yorkshire Evening Post the following day, were four men, two abord the moving train, including the driver, John A Bollands, 53, from Carrington Avenue, York, Thomas Stead, 38, of Fifth Avenue, York, who worked as a fireman and two others, Albert Sayles, a driver on the stationary train, of Wath Road, Mexborough and a fireman from that train, Stephen Hill, who sustained minor injuries. According to reports, both men on the stationary train saw that the impact was innevitable and both managed to scramble off the train just moments before the impact, hurling themselves down the embankment - their injuries were sustained by falling debris, which showered down upon them after the collision.
One of the worst injured, Mr Stead, had to be carried about a mile over rough ground, including across a farm, in order to reach the nearest main road. The train was carrying munitions, which ended up being scattered over a wide area and had to be painstakingly collected and soldiers were drafter in to do this.
Following the collision, sleepers on the train also caught fire.