Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Sunshine train disaster
On the night of April 20, 1908, 44 people were killed and over 400 injured when a Melbourne-bound train from Bendigo collided with the rear of a mail train from Ballarat, which was just leaving the station. Around 1,100 people were aboard the two trains. Almost all of the casualties were from the Ballarat train, as the Bendigo train was cushioned by its two AA class locomotives. A temporary mortuary was set up at Spencer Street Station (Melbourne's regional terminus), and flags at the station flew at half-mast. The disaster was the worst train crash in Victorian railway history.
It is possible that the accident was caused by the driver of the Bendigo train reading the green signals for the Ballarat train in front as his own.
The accident illustrates the value of block telegraph working that would have held the Bendigo train at the previous station.
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