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Memorial to honour hero signalman

17 December 09 09:49 GMT

A signalman whose quick thinking prevented a train crash 25 years ago is being honoured with a plaque.

Bill Taylor was on duty at the Carlisle signalling centre on 1 May 1984 when a freight train broke in two.

The out-of-control rear section headed towards the station, where passengers were boarding an early London train.

He quickly diverted it onto a bridge, where it crashed but caused no other damage. A plaque in his honour is being unveiled at Carlisle station later.

The ceremony is being carried out by his friend and rail historian, Peter Robinson.

Driver unaware

Mr Taylor, who has since died, was hailed as a hero at the time.

He had seen from an illuminated electronic display that the train had broken into two sections, both of which were rolling downhill from towards Carlisle.

With the driver unaware of what had happened, and only moments to act, he allowed the locomotive and front part - which was under the control of the driver - to pass over the points.

He than switched the points to divert the runaway carriages onto a freight-only line bypassing the station.

Following an investigation, safety procedures were put in place to avoid a similar situation.

The plaque in the station's Victorian waiting room is alongside an illustrated display of Cumbrian railway history.

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