BBC Home
Explore the BBC
Search ON THIS DAY by date
Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
About This Site | Text Only
1975: Memories of the Moorgate tube crash
Accounts and memories of the Moorgate Tube crash sent in by On This Day readers.

Walking to work in the City, I suddenly came across many people with black faces, covered in soot. They were sometimes wandering around dazed or hurrying to work as normal. I did not know there had been a Tube crash.

Just how does one react to large numbers of people, who may be injured or traumatised, wandering off after an accident? Later on the enormity of the situation came to us.

At lunch time long queues formed to give blood. One's work colleagues, senior and junior, were there standing in line.

Someone from our company had been killed,just going to work on a humdrum day. At the age of 31, I still had to learn that life is fragile. David Sumner, UK

I had walked down to the platform and was met by clouds of smoke.

The train had crashed moments before and the carriage in front of me was much shorter in height than it should have been.

Suddenly a fireman rushed past me yelling loudly for me to go back upstairs. It was almost impossible to breath.

Billowing smoke and soot engulfed me. I took the fireman's advice and quickly went upstairs passing more emergency workers as I went.

When I got to work I turned on the radio to hear the news bulletin.

As the days went by survivors and victims were pulled from the wreckage.

I was very disturbed by how the authorities treated the driver, Newson.
Norman Clarke, USA

I remember having to carry the coffins up the flights of escalators
John Creighton, England
I had been in the police force 10 months and was 19 years old.

I remember the destruction in such a small area, the heat and smell, the ladies and gents from the Salvation Army with words of comfort and the ladies from the London Transport catering department.

I also remember having to carry the coffins up the flights of escalators, with breathing masks on and the make-shift showers the fire brigade put up outside the station in the street.

In the final days we had to go through the sand pit at the end of the tunnel - looking for not only parts of the trains, but human parts.
John Creighton, England

On the afternoon of the crash I was at Cambridge Tech with a friend who was called out of class to be told that his sister had been on the train and had died.

That evening I went home and told my mum about my friend and his sister.

The following day I found out that my dad had been on the same train, but had survived as he had been in the end carriage.
Geoff Banks, UK

I still remember everything that happened on the morning of the crash. I lived in New North Road at the time, just opposite Essex Road Station, and used the Tube to go to work in the City.

On that February day I was turned away from the station at 0900 and told that the tube was not running - no explanation then. It was only when I got to work later that the news broke.

I remember feeling very lucky as it could have been me on that train. I received many calls from relatives a friends during the day to check that I was OK, which was really touching.

What was also awful was having to use the adjoining platform for travel, while repairs were taking place, knowing that such a terrible disaster had taken place and so many lives lost.

I am sad that there is no plaque at Moorgate in remembrance of those who died. I say a prayer for them every time I visit Moorgate.
Patricia Power, England

I was a motorcycle policeman called in early to work a late shift. What I remember so well was the endless offers of help. A man who had driven from near Southampton because he had specialist welding knowledge and equipment soon got a job.

The Salvation Army worked endlessly
Graham Fordham, UK
The doctors needed a large supply of salt for very hot rescuers, I went into a nearby restaurant and the owner appeared with a large sack of it. He later turned up with a sack barrow with crates of drink. A publican did likewise.

The Salvation Army worked endlessly getting refreshment down to the workers on the platforms which had become very hot due to bad air circulation and the use of cutting equipment.
Graham Fordham, UK

My friend's father was a driver on the over ground trains that terminated at Moorgate - he helped, along with many other BR and LT staff, to get the train out of the sand drag at the end of the tunnel.

He said it was awful down there - hot, fetid and full of little flies (apparently, they were always in that area, disaster or not).

He said it was a miracle that so many people made it out, given how high the temperatures were down there and how cramped it was for the rescuers.

My father was a PC working at Holloway police station and was set to man the switchboard, such was the volume of calls coming through from relatives - and some journalists.

He had to check the authenticity of the calls (there were some basic lists of casualties by then) i.e. were they from genuine relatives or journalists trying to get a story? He was very late home that evening.

My friend's husband was the first driver to bring a train into Moorgate when it reopened - a daunting moment, he admits.

He also had to give evidence at the inquiry into the disaster, along with other drivers, as he had driven the train that crashed and there was some suggestion that the train was faulty.
Janet Armstrong, UK

My dad was one of the paramedics who worked on rescuing and treating the injured in this disaster.

He told me about one lady who was trapped over the back of a seat, by the parcel shelf which was holding her down. My dad said she was so brave because she knew they were not going to be able to rescue her alive and she was just waiting quietly to die.

There were many, many heroes on that day - passengers and rescuers alike - and I am very proud to say my dad was one of them, although he always is my hero anyway.
Vanessa Wawman, England

The first we knew of the disaster was the sound of endless sirens close by, and then people arriving at work telling us that something very serious had happened at Moorgate - it seemed to be a crash on the underground.

Moorgate Tube was closed for some time and my overriding memory was seeing the blackened faces of fireman sitting outside the tube station in the cold drinking tea from local sandwich shops in complete silence.
Elaine McErlean, UK

One of our traders staggered into the trading room totally covered in soot
Bill Lilley, US ex-UK
We were all looking out of the window and saw hundreds of people staggering out of the tube. They were all black, covered in soot and dirt. They were moving around without any real purpose. It was a surreal sight.

One of our traders staggered into the trading room totally covered in soot. He still had his briefcase and the someone asked what had happened and brought him a mug of tea. By this time the wail of sirens had filled the air and all sorts of ambulances, fire engines and police were at the scene. Our first thoughts were that it had been a bomb.
Bill Lilley, US ex-UK

I was based at Lutyens House in Finsbury Circus, and on the morning of the disaster, I had arrived at work, as usual at 08:00.

So, when the news of what had happened started to arrive, we all had a bird's eye view of what was going on in Moorgate, directly opposite one of the entrances to the station.

The sight I remember the most, as we watched throughout the day was of the firemen, who had obviously spent some time doing their duty undergound, being brought up, and having to be revived, so exhausted were they.

They looked like miners coming up from a shift at the coal face.
Andrew Brown, UK

At the time I was working for London Transport at Leicester Square. I was at work at the time it happened and a message went round the office that blood was required for the wounded.

I don't think anyone realized how bad it was until later in the day and then the horror set in. Not much work got done in the afternoon.
Shirley Carter, England

I was 12 at the time and a friend an I went down to Moorgate to see what was going on as we went to school near there.

It was a couple or so days after the crash and as we walked around we saw a door open at the back of the station. Kids being kids we went down to "explore" and when we got down the emergency stairs we could see firemen cutting away the final bits of the train wreckage.

My friend and I just looked at each other and walked out... That memory still imprinted on my mind.
Rob, Dubai

 E-mail this story to a friend

Passenger after being rescued from the wreckage
Rescuing the survivors was difficult and dangerous

Carriage wreckage
Many passengers were trapped in twisted wreckage
Witness Stories

Web Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Search ON THIS DAY by date

^^ back to top
Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
©MMVIII | News Sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy