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1989: Rail crash trauma
Ken Boddy has never fully recovered from the Purley train crash.

On 4 March 1989, the 32-year-old engineer was on his regular commute into London from Sussex when his train was hit from behind by another passenger service.

Mr Boddy was not injured in the accident - but the shock of being involved in such a major train crash has never left him.

I was in the leading train in the first carriage not to turn over.

I was not physically hurt and with a number of others was escorted down the track back to Purley. I went into a little café opposite the station entrance and ordered a coffee and sat down and could not stop myself from crying.

I am still extremely cross with myself for not helping at the scene

The chap serving asked if I had been on the train - all I could do was cry and ask why.

I don't know whether I paid for the coffee but I left and went back to the station door where I was shouted at by a gentleman from British Rail, who said: "Can't you see we've got an accident to sort out?"

I think we were all shocked. A coach arrived to pick us up. Within 100 yards it had to stop as a car had just been dumped across the road. There were lots of policeman who seemed unmotivated to do anything about the car.

It was eventually moved and we were taken to Gatwick. Somewhere I gave my name and address over. I and three others got a taxi to Three Bridges (I had parked there) where we said our goodbyes.

It affected me then and it still does. I am still extremely cross with myself for not helping at the scene. I could not, I just could not. I fear blood. But I do not think that is a good enough reason for not helping.

I walked away from people who needed help. I cannot forgive myself.

I have to travel on trains - I'm working in central London now and I travel the same route all the time. I go past that area every day.

I don't think about it every time but anniversaries are particularly hard. I still have problems with train accidents.

I just can't believe they are still happening - they should not happen in this day and age.

I freeze when I hear news of train accidents anywhere.

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Wreckage of the crash
Two passenger trains were involved in the accident at Purley, Surrey


Ken Boddy
Ken Boddy is still scarred by the memory of the crash
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