Chapel rail crash victims remembered on 60th anniversary

Marking the 60th anniversary of the Chapel rail disaster, many people turned out to attend the ceremony
Marking the 60th anniversary of the Chapel rail disaster, many people turned out to attend the ceremony

Sixty years to the day after the Chapel-en-le-Frith rail crash, residents gathered to remember the lives lost and the heroism which saved many more.

The Friends of Chapel Station led a commemoration service on Thursday, February 9, where floral tributes will be attached to the plaque at the station.

Marking the 60th anniversary of the Chapel rail disaster, John Brook (centre) of the Friends of Chapel Station and Rev Derrick Leach (left) led the ceremony

Marking the 60th anniversary of the Chapel rail disaster, John Brook (centre) of the Friends of Chapel Station and Rev Derrick Leach (left) led the ceremony

The ceremony was timed to the exact moment in 1957 when a runaway freight train thundered into the station and collided with a slow-moving goods train, killing two men.

Friends chairman John Brook led the tributes to train driver John Axon, a father-of-two from Stockport, who stayed at the boilerplate to try and halt the train despite suffering horrific burns when the engine exploded.

Mr Brook said: “The fact that John Axon was posthumously awarded the George Cross gives some indication of the event’s significance, and his couragous efforts.

“His actions were in the highest traditions of the railway service. Many other staff may have done something similar, but it is only right that we honour him.”

Marking the 60th anniversary of the Chapel rail disaster, Richard Bagot and Glenys Brooks of the Friends of Chapel Station place the wreath

Marking the 60th anniversary of the Chapel rail disaster, Richard Bagot and Glenys Brooks of the Friends of Chapel Station place the wreath

Tributes were also paid to John Creamer, the guard of the other train, who was killed in the incident.

Among those at the service was a man who, aged ten, was one of the first people on the scene, and who now travels up from Birmingham most years to mark the occasion.

Members of the parish council were also in attendance, along with representatives from the Friends of Whaley Bridge Station and other rail enthusiasts.

The Reverend Derrick Leach led them in prayers, marking one of his last formal duties as the parish council’s chaplain before he retires.

To learn more about the crash, visit http://bit.ly/2kaRNvG.