Roses to mark Granville disaster 30th anniversary

Parramatta diocesan priest Fr Les Campion will tomorrow bless 83 roses - one for each person killed in Sydney's Granville rail disaster 30 years ago - to be thrown in a ceremony from the local railway bridge onto the tracks.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Fr Campion, who recently celebrated his 80th birthday, was the first priest on the scene on the day of the disaster and has attended the annual memorial service ever since.

On 18 January 1977 an early morning, peak hour Blue Mountains commuter train from Mt Victoria, travelling into Sydney, crashed after derailing on an approach curve to Granville Station, demolishing the Bold Street bridge.

Eight people died in the front carriage but carriages three and four were the worst hit with the 570 tonne weight of the bridge collapsing onto them, squashing them almost flat and trapping the passengers. 44 of carriage two's 77 passengers died, along with 31 of carriage three's complement of 64.

Rescuers were forced to work with frantic care. Any slip could be fatal. There was a risk of explosion from ruptured gas bottles, according to a report by Emergency Management Australia.

There were 83 deaths and 213 injuries, 83 were serious. Rescuers performed extraordinary feats of bravery to stay with some of the injured in some areas of the wrecked carriages considered too dangerous.

The last body was not removed until 31 hours after the accident.

A church service will be held at 11am Thursday at St Mark's Anglican Church, Granville, followed by a march to the Granville memorial in Bold Street, near the bridge, where wreaths will be laid.

Tracks of our tears (Sydney Morning Herald, 17/1/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Granville Train Crash/Bridge Collapse (Emergency Management Australia)
Granville train disaster (Granville Historical Society)
Granville railway disaster (Wikipedia)

80th birthday celebration for Fr Les Campion (Outlook, October 2006)

17 Jan 2007

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