Railway disasters are almost always the result of human fallibility – a single mistake by an engine-driver, guard or signalman, or some lack of communication between them – and it is in the short distance between the trivial error and its terrible consequence that the drama of the railway accident lies. First published in 1955, and the result of Rolt’s careful investigation and study of the verbatim reports and findings by H. M. Inspectorate of Railways, this book was the first work to record the history of railway disasters, and it remains the classic account. It covers every major accident on British railways between 1840 and 1957 which resulted in a change in railway working practice, and reveals the evolution of safety devices and methods which came to make the British railway carriage one of the safest modes of transport in the world.
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