Moorgate: "If there's a hell, I've lived to see it."

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Abstract

On Friday 28 February 1975, the world-famous London Underground suffered an horrendous disaster when a Tube train failed to stop at the end of the line and smashed into a dead-end tunnel at Moorgate. Forty-three people died as a result of the incident and a further 72 passengers received injuries requiring hospital treatment.

Over the next six days, a huge multi-agency rescue and recovery operation took place in extremely demanding circumstances. Confined spaces, decaying bodies, a lack of ventilation, dangerous working conditions, high temperatures and foul air all contributed to an operating environment which led one doctor working at the scene to comment: “If there’s a hell, I’ve lived to see it.”

It is now over 45 years since the disaster and many theories for the cause of the crash have been suggested. It is highly likely that with the passage of time, the definitive answer will never be known and it will simply remain one of life’s mysteries. However,
the disaster remains a classic case study of major incident response and here the author reflects on several weeks of fascinating research – including trawling the archives and speaking directly to several people who responded to the scene – to present an overview of the incident, some of the suggested causes and the important lessons to be learned.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-53
Number of pages12
JournalAlert
Issue numberSummer 2020
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Disasters
  • Moorgate
  • London Underground
  • Railways

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