Rail Crash Stechford

The Stechford rail crash occurred on 28 February 1967

A Class 24 diesel locomotive had arrived at Stechford sidings with a ballast train. This was due to return to Nuneaton and so the locomotive needed to be run round the train. There were too many wagons for the runaround loop to be used, so the Head Shunter decided to run the locomotive around via the main line. This was a movement that was only to be made in an emergency, and even then only with permission from the signalman at Birmingham New Street signal box.

The Head Shunter did not seek such permission and when his hand signal for the guard was misunderstood by the second man, the locomotive moved on to the main line just as a Manchester-Coventry four-carriage Class 304 electric unit no.026 was approaching. It collided with the locomotive at about 60 mph, killing the driver and eight passengers. In addition, 16 people were injured.

Mr John Graham Costigan, of Yewdale Crescent, Potters Green, who said he was travelling with his 22-year-old wife, Sylvia, on the electric train from New Street, Birmingham to Coventry when the train was involved in a collision.
His wife was dead on arrival at East Birmingham Hospital.
The nine victims of the crash were: The driver of the electric train, Mr Walter Duncan Burt, aged 62, of Wilson Road, Stoke on Trent; Sylvia Ann Costigan, aged 22, of Yewdale Crescent, Coventry; Mr Carl Adrian Perry, aged 17, a student, of Prince of Wales Road, Coventry; Mr Gerald Richard Oliver Gilbert, aged 56, stockbroker of Belvedere Road, Coventry; Mr Rajindir Singh, aged 15, student, of Bryn Road, Coventry; Mr Mohinder Singh, aged 17, shop assistant, of Foleshill Road, Coventry; Mrs Joan Lilian Smith, aged 23, of Ash Road, Stockingford, Nuneaton; Mr Michael Hubert Asquith Batten, aged 22, architectural student, of South Avenue, Stoke Park, Coventry; and Mrs Ethel Elisabeth Gleave, aged 49, housewife, of Allesley Old Road, Coventry.
The condition of Mr Alfred Hollins, of Bath Street, Rugby, one of three people still detained at East Birmingham Hospital after the crash, was said yesterday to have improved.
The conditions of the other two, Miss Lilian Le Rose, of Chapel Lane, Hadfield, Glossop, Derbyshire, and Mrs Hilda Mayhew, of Pearson Avenue, Bell Green, Coventry, remained satisfactory.

In 1967 my dad attended this rail crash at Stechford railway station in the area of Stechford in Birmingham, England. I think he must have been on the Recovery vehicle. He was very upset and disturbed by this accident and the doctors sent him to Hatton hospital where underwent electric shock treatment. This treatment was commonly used for psychiatric treatment in spite of the introduction of neuroleptics, antidepressants and benzodiazipines into British psychiatric practice in the late 1950s and early 1960s. My dad was never the same man after this treatment.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), formerly known as electroshock therapy, is a psychiatric treatment in which seizures in the brain (without muscular convulsions) are electrically induced in patients to provide relief from mental disorders. Typically, 70 to 120 volts are applied externally to the patient’s head resulting in approximately 800 milliamperes of direct current passed through the brain, for 100 milliseconds to 6 seconds duration, either from temple to temple (bilateral ECT) or from front to back of one side of the head (unilateral ECT).

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