Railway disaster revealed by local historian and author at Manvers

Railway enthusiasts were given a history lesson about one of the area’s most notorious rail disasters when they visited the site in Wath.

Around 35 members of the Great Central Railway Society met Swinton Coun Ken Wyatt and local historian Mike Brearley for a talk about the Wath/Manvers railway disaster of 1948, as they walked the now defunct Midland line from Elsecar to Swinton.

Mike, of Swinton Hall, Swinton, wrote his first book about the disaster in 2000, before revisiting the notorious accident in his latest book – Mexborough, A Railway Journey to Anywhere.

The 73-year-old historian and author said he met up with the group at the memorial stone, which commemorates the 1948 tragedy before giving a talk about the crash, the rescue efforts, casualties and the story of the memorial itself.

He said the memorial, which was put up thanks to the efforts of Coun Wyatt and others, was commissioned not only to remember the fatalities and injured, but also the fantastic efforts of many local people who assisted in the rescue work and aftermath.

After his talk he said he had sold 19 copies of his book and added: “This disaster is part of local and railway history. I wrote the story of the accident as I was taken there by my father as a child and in the noughties I see the landscape changing, as heavy industry is being replaced by light industry.”

He further added: “People are still interested by and fascinated by the 1948 accident. About four years ago I met Alan Wilshere, the son of the train driver, Bertie Wilshere, who was killed in the accident and a few months ago I met the youngest person to be injured in the crash, Pamela Hancock, who was only three-years-old at the time.”

Anyone who is interested in buying either the book about the Wath/Manvers disaster at £4.50 or Mexborough, A Railway Journey to Anywhere at £14.99, call Mike on 01709 586943.