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Moorgate: Anatomy of a Railway Disaster Hardcover – 24 Mar 1988

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 24 Mar 1988
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: David & Charles; 1st edition (24 Mar. 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0715389130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0715389133
  • Package Dimensions: 21.2 x 14.2 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 953,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

When a quiet, experienced conscientious motorman on the London Underground railway system drove his crowded commuter train into a dead-end tunnel at 40mph on February 28, 1975, rescue workers were faced with a situation which was described succinctly by a senior police officer: 'Never, in our wildest imagination, had we imagined anything like this'. But police, fire and ambulance workers were all professionals, their training, experience and preparation, coupled with their flexibility and amazing inter-service co-operation adapted to the series of crises which faced them during the five full days of the inferno which ensued between their call to Moorgate and the final 'stop' message. The experts from the emergency services continued to discuss Moorgate, using its lessons to improve procedures in accidents as far apart as London, Tokyo, and Mexico City. New equipment, even some of the planning for safety in the (at the time) proposed Channel Tunnel, all emerged as a result of Moorgate. In this study of the disaster, the author talked to emergency workers, firemen, police and ambulance staff, as well as doctors, scientists and railway engineers in an attempt to piece together a full picture of the amazing co-operation between 'the professions' who worked underground during the five gruesome days of the rescue work.

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Top Customer Reviews

I had chased this book for a while, and paid a fair price for it. It was money well spent.

The title "Anatomy of a Railway Disaster" just about sums it up. It is the story as seen from various members of the emergency services and is a compulsive read. Holloway has recounted the sequence of events from each perspective superbly, and the skill of the writing lets you picture exactly what happened over the five days following the accident. There is no gratuitous description of death and destruction, just a vivid picture painted of the stresses, highs and lows experienced by those involved in rescue and recovery. The one part that sticks in my mind is the account of the moment it was decided to do a final call to try and get a response from any survivors. Having been on Platform 10 on more than one occasion myself over the past few years, I could see in my mind the group of policemen, firemen and medics standing in complete silence in the soot-blackened station as the call was made; could sense the tension as they waited for an answer; and the despair when no calls came back and the doctors in charge recorded that moment as the date and time of death of those still in the carriages.

As I said earlier, this book cost money and you still won't find it cheap, but if the subject interests you you will not have wasted a penny.
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The Moorgate train crash was horrific, with rescuers working under unimaginably awful conditions to free the injured and to recover the dead. Sally Moorcroft's book deals with the events surrounding the crash in a matter-of-fact style, describing the piecing together of the evidence in a beautifully clear fashion. I remember the crash and at the time was travelling past the station regularly during the rescue operation and remember only too well seeing the strained, exhausted rescue teams. This book is well worth reading.
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As a fireman who attended this incident, I can say that this is a very good account of the whole incident starting from the time the driver clocked on for work that morning to the last day when they finally removed his body five days later. This has to have been one of the most difficult and harrowing incidents that the London Fire Brigade has ever dealt with. The devastation in the end of that tunnel can only be imagined, but this book goes some way to describe the terrible working conditions we faced in those crushed carriages working around trapped dead passengers in the hot and very smelly atmosphere at the end of platform 9.
This is a must read for anyone wanting to know how the Fire service tackled this awful disaster.
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Not bedtime reading, this is an in depth and staggeringly human work.

Well informed, well balanced and informative without being ghoulish or sensational.

Highly recommended.
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