A commemorative statue to mark 125 years since the Armagh railway disaster was unveiled today in the city.
The rail disaster was the worst in Europe at that time, resulting in the deaths of 89 people and leaving 260 injured, a third of them children. To this day, it is the fourth worst railway accident ever in the United Kingdom.
The tragedy happened on 12 June 1889 near Armagh, when a crowded Sunday school excursion train stalled while climbing a streep hill. The train crew divided the train and took the first half forward while leaving the second behind. However the rear part of the train did not have proper brakes and ran back down the hill, crashing into a following service train.
Transport Minister Danny Kennedy unveiled the monument to the dead in Armagh today on the Mall. The sculpture is in the form of a young girl, potentially in the likeness of one of the Sunday School children on board the train.
“The great tragedy of the Armagh railway disaster led directly to various safety measures becoming legal requirements for railways in the United Kingdom, and encouraged a move towards direct state intervention in such matters,” he said.