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Irish Rail Disaster: Ballast and Goods Train Collide - 5 Killed; Many Injured |

Irish Rail Disaster: Ballast and Goods Train Collide – 5 Killed; Many Injured

A tragic railway accident unfolded at Kiltimagh this evening around five o’clock, leaving a sombre aftermath of casualties and injuries. The incident occurred when a ballast train from Tuam, passing through Claremorris at 4:20 p.m., collided unexpectedly with a special train consisting of empty wagons from Sligo.

The ballast train, equipped with two living vans—one positioned immediately behind the engine and another at the rear—suffered a catastrophic impact. The force of the collision was so immense that the foremost van, carrying a significant number of workmen, was thrust forward by the tender, resulting in the deaths of three occupants and severe injuries to nine others. Both locomotives involved in the collision were derailed and sustained substantial damage.

Thankfully, there were no reported casualties among the crew of the goods train. However, the railway infrastructure itself suffered considerable harm, impeding the progress of the five o’clock passenger service from Sligo, which was due to arrive in Kiltimagh at eight o’clock. Passengers were promptly transferred to a special train waiting at Tuam to resume their journey.

Dr Conor Maguire, a Justice of the Peace from Claremorris, swiftly responded to the scene, providing vital medical assistance to the injured. Additional medical support was provided by Dr Mulligan from Swinford and Dr Madden from Kiltimagh, who offered their expertise in aiding the casualties.

Subsequent investigations revealed the grim reality of the incident, with three individuals in the van succumbing to their injuries instantaneously. Tragically, two more individuals later succumbed to their injuries, bringing the total number of fatalities to five. One of the deceased individuals suffered particularly severe injuries, with their body being shockingly mangled.

Dr Maguire offered poignant descriptions of the victims, characterizing them as fine young men whose lives were tragically cut short by the accident. To facilitate the transportation of the injured, a special ambulance train departed from Kiltimagh to Tuam Hospital at nine o’clock.

The workmen aboard the ballast train hailed from Castleconnell and Oola in County Limerick, highlighting the widespread impact of the incident across different communities.

As investigations into the causes of the collision commence, authorities and railway officials are tasked with ensuring thorough scrutiny to prevent such tragedies from recurring in the future.

Freeman’s Journal – Wednesday 20 December 1916

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