John McCullagh October 12, 2006
raildisaster2.jpg

It was one of our worse ever train disasters, and all the more keenly felt because the victims were schoolchildren on a special outing.

The 12th June 1889 was a special day for a large group of Methodist children from Armagh. They had been promised their annual outing to the seaside at Warrenpoint – and for good measure, they were to enjoy a wonderful train journey there and back.

Trains however find steep hills notoriously difficult to negotiate. On the outward journey this special train stalled on the steep slope just beyond Hamiltonsbawn. Much worse was to follow!

The seven rearmost carriages somehow became detached from the rest and careered out of control down the steep incline. As great ill-fortune would have it, a second passenger train was following close behind.

Our picture shows the resulting carnage, with the engine of that following train overturned and lying on its side.

As well as numerous serious injuries, eighty-fours deaths resulted that fateful day, most of them of small children.  The Armagh-Newry railway link itself did not long survive!

Leave a comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.