I AM grateful to Terry Broughton for locating the evidence to confirm the train crash (one of several it appears) at Shaw Street station.

There does not appear to be a report in the local paper but it was featured in the Aberdeen Press and Journal on October 1, 1938, with the headlines ‘Train wrecks station’, ‘Engine crashes onto platform’ and ‘Like result of air raid’. 

Our previous report was that a goods train was running out of control from Thatto Heath and heading for Shaw Street and the signalman diverted it to platform one. 

The Press and Journal reported: “A passenger train from St Helens to Wigan was only saved from disaster by the presence of mind of a signalman at St Helens.

“He turned the runaway goods train off the line on which the passenger train was standing and switched it into the buffers of the Liverpool bay. 
“The goods engine hit the buffers, jumped the platform and buried itself in the station building, wrecking the parcels office and missing a bookstall by inches.

“The first wagon went straight up into the air and through the station roof.

“Though the station was partly wrecked, the driver and stoker escaped injury.”

Full illustrations of the coverage will be reproduced in the December issue of the monthly St Helens Heritage Network email newsletter, which I edit. 

Regarding the bookstall, Terry said: “Wymans bookstalls on stations came in around 1920, mainly on the western region but also others, and were bought out by Menzies in the 1950s. 

“This again leads to me thinking the picture was taken in the 1930s.
“As for the location, can someone say for definite that Shaw Street had a Wymans bookstall in the 1930s? 

“Let’s not forget that the photographer’s studio was only a stone’s throw away from Shaw Street so it is probable that when they heard of the accident they went to photograph it as it was on their doorstep.”

Victoria Brokenshire, project archivist at St Helens Local History and Archives, said: “This is the same date/information that was found by Tom Preston about the crash.

“Thanks again, and great to see so much interaction from your readers.”

Brenda Winstanley’s (nee Fairclough) tale must refer to a different incident over the years.

She said: “I remember the train crash at Shaw Street station because a gang of Sutton boys and girls used the 9.30pm train from the station to St Helens junction every Saturday night after we had been to the Savoy. 
“We were a gang of five boys and five girls, all ex-Robins Lane School, and we all went to St Nicholas Sunday School.

“We left school in 1945 at the age of 14.

“After the crash we had to walk home and it was a rush as most of us girls had to be home before 10pm.

“So the crash must have been between 1945 and 1947 when the gang split up and went their own ways.  

“The girls always stayed friends and out of the five of us I am the only one still alive.”