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20 April - Sunshine Victoria - Holiday Train disaster.

Australian Events for the month of April
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20 April - Sunshine Victoria - Holiday Train disaster.

Unread postby Max ADU » Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:50 pm

Australian History
Monday, April 20, 1908.

Two trains collide at the Sunshine railway station in Victoria, Australia, killing 44 people.
Sunshine is a railway station in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It serves the Sydenham suburban line and the Melton greater metropolitan line and is located in the suburb of Sunshine, about 13.5 km by rail from Flinders Street Station in the city's centre.

Deadly events unfold.

On the Easter Monday evening of 20 April 1908, the Ballarat train was scheduled to arrive at Sunshine at 22.03 hrs, but was struggling to keep time.

Upon arrival, it was unable to be fully accommodated at the platform because of the increased holiday consist.

After unloading passengers from the front section, it was about to move forward to allow passengers in the rear cars to alight when a Melbourne-bound train from Bendigo collided with the rear of a mail train from Ballarat.

Most of the casualties were from the Ballarat train, as the two locomotives hauling the Bendigo train took much of the impact, leaving the passengers unscathed.

Delay in helping the victims
Around 1,100 people were aboard the two trains; 44 were killed in the accident, and over 400 injured. All of the passengers killed were on the Ballarat train.

Despite the accident occurring at 22.50 hrs, it was not until nearly 01.00 hrs that a relief train, with doctors, nurses and an ambulance corp on board, reached the scene.


Other trains were dispatched to the scene and these began the task of taking bodies back to a temporary mortuary was set up at Spencer Street Station (Melbourne's regional terminus, now Southern Cross Station), and flags at the station flew at half-mast.

Subsequent investigations suggested that the accident may have been caused by the driver of the Bendigo train reading the green signals for the Ballarat train in front, and believing they were his own.

Compensation paid to Victims
The Victorian Railways Commissioners admitted liability and paid claims aggregating £125,000 by way of compensation. In addition, there was another £50,000 damage to rolling stock and tracks, plus the costs of the inquest and subsequent legal proceedings, which were borne by the State
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