§ Lieut.-Colonel Wickham
(by Private Notice) asked the Minister of Transport whether he is now in a position to make a statement regarding the accident to the 9.50 p.m. Paddington-Penzance express which occurred near Taunton in the early hours of 4th November?
§ Lieut.-Colonel Moore-Brabazon
I am informed that this unfortunate accident occurred at 3.52 a.m. on 4th November at Norton Fitzwarren, just beyond Taunton. The night was dark and it was raining heavily at the tune. The 9.50 p.m. express passenger train from London to Penzance travelling on the down relief line, was de-railed at the catch points protecting the down main line at this junction. I deeply regret to say that, so far as can he ascertained at present, some 24 persons are known to have been killed and 59 injured, 20 of them seriously. I am sure that the House will wish to join with me in expressing sincere sympathy with the relatives of those involved in this accident, and also with those who have sustained injury. I understand that there is no evidence to indicate that the accident was in any way due to defective track, sabotage or enemy action. A newspaper train travelling on the down main line at the time neither contributed to the cause nor the seriousness of the accident. I have appointed L[...]eut-Colonel Mount, Chief Inspecting Officer of Railways, to hold a full inquiry into all the circumstances.