World Notes BRITAIN

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Monday morning, 8:13. The daily commuter train out of the prosperous town of Basingstoke, 46 miles southwest of London, was idling a quarter-mile from Clapham Junction, Europe's busiest railway intersection, while driver Alex McClymont used a trackside phone to report a faulty signal. Tragically, it was too late for that. McClymont watched in helpless horror as a packed express train from the Channel coast rounded the curve at 50 m.p.h. and slashed into the rear of the stopped train. Seconds later an empty passenger train on an adjacent track slammed into the wreckage.

It was the worst British train disaster in more than 20 years, killing 33 and injuring more than 110 of the 1,000 passengers aboard. Rescue workers labored for nearly five hours to free victims crushed by the wreckage. A senior British Rail official blamed a faulty connection between a 50-year-old signal box and modern equipment being installed to replace it.