Granville train disaster relatives to get what they’ve waited 40 years for

Can you believe we’re about to mark the 40th anniversary of the Granville train disaster? Many of us here in
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The horrific scene of the Granville rail disaster. Source: Ten News/YouTube

Can you believe we’re about to mark the 40th anniversary of the Granville train disaster?

Many of us here in Australia, and particularly those in New South Wales, will remember where they were when they heard about Granville.

83 people died and 213 people were injured when a train derailed and a bridge collapsed onto the carriages near the Granville station on January 18, 1977.

And now, 40 years later, the relatives of those who died are about to get a long-awaited apology from the New South Wales Government.

The ABC reports that the New South Wales Government will apologise to the families of the victims who died in the tragedy.

Transport Minister Andrew Constance told the ABC everyone was “deeply sorry for what has occurred”.

“Over the years, people have had to cope with what was one of the most horrific tragedies in the nation’s history,” he said.

“I think it’s important that, with a commemoration such as the 40th anniversary coming up, that the Parliament also recognise the life-long effect, the unimaginable grief that people have been left with as a result of Australia’s worst train accident.

“It’s a tragedy which no-one would ever get over and it’s hard for a lot of us to imagine the grief that people experience life-long because of the very nature of that happened.”

You might be wondering why the NSW Government is apologising?

Well, as you may recall, investigations and inquiries after the tragedy revealed “an alarming lack of investment” in maintaining and replacing ageing rail infrastructure by the government.

So, what about the families of those who died?

Well, several family members have spoken to the ABC about the apology and many say it’s about time.

“I feel elated, finally it’s a recognition of what we went through,” said Meredith Knight, whose father died at Granville.

“Hopefully, when that apology is given in Parliament, it is sincere and genuine with a real compassion.

“It might be 40 years, but a lot of people are still suffering.”

The NSW Government did pay for the funerals of many victims, including Wendy Miles two young daughters, her father and her step-mother.

“I heaved a sigh of relief and thought: ‘Thank goodness, at last’,” she told the ABC.

“It’s taken 40 years — 40 years is a long time for someone to say what they need to say.”

Hopefully the families will be able to get some more closure after all this time.

Do you remember this tragedy? Where were you when you heard about it?

 

  1. Marie  

    I certainly do, for many reasons’.

    I was at work at the time it happened, & it really shocked me, as we’ll as my work colleagues’.
    There was a woman from my work on that train.
    She was off work for months’, having been injured, & severely traumatised.

    Sad, sad event.

  2. Joy Anne Bourke  

    Yes I remember this day very clearly. Also planning a wedding. This shocked me and everyone in NSW. Never thought something like this would or could happen. I was on my way to work. The apology should have been 40 years ago, a bit late but yes it should happen.

    • Margaret freeburn  

      I remember this day very well. We lived at Rydalmere at the time, off Silverwater Rd…and could see the cranes at the bridge from our lounge window..
      . It was very sad

  3. lurch  

    plus the way the bridge was constructed, two short spans with a post in the middle just like a house of cards, one little and they all fall down.

  4. Josephine B  

    My hubby and I moved to Sydney just after this incident, but we remember all the coverage on the media. We now live not that far from where it happened, but have never actually gone to the bridge as I feel I’d visualize everything that was there on that day. My wish would be that the government place two plaques on the bridge, one with the names of the deceased and one with the names of the injured to show those families involved and ALL of us that the government is “truly sorry” for not doing their job of the upkeep of the lines and for that matter the trains back then. I pray that the families can now start to move on, but the pain of their loss will never cease for something that should never have happen. God bless all those families and all the people that had a hand in helping on that fateful day.

  5. I was driving past the station as it happened. I was on my way to Melbourne. I was an interstate truck driver and I was heading out parramatta road to Woodville road . The traffic was horrific. Every bit of roadway anywhere near there was just choked with traffic. When I finally turned left onto Woodville road, I saw a fellow running towards down the middle of the lanes, screaming and waving his arms indicating he wanted room for a vehicle of some sort. I looked up past him and there was a second man running with a very big crane following him. I realised then that something bad had happened somewhere. I then switched my CB radio on and heard that there had been a teffible train smash at Granville station.
    I will always remember where I was that morning.

  6. Nelly jane  

    I was a passenger on this train . I was almost 19 pregnant with my 1st child . This accident changed my life forever.
    I learnt that my God had put me here for a reason and this accident made me start looking for it . It Still haunts me that the liberal governments neglected maintenance of many years , was smoothed over and Eric Willis, a liberal politician commented on the day ” it didn’t happen on our watch ” ! His comment still Gauls me , he cemented my feet in the labor and green mindset for ever . The attitude of smug entitlement and indifference to fellows is one that permeates the liberal party. That it’s taken 40 years to apologise to myself and my fellows leaves me with little solace . And it was under a labor government that changes for the better were put in place . But still both Parties have been slow to act and careful for litigious reasons . I remember the media and government trying to pin the train driver for this . He was admonished , but it changed his life for the worse .

    • Sharon  

      One of the main causes of the accident was a severely worn train wheel….100’s of hours overdue for replacement! Noted and ignored by the Wran Labor Government! They’re ALL bad…..and most pollies are only in Parliament for themselves! My husband was injured on that train….and 2 of my work mates died.
      This accident has affected us forever, and was hardly any endorsement for ANY political ideology.

  7. Nelly jane  

    I was a passenger on this train . I was almost 19 pregnant with my 1st child . This accident changed my life forever.
    I learnt that my God had put me here for a reason and this accident made me start looking for it . It Still haunts me that the liberal governments neglected maintenance of many years , was smoothed over and Eric Willis, a liberal politician commented on the day ” it didn’t happen on our watch ” ! His comment still Gauls me , he cemented my feet in the labor and green mindset for ever . The attitude of smug entitlement and indifference to fellows is one that permeates the liberal party. That it’s taken 40 years to apologise to myself and my fellows leaves me with little solace . And it was under a labor government that changes for the better were put in place . But still both Parties have been slow to act and careful for litigious reasons . I remember the media and government trying to pin the train driver for this . He was admonished , but it changed his life for the worse .

  8. Donna Brooks  

    Yes I remember that well, I lived at Rosehill. My Stepfathaer was in the Newsagent nearby at that time.

  9. Maureen  

    I was a medical resident at Concord Hospital at the time.I was at work when I heard about it. We were waiting with a full surgical team ready to receive casualties. We received only one critically inured patient.( Concord is fairly close to Granville, there were not many hospitals within close proximity to the site – Westmead Hospital had not yet opened). We surmised That this was because Concord was a Commonwealth (Veterans’ ) Hospital at the time, and the State Government would have had to pay the Commonwealth Government for the cost of patient care. We wondered if we could have made a difference to the outcome of some of the injured victims. Also, a friend;s relative died in the crash.
    I’ll never forget that day or the date of the anniversary,

  10. Glenda  

    I’d just got off my train and was watching at the rail gates as the doomed train came lurching down the tracks; in fact, I heard it before I saw it come around the bend such was the racket it made.

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