Accident at Wigan, Lancashire, 1873.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate taken from the 'Illustrated London News'. On 1 August 1873, the London Euston to Scotland night Tourist Expres was derailed as it travelled through Wigan station, killing 13 and injuring 30 people. The accident at Wigan provoked intense discusion over its cause, the train was thought to have been derailed on facing points, and prompted further investigation into ways to improve railway safety, including the use of a 'locking bar', or 'switch-lock', which effectually prevents the points from being altered or opened during the pasage of a train over them, preventing the train being thrown off by the lever working the points having been activated before the train had entirely pased over them.