ASLEF remembers the Selby rail crash

28 February 2021

Today we remember those who died, and were injured, in the Selby train crash on 28th February 2001.


This marks the 20th anniversary of the crash, which remains the UK's worst rail disaster of the twenty-first century.


Ten people lost their lives, including train drivers Stephen Dunn (known as George) and John Weddle, as well as GNER train staff Ray Robson and Paul Taylor, and Barry Needham who was working on the Freightliner train.


Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, marked the anniversary, saying: 'Our thoughts are with all those who died, and were injured, at Selby twenty years ago.'



Memorial events


Memorial events are being held today online, including a service at the crash site and a later memorial service at Selby Abbey, during which a candle will be lit for each of those who lost their lives.


There is also an online condolences book which anyone can sign - click here.


Click here to watch the memorial service from the site at 10am on Sunday 28th February.



The incident


Shortly after 6am on 28 February 2001 a GNER InterCity 225 passenger train, driven by John Weddle, and travelling from Newcastle to London on the east coast main line, was involved in a high-speed accident at Great Heck near Selby in North Yorkshire.


Ten people died and 82 others were seriously injured. It is the worst UK rail disaster this century.


A Land Rover Defender driven by Gary Hart, towing a trailer loaded with a Renault estate, left the westbound carriageway of the M62 and tumbled 30 yards down an embankment onto the southbound railway line.


Hart fled the scene of the accident, leaving his vehicle on the track, where it was hit by John’s train which, in turn, was deflected into the path on an oncoming freight train, hauled by a Class 66 loco, carrying coal from Immingham to Ferrybridge.


Accident investigators estimated the speed of the InterCity 225 as 88mph, and that of the Freightliner train as 54 mph, with a closing speed of 142 mph.


Both enginemen – freight driver Stephen Dunn, known as George, and John Weddle – were killed, as was Ray Robson, the GNER guard, and Paul Taylor, a member of the passenger train crew, and Barry Needham, who worked for Freightliner.


Hart was found guilty of ten counts of causing death by dangerous driving and jailed for five years.


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