Did a ghost cause the deadly crash of a London tube train at Moorgate in 1975? EDDIE BRAZIL looks at the case.
On the morning of 28 February 1975, a train entered Moorgate Station on the London Underground’s Northern City Line.
The station is a terminus, yet the train failed to stop at its southern end and crashed into the end wall of the tunnel.
Forty three people were killed and 74 were injured. It was the worst peacetime accident to have occurred on the London Tube.
No fault was found with the train, and the subsequent enquiry concluded that the tragedy was caused by the actions of the driver, 56-year-old Leslie Newson.
However, a post mortem on the motor-man showed no medical reason to explain the crash or the driver’s failure to stop.
The brakes of the train were not applied, and the “dead man handle” (the accelerator) was still depressed when the train crashed.
It is thought that Newson’s actions were suicide. Other theories put forward suggest that he was in someway distracted by something or someone he saw in the tunnel.
Workmen see eerie man in overalls in Moorgate tunnel
A few weeks before the accident during the winter of 1974-75, workmen carrying out repairs at the station reported that they often saw a man dressed in blue overalls walking towards them in the tunnel at night.
At first they assumed he was a fellow worker, but as he approached they were terrified to see that his face bore a look of indescribable horror.
As they looked, the figure of the man carried on along the track before vanishing in to the tunnel wall.
Later investigation revealed that another workman had also seen the apparition, and it is thought to be the ghost of a maintenance worker who was killed by a train on that stretch of the line many years before.
Following the Moorgate disaster, many newspapers learning of the ghost sighting reported that the spectre may well have been seen by the driver causing him to have a lapse in concentration which led to the crash.
Ghost could have been a premonition
On the other hand, there are those who believe that the sighting of the ghost was a premonition of the Moorgate tragedy.
Although we can be relatively certain that the track workers did indeed see something they could only explain as being a ghost, that it was a premonition of the coming disaster is arguable.
However, the subsequent enquiry in to the disaster discovered that a week before, driver Newson failed to stop at another station.
Witnesses stated that he seemed to be in a trance, sitting straight up and just looking straight ahead as if he was aware of something or someone and didn’t even notice that it was scheduled stop.