20th Anniversary of the Great Heck Rail Crash

At 6.12am on Wednesday 28th February 2001, a Land Rover pulling a trailer on the westbound M62 motorway in North Yorkshire left the carriageway and ended up fouling the main southbound line. Almost immediately afterwards, the 04.45 GNER passenger train from Newcastle to London King’s Cross struck the Land Rover partially derailing the driving cab. Some fifteen seconds later, the passenger train struck an oncoming freight train carrying coal. The two trains were derailed killing the coal train driver and the passenger train driver, together with eight other people on the passenger train. Eighty-six people were injured, some severely.

Tony Thompson, retired BTP Superintendent and BTPHG Ambassador, attended at Great Heck and is coordinating arrangements for a live-streamed memorial service at Selby Abbey this year and gives the below briefing note. There are two events taking place, both live-streamed at 1000 and 1400.


What is taking place on 28th February 2021?

The 20th anniversary of the Great Heck rail crash will be remembered with commemorative events taking place at Newcastle upon Tyne Central Railway Station, the Great Heck Memorial Garden, and in Selby Abbey.

National coronavirus regulations and lockdown restrictions in England severely limit what is legally permissible, so these acts of remembrance will be live-streamed. Details on how to watch them online are given below:

10.00 am Memorial Event 1: Newcastle and Great Heck
Train operator LNER, together with Network Rail and Freightliner, is hosting an online memorial which will be live-streamed from Newcastle Central Railway Station and the memorial garden at the crash site at Great Heck. Wreaths will be laid and there will be readings, which will pause as an LNER passenger train passes Great Heck and sounds its horn as a tribute. If you would like to watch this online memorial you will need to register.

2.00 pm Memorial Event 2: Memorial Service at Selby Abbey, North Yorkshire
There will be an online memorial service live-streamed from Selby Abbey, led by Canon John Weetman, Vicar of Selby Abbey, and the Reverend Peter Hibbs. A commemorative candle will be lit for each of the ten men who lost their lives.



Tony Thompson advises that the Great Heck 20th anniversary memorial service on Sunday went well.

If you missed it here is a link  https://youtu.be/YTdyEfeJYYcV


In addition Tony has provided a PDF copy of the commendation ceremony booklet from 2003 which provides further information: