On the morning of Tuesday 18 January 1977, train No.108, an electric locomotive-hauled 8-car train
departed the upper Blue Mountains township of Mt. Victoria at 6.09am. The train comprised 1957
vintage Co+Co "46" class electric locomotive 4620 and 8 timber bodied/steel underframed
cars, worked by a senior driver and observer from Eveleigh Depot in Sydney. The cars had been
completely rebuilt into open saloon style cars only months before from surplus sitting and sleeping
stock to provide greater comfort for interurban passengers on Blue Mountains and Gosford services.
Train No.108 proceeded normally to Parramatta, 23km west of Sydney, its second last scheduled stop
before reaching Sydney Terminal. One minute after departing Parramatta, the train approached the
suburban station of Granville on the Up Main Line, 2km toward Sydney at 8.12am. The driver was
reducing speed from the authorised 80kph to negotiate a sweeping left hand curve and also to be
prepared for a temporary speed restriction beyond Granville Station, when the leading right-hand
wheel of locomotive 4620 derailed. Although the driver immediately applied the train brake in an
emergency application, the locomotive travelled in a derailed state until reaching a set of facing
points. This caused 4620 to derail completely and topple onto its right-hand side. Some 100 metres
before Granville Station, the Bold Street Bridge spanned four tracks, with the centre of this
structure being supported by steel piers located between two sets of tracks. In its derailed state,
4620 demolished these piers and slid to a stop some 50 metres beyond the bridge. The leading car of
the train, MFH2701 had its roof torn off by a damaged overhead catenary stanchion but remained
upright, car 2, MFA2702 remained upright and undamaged while cars 3 and 4, MBA2700 and MFH2703 also
remained upright but came to rest with half of each car positioned under the bridge.
After some ten seconds, the 200 tonne concrete deck of the bridge collapsed onto these two cars,
crushing them. . Altogether, 83 passengers were killed and a similar number injured. Several were
killed in car one but the majority succumbed to injuries sustained in cars 3 and 4 after the deck
collapsed. The driver was pinned in his seat for some time and released by passengers off the
train. The second person escaped injury, although both suffered. It took almost 48 hours before
emergency personnel released the last person from the wreckage. Tragically, this man later died.
A Royal Commission later exonerated the driver from blame, as evidenced by the Hasler Tape
recording instrument in the locomotive which showed the speed of the train to be below the
mandatory speed for that section of track. For some time after the accident, the driver and his
wife were subjected to abusive phone calls blaming him for the disaster.
The inquiry placed the blame for the accident on the condition of timber sleepers and rail ties in
the vicinity which allowed too much lateral movement of the rail. Also to blame was the condition
of the flange on the wheel of 4620 which first derailed.
Locomotive 4620 was immediately withdrawn from service and stored at Chullora Locomotive Workshops
in western Sydney. It was scrapped in 1979. This locomotive had previously been involved in a
spectacular runaway accident in August 1965. On that occasion, it was hauling a Lithgow to Enfield
(Sydney) goods train comprising 45 vehicles when the brakes on the train failed soon after leaving
Katoomba Station in the Blue Mountains. As the train left Katoomba, it commenced a 1 in 33 descent
toward Leura and Wentworth Falls and travelled uncontrolled for some 10km attaining a speed of
160kph before derailing.