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ig­nored reg­u­la­tions that might have helped to pre­vent the tragedy.

How­ever, as Neil Oliver ex­plores in this one-off doc­u­men­tary mark­ing the cen­te­nary of the disas­ter, blaming­ing just two sig­nal­men was sim­plis­tic. To­day, there would be an en­quiry look­ing in depth at the chain of events that led up to the ac­ci­dent. Such an en­quiry would high­light the dan­gers of wooden car­riages, out of date even in 1915, which smashed apart on im­pact and then caught fire as gas from the light­ing sys­tem ig­nited. It would ques­tion the work­ing prac­tices of the Cale­do­nian Rail­way. It might have high­lighted the way the line was congested and there was pres­sure to keep ex­press ser­vices run­ning punc­tu­ally.

None of th­ese is­sues were raised with any ur­gency at the time, and Oliver sug­gests that govern­ment and rail­way of­fi­cials, and even the sig­nal­men, had good rea­sons not to look too closely at what had gone wrong. In­stead, those who paid the steep­est price were the pas­sen­gers, in­clud­ing chil­dren and men of the Royal Scots who had been head­ing to Gal­lipoli. As con­tem­po­rary ac­counts make clear, many of th­ese vic­tims died in hor­rific cir­cum­stances, trapped in burn­ing wreck­age with no hope of es­cape or res­cue. Jonathan Wright

The Quintin­shill rail disas­ter claimed the lives of at least 226 peo­ple

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