Cumbria

Grayrigg train crash: Woman called for dying mother

Margaret Masson
Image caption Margaret Masson died of her injuries almost three hours after the crash

A woman cried out for her dying mother as she lay injured in a derailed train, an inquest has heard.

Margaret Langley was lying hurt next to her mother Margaret Masson in the train carriage which had plunged down an embankment at Grayrigg in Cumbria.

Mrs Masson, 84, from Glasgow, died hours later from her injuries.

The Virgin Pendolino express train derailed on the West Coast Main Line near Kendal in at 20:12 GMT on 23 February 2007.

The first day of the inquest into the crash heard how all eight carriages of the Class 390 tilting train were derailed and 86 passengers and two crew, of the 105 people aboard, were injured.

'Face down'

A Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) inquiry ruled the "immediate cause" of the crash was the train had gone over a "degraded and unsafe" set of points, known as Lambrigg 2B.

Mrs Masson, known as Peggy, from Glasgow, got on the train at Preston, Lancashire, accompanied by her daughter and son-in-law, Richard Langley.

A statement from Mr Langley, a retired train conductor who has since died but not as a result of the crash, was read out in which he said: "Margaret was lying on her stomach face down.

Image caption The train came off the tracks and careered down an embankment

"Peggy was lying directly across Margaret, on her stomach face down.

"Peggy was shouting, 'Margaret! Margaret! Margaret!' and Margaret was just saying, 'Mum! Mum! Mum!'"

Mr Langley was airlifted to hospital where he had a life-saving lung operation.

Mrs Masson was taken by Sea King helicopter to the Royal Lancaster Hospital but died from her injuries at around 23:00 GMT.

Mr Langley's statement, made three months after crash, added: "Peggy was truly loved and all her family and friends will miss her terribly."

Earlier Mrs Langley described her mother's state of health as "marvellous".

She said her mother had been staying with her after having central heating fitted at her own home.

Train safety

They were due to travel the next day but instead decided to catch the Friday night express back to Glasgow, the inquest at the County Offices in Kendal heard.

On the first day of the three-week hearing, where train safety is expected to come under the spotlight, the jury heard a graphic first-hand account of how the crash unfolded.

Drifting in and out of consciousness Mr Langley, 63, ended up being wedged between a table and the carriage wall as the carriage came to rest on its side.

His statement said: "The next thing I recall is being six feet in the air.

"I was wedged in by the coach side and a table and I had the round table pole between my legs. The train was on its side.

"I remember it was dark outside but the carriage was quite brightly lit."

The driver of the train, Ian Black, told the inquest the three-year-old train was in perfect working order.

He said the train "leapt in the air" while travelling at 95mph (152.8 km/h) when it approached the left-hand bend where the points were.

Mr Black told the hearing that he hit the ceiling of his cab and suffered a broken neck.

The hearing continues.

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