THIS WEEK IN 1988: Leaping train driver cheats death

Driver Anthony Penny escaped without a scratch by jumping clear of his stationary six-coach train at Liss
Driver Anthony Penny escaped without a scratch by jumping clear of his stationary six-coach train at Liss
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British Rail pledged a full inquiry following a crash in which the driver of a Portsmouth to London train cheated death by leaping from his cab.

Driver Anthony Penny escaped without a scratch by jumping clear of his stationary six-coach train at Liss just as a goods train travelling in the wrong direction careered into his carriage.

An eyewitness estimated the speed of the goods train to be around 45mph.

The other train, pulling six coaches from Fratton, had stopped at the station on its way to Wimbledon Park, South London.

British Rail said the train had unloaded the last of its passengers and was being taken out of service for the night.

The goods train should have been travelling in the same direction, but half a mile in front.

Instead, it suddenly appeared coming towards Liss – leaving Mr Penny no choice but to jump for his life as it crushed the driver’s compartment of his train.

One eyewitness said: ‘There was wreckage all over the place. It made quite a noise,and there was severe damage to the trains.

‘The driver and guard on the stationary train started blasting the horn. Then the trains collided.’

Wimbledon-based Mr Penny did not need treatment, but the other driver, George Forbes, from Waterloo, was treated for shock at Queen Alexandra Hospital.