Cowan Rail AcidentPrint Page Print this page

Photographs supplied by Dave Rave

The plaque commemorates those who died in a crash involving two trains in May 1990, and also those who were involved in the rescue work.

The accident occurred at 7:20pm on 6 May 1990 when the 3801 Limited steam passenger train returning from the Morpeth Jazz Festival was struck in the rear by the following City Rail inter-urban passenger service. The steam train had stalled while attempting to climb the steep gradient from the Hawkesbury River to Cowan, and it was found that sand applied to the rails to regain traction had interfered with the signals and given the City Rail train a false clear indication.

The impact killed the driver of the City Rail train, Gordon Hill, and a passenger who was riding in the inter-urban's cab, as well as four passengers in the rear carriage of the 3801 train. 99 passengers were injured, 11 of those seriously. The force of the crash completely destroyed the last carriage of the steam train, and was enough to break the locomotive coupling and push the engine 12 metres forward.


Address:Brooklyn Road, Cowan Bank, Boronia No. 3 Tunnel, Brooklyn, 2083
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.552921
Long: 151.196902
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Disaster
Sub-Theme:Land Transport
Actual Event Start Date:06-May-1990
Actual Event End Date:06-May-1990


Front Inscription

At this site on 6 May 1990 a fatal collision occured involving an Intercity Express and an excursion train hauled by historic  locomotive 3801

This plaque acknowledges the efforts of all who took part in the rescue work and commemorates the people who perished in  the accident

State Rail Authority of New South Wales          

3801 Limited



Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au