ON THIS DAY……. 12th April 1952

On this day in 1952, a woman was killed and seven people were seriously injured when two passenger trains collided head on at Moriac, near Geelong, at 8:15pm. Both engines were derailed, and the first carriage of the Geelong-bound train was telescoped by the coal tender. The dead woman was in this carriage. The trains involved were the 3.25pm passenger train from Port Fairy to Geelong, and the 5.50pm train from Melbourne to Warrnambool, which passed through Geelong.


The Warrnambool-bound train had stopped at Moriac and was shunting into a siding to allow the other train to pass along the single track when the crash occurred. The impact hurled the Warrnambool-bound train backwards and the two engines, badly wrecked, coming to rest 30ft apart. One engine hung at an acute angle on its side and the crew were badly scalded by escaping steam. The crash was heard several miles away and hundreds of people rushed to the scene. Two ambulances were called from Geelong, and ambulance men joined railwaymen and volunteers in freeing the injured from badly damaged carriages.


Many other passengers were slightly hurt or badly affected by shock. They were treated on the spot. Mr. T. Mather, newsagent and postmaster at Moriac, said the noise of the crash startled him and he was on the scene in a matter of minutes. “There was great confusion,” he said. “People on the trains were calling out for help. Many feared a fire would break out. “However, we soon got relief gangs together and set to work to free those trapped in the wrecked carriage. One woman was dead, and a man seemed to be dead or dying.” Special buses were chartered by the Railway Department to convey the passengers to their destinations. The line was blocked, but repair gangs were soon at work clearing the debris.