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  1. ITV Report

Glanrhyd bridge disaster: 30 years since train crash tragedy killed four people

Credit: ITV Archive National Library of Wales

On 19 October 1987, the Glanrhyd Bridge near Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire collapsed and four people died when a train travelling over the bridge plunged into the River Towy.

Credit: ITV Archive National Library of Wales

The 05:27 service from Swansea to Shrewsbury, had ten people travelling on it, ran onto the bridge over the River Towy at Glanrhyd.

After many hours of heavy rainfall the Towy Valley was flooded, causing the bridge to collapse into the river.

Credit: ITV Archive National Library of Wales

The first carriage of the train fell into the river as it reached the bridge, trapping people inside. Three passengers and three members of British Railways' staff were able to escape.

But Mr and Mrs Evans, 14-year-old Simon Penny and the driver of the train Mr Churchill, drowned.

14-year-old Simon Penny died in the disaster Credit: Family photo

The bridge was damaged beyond repair and it had to be completely demolished.

Simon Penny's mother said:

My son being a very good swimmer he used to swim for the dolphins here when he was younger, he would have held his breath, he would have held his breath and I couldn't sleep for years thinking about that.

– Jackie Penny
Jackie Penny, Simon's mother Credit: ITV News

In inquest followed to determine how the disaster had happened.

Changes were then introduced to prevent a tragedy like that from ever happening again.

A public inquiry heard that the train should not have been allowed to run and that there were delays in moving passengers to safety.

£900,000 was spent on a new bridge, which was more than a metre taller than the original structure.

Reinforcements were also put in place to protect against flooding.