DISASTERS AND MISHAPS – RAILWAYS
Rakaia Railway Accident
On the evening of Saturday, 11 March 1899, two excursion trains which were travelling from Ashburton to Christchurch, carrying 3,000 employees of the Christchurch Meat Co., Islington, and their families, collided at the Rakaia Railway Station. Four of the passengers were killed and 22 were injured. Describing the accident, the New Zealand Railway Review of March 1899 said that the engine of the second train crashed into the guard's van of the first, causing it to cut 14 ft into the next carriage while the third carriage mounted the platform of the second to a distance of about 8 ft. Because it was raining heavily at the time of the collision, the Commission of Inquiry reported that the enginedriver on the second train had been negligent in not observing the regulations governing an approach to a station.