Clapham rail disaster survivor has not used train since crash

Wandsworth Guardian: Mourners pay their respects at the memorial in Spencer Park Mourners pay their respects at the memorial in Spencer Park

A Clapham Junction rail disaster survivor has spoken out about the day 25 years ago which changed her life forever.

Louise Woodward, from Dorset, has not been on a train since the accident and has vowed never to board one again.

The mother-of-two was aboard the 0615 train from Poole to London Waterloo on December 12, 1988, with a friend and a colleague.

The train was on time and heading into central London just after 8am when disaster struck and the lives of all of those on board would never be the same again.

Mrs Woodward recalled: "I remember the December 12, 1988, very clearly. I was travelling to work on the Poole train.

"I was in the third carriage from the front and am the only person who lived who was sitting by the window on the left hand side.

"I was trapped for two-and-a-half hours and never lost consciousness. I saw and heard dreadful things that day.

"I lost a limb and had numerous other terrible injuries internally and externally."

After waking up in the operating theatre in St George's Hospital, Mrs Woodward suddenly heard the voice of a nurse.

She added: "I was taken to St George's where I remained conscious until I was taken to theatre and I heard a nurse tell a doctor 'we're losing her'.

"I thought 'no you're not, I'm just 24 and I'm not ready to go'.

"I was in St George's for a couple of months and the doctors and nurses there literally saved my life.

"I was visited by Mrs Thatcher and the Duchess of York while in hospital both of whom were just lovely."

Mrs Woodward actually unveiled the memorial, which lies in Spencer Park, Trinity Road, Wandsworth, a year after the tragedy.

She said: "I unveiled the memorial when it was erected for the first anniversary service along with the widow of a victim.

"I have never been on a train since and never will. I have been blessed with children and a wonderful husband. They use trains but I like them to sit on a middle carriage.

"My life changed on that day and now I have had more than half of it without one of my limbs and have lasting side effects of my injuries. "I will carry the physical and mental scars of the December 12 for the rest of my life and will always remember my friend and the others who died that day. "My friend and work colleague died along with many others."


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