A SURVIVOR of last month's Bellgrove train crash told a public inquiry

yesterday that he saw the driver of his train throw his hands in the air

and shout ''Jesus Christ!'' seconds before he was killed when the

collision occurred.

Off-duty British Rail guard Mr Richard Gilmour had been a passenger in

the front carriage of the city-bound train on the Springburn to

Milngavie line. The train appeared to be about a minute late when it

left Duke Street Station in the direction of Bellgrove.

It proceeded through a tunnel at the usual speed of about 20mph when

he suddenly heard the driver shout out.

''I heard him shout 'Jesus Christ!' or something like that and I stood

up to look. He was shoving on his brakes as he stood up and moved to the

centre. He put his hands up and the next thing I saw was the canopy of

the other train coming through. The whole thing was obliterated,'' he


Mr Gilmour was giving evidence on the first day of the public inquiry

into the crash on March 6 of two electric passenger trains near

Bellgrove Station, Glasgow. Driver Mr Hugh Kennan, aged 62, of Maryhill,

and passenger Mr Robert McCaffrey, aged 58, a retired rail worker from

Scotstoun, died in the crash and 53 people were injured.

Mr Gilmour said that he was thrown to the floor by the force of the

collision. ''There was a lot of dust and quietness and then I heard

someone shouting 'Get me out of here!''' he said.

Mr Gilmour recalled seeing two young woman sitting holding on to each

other. They were ''in a helluva state''. He also tried to assist an

elderly man who was trapped under the wreckage. He was eventually

rescued by firemen after a four-hour operation.

Mr Gilmour then went on to describe how he discovered one of the

victims. ''I saw a gentleman lying over a seat and I said 'Come on, you

will be all right.' But he was blue in the face with a cut across his

head. I realised there was nothing we could do for him. You could see he

was gone. We left him in the seat,'' he said.

Mr Gilmour carried on to the rear of the train, helped to find some

tools and a ladder, and proceeded to assist in the rescue of the


The inquiry's chairman, Mr R.J. Seymour, chief inspecting officer of

railways and head of the railway inspectorate, commended him for his


Earlier, passenger Ms Elizabeth Russell, who had boarded the train at

Duke Street, told the inquiry that she was sitting in the front

compartment when she suddenly saw the other train coming towards them.

Someone shouted ''Duck!'' and she fell to the floor. She suffered cuts

and bruising and is still receiving medical treatment.

Off-duty signalman Mr Stephen Menzies, aged 18, from Wishaw, was a

passenger on the Springburn-bound train. He told the inquiry that the

train was usually delayed at the Glasgow end of Bellgrove Station for

several minutes to allow the other train to negotiate a single track

section of the line on the other side of the station.

However, on the day in question his train carried straight on to the

station without delay. It was usual for the other train to be just

leaving the station when his service arrived but on that day there was

no sign of it at all.

He then went on to tell the inquiry how he heard a bang when a warning

detonator, applied in an emergency by the Bellgrove signal box, was set

off. Seconds later the two trains collided.

In technical evidence British Rail's regional operations

superintendent, Mr Alan Mackie, said that the train coming from

Springburn was supposed to go through the 50-yard-long single stretch of

line before it arrived at Bellgrove, and then set off again one minute

before the train travelling in the opposite direction was scheduled to

leave Bellgrove in the direction of the single track and Springburn.

He said that that type of timescale was not uncommon. ''I would be

happy to have such close scheduling at any conflicting junction because

the signalling system carries out the protection duties,'' he said. He

told the inquiry that at the time the two trains came into view of each

other they were ''beyond the point of no return''.

Experts estimated that the trains had been travelling at a combined

speed of between 20mph and 40mph. At 30mph they would have needed at

least 307 yards between them as a stopping distance.

The inquiry, before Mr Seymour and Mr Alwyn Williams, principal

railway employment inspector, continues today.