45 years since Granville Train Disaster shook the nation

Ross Hutchison at Granville. Photo: Melissa Stevens.
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It’s been 45 years since the Granville Train Disaster rocked the nation, but for those who lost loved ones, the pain remains a daily reminder.

On January 18, 1977, a crowded commuter train derailed when approaching Granville train station at the Bold Street bridge, causing the bridge to collapse onto two of the train’s passenger carriages.

The crash, said to have occurred due to poor fastening of the track, remains the worst rail disaster in Australian history.

Today, Sydneysiders will reflect on the 84 lives lost.

Penrith resident Ross (Rossco) Hutchison’s 21-year-old sister Cheryl was among those tragically killed.

Mr Hutchison described her as an “amazing, wonderful girl with passion for working with children”.

“She was given awards for her work with children and youth and was a great inspiration; she was loved by all,” he said.

Despite the time that has passed, he said not a day goes by that she doesn’t cross his mind.

“It’s amazing how often someone will mention it without knowing that I have a connection to it; you’d be surprised how many times trains come up every day,” he said.

“It had such an effect on me; it took me a long time before I could ever go near a train.

“My mum never slept again until she died, she was always awake all night; it really cut my dad’s heart out too.”

Mr Hutchison will never forget the day he found out the shocking news of what had happened to his beloved sister.

“I had to identify her which was a gruesome time; I was at the morgue for a couple of days and could only really identify her by her rings,” he said.

Whilst the government’s compensation was scarce, the family decided to put it towards building a playground at Westmead Hospital to honour her memory and love for children.

This was unfortunately ripped down during hospital upgrades, serving another devastating blow to the family.

“Every dollar my mum and dad got, despite being treated horrendously, they put into that playground. It was there for many years with her name but with the renovations they threw everything away,” Mr Hutchison said.

Today Mr Hutchison, alongside other impacted family, friends and emergency services workers will attend an annual memorial service for the lives lost on that fateful day.

Roses will be thrown off the Bold Street bridge to pay tribute.

Ross Hutchison at Granville. Photo: Melissa Stevens.

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