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Annan songwriter commemorates Quintinshill

The 70-year-old has written an emotionally-charged tribute to the disaster

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By Ben Murray
Annan and Eskdale
Annan songwriter commemorates Quintinshill

A MUSICAL tribute to the Quintinshill disaster that occurred 107 years ago has been written.

The song was written by Dave Cole, a 70-year-old man that lives in Gretna.

Dave has been writing songs for years, about different topics, events and feelings. But he has rarely ever released a song publicly due to how shy of a person he is.

Dave had a chance meeting with popular Gretna country and western duo The Runaways a few months ago, and began to share many of his songs, including the Quintinshill tribute.

Quintinshill remains the worst rail disaster to ever occur in the UK, even a century after it occurred.

Two express trains running north were late, a troop train was travelling south, and the signalman coming on duty arrived late to his shift by over half an hour.

It resulted in the troop train colliding with a stationary train on the southbound track, before the delayed express train crashed into the wreckage.

COUNTRY STARS. . . The Runaways met Dave in 2020, and discovered the song

Over 200 men were killed in the carnage of the crash, and of the 1,028 men who had been on the train, only 64 were uninjured: But they were so in shock from the crash that they were sent home.

Dave Cole’s father worked at the station where the disaster happened, which may have given him the inspiration to write the song in remembrance last year.

Dave then gave the song to the Runaways, Phil and Pam Bayne. Since then, they have recorded the song and have been given permission to perform it, but have yet to do so.

Pam Bayne said: “The last few years have been difficult for us due to the pandemic and the lockdowns.

“We were given the song by Dave last year, and we’ve completely fallen in love with not only this song, but every song he writes.

“He has such a way with words that makes each lyric feel so raw and emotional.

“We’d be more than happy to perform the song live, but it’s a little more difficult to arrange than just performing a gig at a bar.”

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