In the list of the worst rail accidents in the world, there is no mention of the disaster at Achinsk which held up the British refugees fleeing from the Red Army.
On 31st December 1919, Leonard Vining, Brian Horrocks and Emerson MacMillan walked past dozens of trains into the town to find a scene of utter desolation. They discovered that the station was completely destroyed because three days earlier, a freight train carrying dynamite had exploded in the centre of a dozen refugee trains standing on parallel tracks. More than five hundred people were killed instantly and thousands injured; many of them women, children and babies. Emerson wrote “the dead were piled up like cordwood. There were hundreds of them but they were luckier than the injured, who lived and who could not possibly receive medical attention.”
In ordinary times, this would rank as a global disaster, but here it was just another episode in the unfolding tragedy of the retreat from Omsk.
Trans Siberian Railway Line From Omsk To Irkutsk – 1,500 Miles