FIFTY years to the day after the Wealdstone train disaster, a plaque remembering the 112 people who lost their lives was finally unveiled on Tuesday afternoon, watched by a crowd of those whose lives had been affected by the tragedy: survivors, the bereaved, rescue workers and witnesses.

For many of those gathered for the ceremony, their sadness was tempered by satisfaction that, at last, the victims had been given a permanent memorial.

One survivor of the three-train crash, David George, said: "I am very happy that it has been put up at last. I always felt slightly angry that there was nothing at Harrow and Wealdstone station in memory of all those lives that were lost."

Councillor Keith Toms reminded the crowd of the tragic events that unfolded that foggy, autumn morning, not that many of those present needed reminding: that day is still fresh in their memories.

The names of the dead were read out by the Rev Trevor Mapstone, vicar of Holy Trinity Church, just yards from the station, led the prayers, and the Mayor of Harrow, Councillor John Branch, unveiled the memorial, a simple plaque mounted on a wall near the station entrance. Among the guests at the ceremony was Councillor Shelia Jones, the Civic Mayor of Watford, from where many of the passengers who died came.

Sadly, the noise of passing traffic drowned out the speakers, who had not been provided with a microphone and many people complained that, having waited so long for the memorial, they could not hear the tributes.

Another survivor, Evelyn Hargood from Harrow Weald, said: "It was a bit disappointing. I lost friends in the crash and I could not hear their names being read out. I thought the plaque was simple, but I am glad there is something there."

One woman thought the plaque was too low, and she said she hoped and prayed that no one would deface it.

Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas MP said: "It is good to see so many people here today to remember and mourn the people from the Harrow and Wealdstone crash. It was a tragedy and the only positive thing at all to come out of it was that our railways have now got safer."

At 8pm that evening, a memorial service was held at Holy Trinity Church in Headstone Drive, conducted by the Rev Trevor Mapstone.

It began with the congregation listening to an excerpt from the original BBC report of the disaster, then hymns were sung and prayers said. In the Act of Reflection, four people involved in the tragedy shared their thoughts of that day, among them Mrs Hargood who, with her husband Hayden had been trapped in the wrecked passenger train.

Gilbert Powell of Pinner, who as a 15-year-old scout, helped in the rescue operation, was praised during the service, and read one of the lessons. Candles were lit in memory of those who died, and the concluding prayer was said by the Bishop of Willesden, the Right Rev Peter Broadbent.