Thirty years ago today, the night-time peace of a Warwickshire town was shattered by the hideous screech of train brakes applied in vain and the terrible sound of a high-speed train derailing and colliding with a platform.
The Nuneaton Trent Valley rail disaster, which claimed the lives of six people and left 38 others injured, was one of the worst to occur in the Midlands.
The 23.30 London Euston to Glasgow InterCity Sleeper train, travelling at 80mph through a restricted 20mph area, came off the tracks at Nuneaton Trent Valley station. Thirteen of its 14 carriages derailed, the engine unit detached, and another engine, which was being towed, broke loose and ploughed up onto the station platform.
Only the unsociable hour, 1.30 in the morning, prevented there being many more deaths.
The driver was charged with manslaughter but was acquitted after the court heard how three gas lights, which were illuminating a warning sign, had failed.
Nuneaton author and historian Peter Lee has recently published a book detailing the horrors of that night.
He said: "I have spoken to various railwaymen on duty that night including the driver of the diesel freight train who was trundling through number one platform at Nuneaton at a very slow speed, minding his own business, when all of a sudden this lot burst all around him.
"There was a mighty horrible crash, screeching of breaking metal and the electric locos, overhead catenaries, wiring, coaches, ballast and bits of metal were flying about in all directions.
"He never got over the shock, and I think he suffers nightmares from the trauma of the event even to this day.
"He was only a young man at the time. He told me it helped to end his railway career."
Four years ago, when a public inquiry looked at plans to introduce 140mph trains to the West Coast Main Line in Nuneaton, local objectors recalled the events of a quarter of a century previously that had deeply scarred the Warwickshire town.
In the end, the 140mph trains ended up being 125mph - rail industry over-ambition and, ironically, the financial aftershocks of more recent rail disasters such as Ladbroke Grove and Hatfield put paid to that - but the memories of that awful night had been jogged.
Steve Evans, a columnist on the Coventry Evening Telegraph, gave voice to those feelings in 2001.
"Even 26 years on, the Nuneaton community is still raw and highly sensitive - but Railtrack should not dismiss those folk as alarmist, highly strung or keen to press the panic button. It is because it has been through it all before that Nuneaton, more than any other town on the West Coast line, deserves to be heard, to be taken seriously, to be reassured."
The worst Midland rail crash in living memory happened at Hixon, near Stafford, in 1968.
A packed passenger train crashed into a low-loader being driven across a level crossing, killing 11 people and seriously injuring 27. n Tonight, BBC Midlands Today will feature a special report tracking down the firefighters who worked on the rescue operation at Nuneaton.
The programme also speaks with station officer Andy Wilson who helped rescue a young woman whose legs were trapped between a rail carriage and the rail line.
The report will link archive footage with Mr Wilson's recollections of the disaster.