11.05 a.m. Buxton to Arpley (Warrington) freight train was due to stop at Bibbington summit so that the handbrakes could be applied to a number of wagons to aid the descent (only a few of the wagons had vacuum brakes). The driver was unable to stop because of a fractured steam pipe on the footplate made it impossible for the crew to reach the brake. The fireman jumped down to try and apply some of the handbrakes without success. The driver remained to try and stop the train. The train then collided with the rear of another freight train (08.45 a.m. Rowsley to Edgeley (Stockport)) which was stood at Chapel-en-le-frith station.