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Hero Cop, Families Remember Granville Train Disaster, 40 Years On

'Some of the people who died in there still had playing cards in their hands'.

18/01/2017 7:08 AM AEDT | Updated 18/01/2017 8:53 AM AEDT

Commemorations are being held across Sydney on Wednesday to mark the 40th anniversary of the worst train crash in Australian history, the Granville train disaster.

Families, victims and first responders are sharing their stories of the horror crash which shattered countless lives.

On January 18, 1977 a packed commuter train travelling from Mount Victoria in the Blue Mountains derailed at Granville. The disaster left 83 people dead and another 210 injured.

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The scene of the disaster.

Families of the victims alongside politicians and emergency responders started the day with a remembrance ceremony at the memorial wall in Granville.

The chimes sounded at 8:10am, the time of the crash, as the victims names were read out from the memorial wall.

Former Police Rescue officer Gary Raymond rescued two people from the rubble 40 years ago and has reflected on the day that changed the lives of so many.

"Ten people were alive but trapped...what we call 'crushed syndrome'. We had to get in there and triage the injured people, work out what equipment we would need," he said.

"We didn't have time to look at the enormity of it (at that moment), you looked at it as a rescue rather than a sad, tragic even. But later on...when the job finished you'd reflect on the enormous sadness."

"Like some of the people who died in there still had playing cards in their hands...some were reading, still had papers in their hands...some were playing board games when the bridge came down, so you reflect on, I guess, the sadness of those who were on their way to work...it was school holidays," Raymond said.

There will also be a a service held at St Mark's Anglican Church at 10am, followed by another full service at the memorial wall at 11:30am.

Red roses will then be dropped on the railway tracks, 83 of them -- one for every life lost that day.

David Ward will be among the guests, who was just four when two of his sisters and his grandparents who were over from England were killed in the disaster.

"It's a day of reflection. I'll be catching the train to Granville at about the same time it happened 40 years ago," he told the ABC.

Acting NSW Police Commissioner David Hudson will be also in attendance and has said that the nation will never forget that day.

"I also think this occasion allows us the opportunity to honour the bravery of the emergency services crews who ventured into the wreckage to rescue those trapped and the medical staff who then kept those victims alive," he said.

"As much as it is about a tragedy, this anniversary is also about recognising Australian heroism and determination."

It was announced just days ago that the NSW Government would apologise to the victims' families for the first time since the disaster.

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