Birch Services

Could the Birch Services be the unluckiest service stations in the country?

On 9th October 2003 the westbound service station at Birch was completely destroyed by a deliberately started fire. Millions of pounds worth of damage was caused.

After losing large sums of cash in a fruit machine, Jason New started kicking it to get his money back. He then went to the shop and bought a lighter, promptly setting fire to the machine. By 1am, the whole westbound side of the services were alight and evacuated. It took 70 fire-fighters four hours to bring the blaze under control.The fire started at about 0130 BST on Thursday and more than 70 firefighters were tackling the blaze at its height.

birch 2003 fire

On 4th October 2011 the eastbound services caught fire causing substantial damage. This fire was believed to be caused by an electrical fault.

birch fire 2011



M62 Coach Bombing

The M62 coach bombing happened on 4th February 1974. An IRA bomb exploded in a coach carrying off-duty Armed Forces personnel and their family members. Twelve people (nine soldiers, three civilians) were killed by the bomb.

The coach had been specially commissioned to carry personnel on leave with their families from and to the bases at Catterick and Darlington during a period of industrial strike action on the trains. The vehicle had departed Manchester some time before, and was making good progress on the M62 mototway. Shortly after midnight, near the Hartshead Moor Motorway Services, there was a large explosion. The blast could be heard several miles away. The coach was reduced to a tangle of twisted metal. It was a horrific scene.

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The memorial to those who were killed can be found at the Hartshead Moor Services (westbound).


This new memorial was unveiled at a special service in February 2009.