January 1900

[Scottish Railway Incidents (1900) Contents]

   THE FATALITY AT PORTOBELLO RAILWAY STATION. – The body of the young man who, while walking along the line at Portobello Station on Thursday last, was killed by an express train, has been identified as that of William Scott, seventeen years of age, an engine cleaner at St Margaret’s Works, and who resided at 14 Dalgety Street, Abbeyhill. It appears that at the time of the accident he was making his way home, going along the railway for a short route. 

– The Scotsman, Monday 1st January, 1900, p.6.

   Two or three measures that did not become law may be put on record. Mr Ritchie’s Regulation of Railways Bill was designed to diminish the danger of accident to railway servants, chiefly by the compulsory provision of automatic couplings and hand-brakes. So great was the opposition of the railway companies that the Bill was withdrawn and a Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the whole subject. 

– The Scotsman, Monday 1st January, 1900, p.6.


   Late last night the body of a woman, about 30 years of age, was found on the Caledonian Railway 100 yards east of Langloan Station, and was conveyed to Coatbridge Burgh Mortuary. She is about 5ft 6in in height, auburn hair, brown eyes, dressed in black jacket, bodice, pink striped petticoat, black and green tartan plaid, with yellow stripe. 

– North British Daily Mail, Monday 1st January, 1900, p.2.





   About six o’clock on Saturday night Perth Station was the scene of a shocking railway accident, whereby a man lost his life. The accident occurred just on the other side of St Leonard’s Bridge, and the unfortunate man was found by Pointsman William Kellock lying in the four-foot way with both legs almost completely severed from the body. How the man came to be there is a mystery, but it is supposed he had been walking along the line, and had been knocked down by the postal train which leaves Perth for the South at 5.48 p.m. The station ambulance stretcher was at once procured, and the luckless man was removed to the Infirmary by the Station Ambulance Corps, under Mr J. D. Smith, foreman platelayer. From the first there were little hopes entertained for his recovery, both legs being completely severed from the thighs, the unfortunate man being practically cut in two, but he lingered on till about eleven o’clock, when he expired. The man, who was about 34 years of age, was of medium height, dark complexioned, and respectably dressed. He is supposed to have been a blacksmith, but there were no papers or anything on his person to offer a clue as to identification and it is thought he was a stranger in Perth. The police are making inquiries with the object of identifying the unfortunate man. 

– Dundee Courier, Monday 1st January, 1900, p.6.

   FATAL ACCIDENT ON THE HIGHLAND RAILWAY. – While the mid-day train from Inverness was running between Carrbridge and Aviemore, D. Skinner, the fireman, had gone on to the tender of the engine, and his head came in contact with an overway bridge. Death was instantaneous. 

– The Scotsman, Tuesday 2nd January, 1900, p.4.


   A fatal accident occurred on the Highland Railway at Kinveachie, between Carr Bridge and Aviemore. Donald Skinner, fireman, who was standing on the tender of the 1.50 P.M. train from Inverness, was struck by an overhead bridge and killed. He belonged to Balintore, Fearn. 

– North British Daily Mail, Tuesday 2nd January, 1900, p.5.


   Alexander Murray, a goods guard, residing in Portobello, was run over by a railway waggon, at Drem Station, this afternoon, while engaged in shunting. His right arm and left leg were almost severed. He was conveyed to Edinburgh by special train, and taken to the Royal Infirmary, where he died a few minutes after admission. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Tuesday 2nd January, 1900, p.3.




   A shocking fatality occurred on the railway at Arbroath early this morning whereby a man named James Kydd, residing at Letham Mill, near Arbroath, lost his life. Kydd was in the employment of the Railway Company as a night watchman, and had been on duty last night in the usual course of his vocation. Shortly after six o’clock this morning, having completed his night work, he left the goods yard with the intention of walking along the line to his home. He had reached a point opposite the running sheds when an N.B. engine emerged from the shed and ran over him in the darkness. The driver felt that the engine had met with some obstruction, and on examination he found Kydd lying on the rails in a shockingly mutilated condition. He at once communicated with the nearest signal cabin, whence in turn information of the accident was conveyed to the passenger station. Mr Alexander Thom, head porter, and two other officials lost no time in proceeding to the spot, and Dr Duncan having been apprised of the accident, was also quickly in attendance. The doctor found that life was quite extinct, the body of the unfortunate man being almost cut in two. The remains were conveyed to the mortuary in connection with the burgh Police Office. Deceased was between 60 and 70 years of age, and leaves a widow and family. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Tuesday 2nd January, 1900, p.3.

   YOUNG MAN KILLED ON THE RAILWAY NEAR ABERDEEN. – Alexander Glennie (23), joiner, Hatton of Cruden, was killed at Bucksburn Railway Station on the evening of New Year’s Day by being run over by a Great North of Scotland train then leaving the station. Deceased, while the train was in motion, left the compartment in which he was travelling to join a companion in another carriage, and fell between the vehicles on to the line. Death was instantaneous. He resided with his mother at Hatton, and his body was conveyed thither. 

– The Scotsman, Wednesday 3rd January, 1900, p.10.






   Regarding the accident to the [3rd Battalion Royal Highlanders, Perthshire Militia,] troop train at Blackford last night very few particulars have reached Perth to-day. Captain Dennistoun, one of the officers of the regiment presently stationed at Montrose, came through to Perth to visit the men [all injured were from the Black Watch] in the Infirmary. On inquiry there this forenoon it was reported that the whole of the injured men are progressing favourably.

   Our Perth correspondent, wiring from Blackford this morning, says:- The cause of the accident was simply a misunderstanding, for which none of the officials seem to be to blame. It appears the military train arrived at Blackford at 6.5, and was shunted on to the up loop line to allow the postal train to pass, which arrived at 6.12 – five minutes late. After the postal train had passed the porter proceeded along the line with the staff keys for the driver of the military train, when the driver mistook his lamp for a signal to back, which he did, colliding with the goods waggons. The military carriages at once telescoped, the two in the rear being smashed. The guard escaped through jumping from the van. Fortunately the main line was not blocked, so that no detention was caused to traffic. The loop line was cleared by midnight. Several of the soldiers proceeded on their journey with only slight injuries. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Wednesday 3rd January, 1900, p.3. [Extra info from Perthshire Advertiser, p.8, of the same date.]

   MAN KILLED ON THE RAILWAY. – Yesterday forenoon, the mangled remains of a young man, which were afterwards identified as those of James Ogg, stone dresser, residing at Queen Street, Inverkeithing, were found on the railway, not far from the mouth of the tunnel to the north of North Queensferry. Ogg, who was unmarried, was twenty-two years of age. 

– Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, Thursday 4th January, 1900, p.3.



   It is somewhat remarkable that two railway fatalities, the one in the morning and the other at night, occurred on Wednesday in the Dunfermline district. In the one case John Ogg (22), stone dresser, Queen Street, Inverkeithing, was cut in pieces by the engine of a passenger train on the Edinburgh and Perth line and neat the north entrance to the North Queensferry tunnel. Ogg was seen running on the railway shortly before he was knocked down, and run over. The second accident occurred at ten o’clock at night, a few hundred yards to the south of the Dunfermline Lower Station. The engine-driver of a passenger train felt that he had encountered some obstacle, and the lifeless body of a man, between 65 and 70 years of age, was afterwards found on the spot. The unfortunate man, who has not yet been identified, had evidently been struck on the back of the head, and had then fallen across the rails, his left foot being severed at the ankle. 

– Dundee Courier, Friday 5th January, 1900, p.7.


   One never knows the value of an amiable deed till one knows all its consequences, and the merit of it is in not knowing them all beforehand. 

   A driver of a passenger train was driving through a snowstorm, eagerly scanning the line as far as he could see, when, half-way through a deep cut, something appeared lying on the rails. It was a sheep with her two little lambs. 

   His first thought was that he could rush on regardless of them, probably without damage to his train; but the sight of the innocent family cowering in the storm touched him, and as they paid no heed to his warning whistle he pulled the air-brake and sent his fireman ahead. 

   In a few minutes the fireman came back with a terrified face. There had been a landslip, and just beyond the cut the line was covered with rocks. It seemed certain that if the train had gone on at full speed in the blinding snow it would have been impossible to stop in time to escape disaster. 

   In the absolute sense the incident was providential – as everything is – but circumstantially the passengers in that railway train owed their safety, if not their lives, to a driver who was too tender-hearted to kill a sheep and her lambs. 

Musselburgh News, Friday 5th January, 1900, p.2.


   On Tuesday morning at Arbroath Railway Station a night watchman, named James Kydd, while walking on the line, was run down and killed by an engine. The same morning a platelayer on the Caledonian railway at Moffat was knocked down by a passenger train, his body being frightfully mangled. On the same afternoon a goods guard in the employment of the N.B. Railway, was knocked down by a waggon at Drem Station, and died soon afterwards. 

– Fife Free Press & Kirkcaldy Guardian, Saturday 6th January, 1900, p.2.

   Fatal Accident. – On Sunday morning the police were notified by the station master at Shettleston that a man, apparently about 58 years of age, was found early that morning on the line there, evidently having been killed by a passing train. The deceased had in his pocket a return ticket from Armadale to Glasgow. It could not be ascertained at the time who the unfortunate man was, and it was not until some people from the district, who had occasion to go out at Shettleston, on the Monday morning, that the body was identified as being that of Daniel Love, residing at Cappers. The deceased had gone to a quoiting match in Glasgow on Saturday, and intended to return the same evening, but as he had a brother residing in the vicinity of Shettleston, it was believed that he had gone to visit him. How he came to be where he was found nobody seems to know. When the stationmaster left, after the last passenger train had gone, no one seemed to be about, and as the body was found close to the station early on the Saturday morning, it is believed that he had been run down by a goods train. The body was brought home on Monday afternoon – a sad beginning of the New Year for his widow and large family, for whom much sympathy is felt. 

– West Lothian Courier, Saturday 6th January, 1900, p.5.


   On Saturday night a man, apparently about 35 years of age, fell off the main platform on to the rails at the general station, and had both of his legs cut off by an incoming train. He was removed to the infirmary, where he expired. Deceased, who was a stranger to Perth, has not been identified. 

– Fife Free Press & Kirkcaldy Guardian, Saturday 6th January, 1900, p.2.





   Yesterday afternoon, a little after three o’clock, a railway accident occurred at Brechin near Drumlachie Bridge, which might have been attended by serious results. At this particular time the Brechin and Montrose goods train leaves on Tuesdays, and the engine-driver, being under the impression that he had received the road, naturally went forward, with the result that he ran into a siding, and came in contact with what is known as a “dead end.” The “dead end” was carried away, and the tender of the engine went over the embankment. Comparatively no damage was done to the train, however, and a little later in the afternoon it was taken to Montrose. The engine-driver was slightly hurt, but the fireman escaped uninjured. The steam crane was wired for to Motherwell, and it is anticipated that the engine will be got on to-day. Fortunately, the accident did not interfere with the main line traffic. 

– Dundee Courier, Wednesday 10th January, 1900, p.4.

   NIGG. – Mr Hector Mackenzie, Chapelhill, was accidentally knocked down by a train at Inverness station on Wednesday night. Happily he escaped serious injury, and he will be all right again in a day or two. Mr Mackenzie was coming home from the Elgin ploughing match when the misfortune happened him. 

   FATALITY TO AN INVERNESS MAN AT PERTH STATION. – About a week ago a man was accidentally killed at Perth station by being run over by the postal train from Perth, but at the time it was impossible to identify the man. The police have just discovered that the unfortunate man’s name was Donald Gordon (30), a labourer, residing at No. 3 Ross’s Close, Shoe Lane, Inverness. Gordon had been working in Glasgow for some time, and was on his way from Glasgow to Inverness to see his mother, who resides at the address mentioned. He had only booked to Perth, and had gone in search of a ticket, but had wandered on to the line. 

– Ross-shire Journal, Friday 12th January, 1900, p.5.


   Last night Miss Watson, dressmaker, residing at Guay, was found lying unconscious on the Highland line. It appears that Miss Watson had travelled by the evening train from Pitlochry to Ballinluig, and then proceeded to walk along the line, when she had been struck down by the engine of a goods train. Miss Watson, who was severely injured, was conveyed to Perth Infirmary. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Friday 12th January, 1900, p.3.




   On Thursday night, at the junction a short distance to the east of Uphall Station, a mineral train coming down the Campa line dashed into some waggons standing across the line at the points. 

   A young man named David Stevens, a checker, employed at Uphall Station, and who belongs to Edinburgh, was riding on the engine, and when he saw that a collision was imminent he jumped off, but unfortunately he failed to save himself, being crushed between the engine and the obstructing wagons. 

   He was terribly mangled, and died at once. The driver and the fireman escaped with a shaking. The line was blocked for a considerable time, but was cleared about midnight by a breakdown gang from Edinburgh. 

– Dundee Courier, Saturday 13th January, 1900, p.5.

   Accident. – On Saturday last Patrick McManus, residing in the School Rows, had a miraculous escape at Crofthead Station (N.B.R.) Somehow or other he fell from the platform just as the 6.26 passenger train was entering the station. He was taken to the waiting-room, where he was attended to by Dr Gardner, who ordered his removal to the Infirmary. 

– West Lothian Courier, Saturday 13th January, 1900, p.5.




   On Saturday night the body of a man was reported to be lying on the down line of the Caledonian Railway about 240 yards west of Uddingston passenger station, and on the officials proceeding to the spot a terrible sight presented itself. The legs and lower part of the body were lying on the outside of the rails, and the head and upper part about ten yards further down the line, and shockingly mangled. Deceased appears to be a man of about 40 years of age, dark hair and moustache, cheeks and chin shaven, and has the appearance of an engineman or irondresser. It is supposed he had been walking on the line when he was overtaken by a fast train and cut to pieces. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Monday 15th January, 1900, p.2.

   FATAL ACCIDENT AT NEWTON. – On Saturday forenoon, while a platelayer named Owen Souden was working on the Caledonian Railway near Newton Station, he failed to observe the approach of an up passenger train, and was knocked down and terribly injured. He was removed to Glasgow Royal Infirmary, where he died shortly after admission. 

– The Scotsman, Monday 15th January, 1900, p.6.


   The body of Mr John Ross, a well-known member of Stonehaven Police Commission, was discovered lying in a frightfully mutilated condition on the railway two miles south of Stonehaven at seven o’clock yesterday morning. Deceased had been amissing since seven o’clock on Monday night, and it is supposed that he had got on to the permanent way from the golf house, and been run down by a south-going train. 

   Commissioner Ross was engaged in the building trade, and was one of the most enterprising builders in the town. He was keenly alive to the attractions of Stonehaven as a summer resort, his voice was often raised in support of schemes for the improvement of the amenities of the town, and his confidence in the future of the town as a sanitarium was shown in the extensive building operations in which he engaged. Indeed, it is not too much to say that the whole of the extension of the town which has taken place within recent years was due to his efforts and example. 

   The news of Mr Ross’ death and the tragic circumstances which attended it threw quite a gloom over the town. He was about 54 years of age, and is survived by a widow and one married daughter, for whom much sympathy is felt. 

– Dundee Courier, Wednesday 17th January, 1900, p.6.


   Yesterday (Thursday) afternoon Captain William Elder, long associated with the ferry passage, was run over at the railway crossing west of the station. The captain, who had been long invalided and resides near the railway, was standing at the crossing when he was knocked down. He escaped, however, with the loss of a foot, and after being attended to by Dr Spence, was removed to the Edinburgh Infirmary. 

– Dundee Courier, Friday 19th January, 1900, p.7.


   A woman named Margaret Eadie (62), a bleach-field worker and hawker, was run over and terribly mutilated on the North British Railway, near Longriggend. She had been in Longriggend hawking, and was walking home along the line with her sister, when a passenger train came along, and deceased was knocked down by the engine, dragged along 30 yards, and literally cut to pieces. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Tuesday 23rd January, 1900, p.3.


   About 11 o’clock this forenoon a boy about three years of age was found lying seriously injured on the lines at Piershill Railway Station. He had apparently been knocked down by a passing train. The unfortunate boy was removed by the St Margaret’s Ambulance to the Royal Infirmary. This afternoon Mr Manson, 6 Dalgety Road, identified the child as his son Harry, aged three years. The child had then succumbed to its injuries. The boy had been lost and strayed on the railway. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Wednesday 24th January, 1900, p.3.

   James Paton, thirty years of age, an electric light attendant at Gushetfaulds Station, Glasgow, on the Caledonian Railway, was knocked down by an engine yesterday afternoon and fatally injured. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Thursday 25th January, 1900, p.3.

   QUEENSFERRY STATIONMASTER’S ARM CUT OFF. – William Reid, stationmaster, South Queensferry, was admitted into Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on Wednesday, having had his arm crushed by a train at the station there. It was found necessary to amputate the limb. 

Linlithgowshire Gazette, Saturday 27th January, 1900, p.8.


   On Saturday afternoon between four and five o’clock a steelworker named Robert Quigley, 27 years of age, and who resided at Gibson’s Land, Mossend, met with a shocking death on the Caledonian Railway near the Lesmahagow Junction at Motherwell. Quigley, it appears, had been at Wishaw collecting funds on behalf of the Mossend strikers, and, on missing the four o’clock train from Motherwell, he proceeded to walk along the line. He walked on the up line for a considerable distance, and would thus have had a full view of any train approaching; but, from some unexplained reason, he made to cross the other line on to the side of the railway just as an engine and van came up behind, and knocked him down. His right arm was terribly crushed, and his left foot was also crushed, death being instantaneous. Dr Jones examined the body, which was taken to Motherwell Station, and afterwards removed home. Deceased was a married man, and leaves a widow and two of a family. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Monday 29th January, 1900, p.3.



   Early yesterday morning, William Dewar (64), surfaceman, in the employment of the N.B. Railway Company, and residing at Freuchie, was killed by a pilot engine on the up line at Falkland Road Railway Station. It appears that deceased did not hear the warning whistle, probably on account of a train passing on the down line, and was struck by the crank of the engine on the left side of the head and knocked down, the base of the skull being fractured. He was taken on to Markinch Station, but expired before the arrival of medical aid. 

– Dundee Courier, Tuesday 30th January, 1900, p.6.

   SCHOOL BOY’S MIRACULOUS ESCAPE. – Gordon Barr, residing at Beaconsfield, Port-Glasgow, had a narrow escape with his life yesterday by falling from a train while in motion. The boy, who is a son of the late Dr Barr, attends the Collegiate School in Brisbane Street, and usually joins the train at Greenock West Station. He did so yesterday. According to his own story, he was in the act of opening the window of the compartment in order to let out the smoke which had entered while the train was passing through the tunnel, when the door suddenly opened and he fell out on the line. Fortunately his injuries were not of a very serious nature, consisting of a few cuts on the head, and he was able to rise. He scrambled up the railway embankment at Shaw Place, and a lady who saw him coming over the railway took him to the Police Office, where he was attended to by Dr Macdougall. Meanwhile the occurrence had been reported at the Central Station on the arrival of the train there, and Mr Martin, stationmaster, despatched a number of men to examine the line between the two stations, and to search for what it was feared would be the body of the boy. Finding no signs of him the men went on to the West Station, and were there gratified to learn that he was quite safe. Barr was afterwards driven home. 

– North British Daily Mail, Tuesday 30th January, 1900, p.3.



   An accident, which terminated fatally, occurred last Wednesday at Grange Station, on the Great North of Scotland Railway, when George Simpson, guard on the 3.10 passenger train from Elgin to Grange, was killed by being knocked down by the workers’ train proceeding from Huntly to Keith. At the time of the sad occurrence, the guard was crossing the line from the Banff platform to the down main line platform, and had not been quick enough in getting clear, as the train struck him heavily and evidently caused instantaneous death. That was the opinion of the medical man from Keith, who examined Simpson in the station to which he had been carried. Deceased, who resided in Elgin, was 40 years of age, and leaves a widow. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Wednesday 31st January, 1900, p.11.


   David McIntosh (16), residing in Ballantyne Place, Leith, and employed as a redcap by the North British Railway Company, died in Leith Hospital yesterday from the effects of injuries sustained on the 27th Jan. While running in front of an engine between the Albert and Edinburgh docks his foot slipped and was caught in the railway points. Before he could be got clear the engine came up and one of the wheels ran on to his left leg, which had to be amputated at the hospital. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Wednesday 31st January, 1900, p.3.

   LESMAHAGOW. – KILLED ON THE RAILWAY. – A man named Lavin was found dead yesterday on the railway between Lesmahagow and Auchenheath Stations, having evidently been knocked down and killed by a passing train. 

– North British Daily Mail, Wednesday 31st January, 1900, p.2.

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