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May 1900

[Scottish Railway Incidents (1900) Contents]

   DISTRESSING OCCURRENCE ON THE RAILWAY. – A case of alleged suicide took place last week the details regarding which are particularly distressing. James Miller, 62 years of age and married, a retired publican residing at 46 Ochil Street, was seem on Thursday forenoon walking along the railway about three quarters of a mile east of Tillicoultry Station. The train from Tillicoultry to Dollar and Perth was due, and on its coming up Miller is said to have deliberately thrown himself in front of the engine and been killed instantaneously. Deceased was found lying on the four-foot way in a terribly mangled condition, and his remains were removed to his house in Ochil Street. Much sympathy is felt for his widow and son in their sudden and unexpected bereavement. 

– Devon Valley Tribune, Tuesday 1st May, 1900, p.3.

   THE FALKIRK RAILWAY FATALITY. – On Saturday afternoon the remains of Wm. Jamieson, the Montrose lad who was killed by a train at Falkirk on Tuesday, were interred at Sleepy-hillock Cemetery, Montrose. The funeral was attended by many friends and acquaintances. Amongst several beautiful wreaths was one subscribed for by employees at Victoria Sawmills, where he wrought before joining the railway service, and the members of the Sawmillers’ Rowing Club. He was one of the club’s most successful coxswains, and eight members of crews whom he had piloted to victory at regattas there and at Aberdeen paid a last tribute to his memory by carrying the coffin from the hearse to the grave. 

– Falkirk Herald, Wednesday 2nd May, 1900, p.4.


   Inquiry was held into the circumstances attending the deaths of Alexander Ponton, a railway surfaceman, and Robert Shaw, a pipelayer, who on the 18th of last month were run down and killed by an engine in the Princes Street Gardens in close proximity to the Haymarket Tunnel. A surfaceman named Partick McGuire said he did not see a passenger train pass, although it was due at the time when the engine passed. Ponton was standing with his back to the engine and Shaw with his face towards it, but the witness gave it as his opinion that as Shaw was a much smaller man than Ponton he might not have observed the engine coming along. Ponton was struck on the head by the engine and knocked across to the opposite line of rails, while he saw Shaw lying on the same line of rails as that on which the engine had passed. Cross-examined, witness said that, practically speaking, Ponton stood and watched so that he might give warning to the men. It was pointed out to his lordship that Shaw was not employed there, but was proceeding along the railway to Fountain-bridge. Formal verdicts were returned in each instance. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Thursday 3rd May, 1900, p.3.


   A man named Patrick Lafferty (50), Carnbroe, has been found on the Caledonian Railway between Whifflet and Coatbridge in an unconscious condition. He was attended by Dr McPhail, who stated that the man’s skull was fractured, and ordered him removed to the Alexandra Hospital. It is not known how the man met with the accident. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Friday 4th May, 1900, p.3.

   MIRACULOUS ESCAPE ON THE RAILWAY. – On Monday evening James Millison, a cattle drover, had a very narrow escape on the Kirriemuir branch of the Caledonian Railway. About half a mile to the east of Kirriemuir Station, Mollison, who was walking on the line, was overtaken by the Arbroath train which reaches Kirriemuir at seven o’clock in a deep curve cutting, and knocked down by the engine. On the arrival of the train an engine and carriage were despatched to his assistance, when it was found he had sustained but little injury. He was advised by the railway officials to proceed to Forfar Infirmary for examination, and for this purpose he was seated in the outgoing train and despatched to Forfar. 

Forfar Herald, Friday 4th May, 1900, p.2.



   Yesterday afternoon John Adams, shunter, Rosebank Place, Aberdeen, while employed at his vocation at Aberdeen Joint Railway Station, slipped and fell on the rails. The wheels of several vehicles of the train he was shunting passed over both his legs, which were fractured. He was removed to the Royal Infirmary, where he succumbed to his injuries. 

– Dundee Courier, Saturday 5th May, 1900, p.6.

   Rather a startling affair is to be brought before the Justice of Peace Court next week. Two young lads are to be charged with “wickedly, wilfully, and maliciously placing and fixed by means of an iron spike across the metals of the railway at Longriggend a wooden fencing rail to the danger of life and detriment of traffic.” The youngsters are said to have gone on the bridge, after fixing up the obstruction, to watch the result as a heavily-laden train came along. 

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, Saturday 5th May, 1900, p.4.

   ACCIDENT ON THE WEST HIGHLAND RAILWAY. – On Saturday evening an accident occurred on the West Highland Railway which caused much damage to rollingstock. The 4.20 through train from Fort-William to Glasgow arrived safely at Arrochar, where a couple of empty carriages were attached. It is stated that the driver of the train, John Thornton, got the permit tablet from the signalman, and believing the line to be clear he proceeded south. The points, however, leading to the siding seem to have been open, and before the driver realised that he had left the main line, the engine dashed into the stationary buffers, carrying them away. The engine overturned on the embankment, and the tender becoming detached fell on the main line, completely blocking it. The first carriage was fortunately empty, as it was badly damaged. The second was also damaged. The driver was much bruised about the head and face, and the freeman had his hand badly lacerated. Although some alarm was caused among the passengers in the other carriages which kept the metals, no one was hurt. A doctor who happened to be in the train and a local medical man attended to the injuries of the driver and fireman. Mr Purvis, the Helensburgh stationmaster, with great promptitude made up a relief train and proceeded to Arrochar, and brought off the passengers, who arrived at Glasgow about three hours late. A breakdown gang from Cowlairs, under Mr Sutherland, reached the scene of the accident about 11 p.m., and worked through the night up till yesterday afternoon, when the men, being thoroughly worn out, had to cease operations. The main line had by that time been cleared, and the tender put on the metals. The engine has yet to be lifted, and operations will be resumed to-day. Two engines and a travelling crane were on the scene of the accident. The operations were under the charge of Inspector Davidson. 

   Inquiry at Queen Street Station elicited few facts to throw light on the accident. The relief train which was despatched from Helensburgh to the scene of the accident arrived in Glasgow shortly after midnight. Passengers bound for Edinburgh were sent on by a special train from Cowlairs. Though the accident caused a good deal of momentary alarm among the passengers, not a single one was injured, and no great inconvenience was caused by the delay, except in the case of three or four people whose destinations were Paisley, Hamilton, and some outlying places, and who of course missed the late local connecting trains. The engine-driver was the only one who sustained injuries, and they were of so slight a nature that he announced his intention of turning in to duty to-day. The breakdown gang which left Cowlairs under Inspector Davidson immediately on receipt of the news of the accident got the line expeditiously repaired and the damaged rolling stock ready for transit. Regarding the cause of the mishap there seems to be no doubt that the siding points were open, but no opinion is vouchsafed by the Glasgow officials as to how this came to be so. 

– North British Daily Mail, Monday 7th May, 1900, p.9.


   Yesterday morning a somewhat serious occurrence took place on the North British Railway between Niddrie and Portobello stations. A goods train, which was coming from Newcastle, was, owing to the signals being against it, slowly moving along, when a pilot engine coming in the same direction dashed into it, with the result that the guards’ van and several of the waggons were thrown off the rails, and severely damaged. Two guards – William Crosbie and John Hune – who were in the van, had a very narrow escape. Both were bruised and cut about the head, and had to be removed to the station where their wounds were dressed. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Monday 7th May, 1900, p.2.

   A BULLOCK THROWS A TRAIN OFF THE RAILS AT RESTON. – On Sunday a bullock which was grazing in an adjoining field strayed on to the North British Railway near Reston while a goods train was approaching, into the way of which it got. The animal was knocked down and killed, while several waggons were thrown off the line. A gang of workmen from Berwick having arrived, the waggons were replaced after some delay, and the train proceeded. 

– The Scotsman, Tuesday 8th May, 1900, p.3.


   The Standing Committee of the House of Commons on Trade yesterday began the consideration of the railway (Prevention of Accidents) Bill. On clause I an amendment allowing railway companies a reasonable amount of time to carry out the requirements of the rules to be made by the Board of Trade was agreed to, after discussion, clause I and a number of subsequent clauses were adopted, and an amendment to clause II was under consideration when further proceedings were adjourned till Thursday. Among other amendments agreed to after discussion was one providing that the Board of Trade might require the use of any plant or appliance which had been shown to the satisfaction of the Board of Trade to be calculated to reduce danger to persons employed on a railway, or the disuse of any plant or appliance which had been similarly shown to involve danger. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Tuesday 8th May, 1900, p.4.

   CLYDEBANK. – FATAL ACCIDENT. – At 3 a.m. on Sunday a man was found on the four foot way of the down line of the North British Railway at Kilbowie by the signalman, Wm. Coulter. He had been knocked down by a passing goods train. He was alive when found, but died shortly after. He was identified as Alexander Chamber, 28 years, mason, 9 Graham Street, Clydebank. He leaves a widow and five of a family. 

– North British Daily Mail, Tuesday 8th May, 1900, p.3.

   MYSTERIOUS RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – As reported in our Saturday’s issue, a man named Patrick Lafferty, residing at Brewsterford, was picked up on the Caledonian Low Level Railway, between Coatbridge and Whifflet, about eleven o’clock on Thursday night in an unconscious condition. Dr McPhail stated that the man’s skull was fractured, and ordered his removal to the Alexander Hospital. The unfortunate man is said to have left Holytown with the 9.30 train due at Whifflet at 10.4 on the night of the accident, and is supposed to have fallen or left the train before the station was reached. Lafferty succumbed to his injuries about ten o’clock on Friday night. 

Coatbridge Express, Wednesday 9th May, 1900, p.2.

   A SITTING of the High Court of Justiciary was held at Glasgow yesterday – Lords Young and Kincairney being the presiding Judges. 

   In the Old Court, before Lord Young, principal interest centred in the case of James Rintoul, a railway signalman, who was charged with culpable homicide. The indictment was to the effect that, on 28th March, when acting as signalman at Charing Cross Station, Glasgow, Rintoul, having accepted the 5.45 A.M. workmen’s train from Bridgeton Cross to Kilbowie, and that train being still in the tunnel, accepted the 6 A.M. workmen’s train from Bridgeton Cross to Kilbowie, by signalling to James Milne, signalman at Queen Street West, Low Level, that the line was clear, and so caused Milne to allow the second train to enter the tunnel and collide with the first, whereby seven workmen were killed. Rintoul pleaded not guilty. In the course of the evidence it was stated that after the accident Rintoul admitted he had been making a cup of tea. He must have forgotten that the 5.45 A.M. train had not passed. Lord Young, in his summing up, remarked that the chief cause of the disaster was the brakes of the first train being in bad order and causing the train to stop in the tunnel. The jury, after an absence of fifty minutes, found the prisoner not guilty. They desired to express their regret that the Company’s rule with regard to the placing of detonators on the line in such circumstances had not been observed; and they further expressed their sense of importance of the brakes in connection with such trains being frequently and efficiently supervised. Lord Young expressed his entire concurrence with the verdict. 

– The Scotsman, Thursday 10th May, 1900, p.7.

   RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – An accident occurred at Neilston station last week by which Bernard Rodden, a goods’ guard, met with a severe injury while engaged shunting, his right foot being almost severed and his head injured. Dr W. A. Pride was in immediate attendance, and had the poor man removed to the Royal Infirmary, and express train due at the time being stopped for the purpose. 

Barrhead News, Friday 11th May, 1900, p.3.

   FATAL RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – A painful railway accident, resulting fatally, took place on Thursday forenoon near Cambus. Kenneth McLennan, 78 years of age, a widower, and a retired railway servant, residing with Mr Robert Fraser, clerk, Cambus, was on Thursday forenoon taking a walk by New Mills Farm, and when crossing the level crossing there he evidently did not observe a train coming along, and was knocked down by the 10.35 a.m. cattle train from Stirling to Dunfermline. He was instantly killed, and his body was afterwards taken home in a mutilated condition. 

– Alloa Advertiser, Saturday 12th May, 1900, p.3.

   MAN KILLED ON THE RAILWAY. – About midnight on Saturday, the dead body of John Crichton (17), labourer, residing at Alloa Junction Cottages, was found lying on the railway about half a mile south of Alloa Junction. Deceased was on his way home, and had been knocked down by a passing train, the head and upper part of the body being much mutilated. His father is employed on the railway at Stirling. 

– Alloa Journal, Saturday 12th May, 1900, p.2.

   A VERY sad railway accident occurred yesterday morning at Greenock, which resulted in the death of four men. An engine and tender left Princes Pier for Glasgow at an early hour. At Cartsburn Junction, the signalman by some unfortunate misunderstanding, turned the engine from the main line onto the short line leading down to the James Watt Dock. The engine was running at a high rate of speed, as on the main line there was a four miles incline to take, while on the branch line there was a sharp decline. Speedily reaching the end of this branch, the engine leaped all obstacles, and falling on soft ground was buried to the funnel, while the tender was tipped on end. On the engine with the driver and stoker were two men, not yet identified, who, having missed the last train on Saturday night, were being favoured with a run to Glasgow. Three of the men were killed instantaneously, and the driver died in a few minutes after he had been extricated. 

– The Scotsman, Monday 14th May 1900, p.6.



   The two passengers killed in the railway accident yesterday have been identified as James Kyle (30), labourer, married, 73 Maitland Street, Glasgow; and James McVey (30), dealer, married, 56 Rose Street, Glasgow. Both men had been to Greenock on Saturday seeing the Channel Fleet, and, missing the train, were getting a run home. The engine has not been lifted yet. Railway experts cannot understand why the driver did not stop when he saw he was on the wrong line. He had a powerful brake. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Monday 14th May, 1900, p.5.








   A deplorable accident, almost unprecedented in the history of the Greenock section of the Glasgow and South-Western Railway, took place on the branch line, near Inchgreen Gasworks early yesterday morning, when an engine ran over the embankment, resulting in the death of four men. Hitherto the railway in this district has enjoyed immunity from serious accident, and the present is the most distressing that has happened since the opening of the line in 1869. The scene of the disaster was the terminus of the railway embankment nearly opposite Inchgreen Gasworks. The branch line is about two miles in length, and joins the main line near Cartsdyke Station, having been constructed by the company some twelve or fourteen years ago in connection with the opening of the James Watt Dock for shipping traffic. The branch, it may also be mentioned, crosses the Port-Glasgow Road a little to the east of Ladyburn Parish Church, and the gradient from the junction to this point is a steep one of 1 in 55. The circumstances attending the melancholy affair are as follows. Throughout the whole of Saturday afternoon there was an extraordinary passenger traffic between Princes Pier and St Enoch Stations consequent on the visit of the Channel Fleet to Greenock, and a special engine was employed in bringing down empty carriages in order to meet the great volume of business which had to be dealt with. The engine, “No. 358,” was detailed to proceed with 


from Glasgow to Greenock, arriving here shortly after midnight. On the completion of this duty and after attending to other arrangements, the two men in charge of the engine took their departure for Glasgow at 2.20 yesterday morning, under the ordinary signals. Accompanying them on the footplate – although this is strictly prohibited by the rules of the company – were two passengers who had boarded the engine unobserved by the officials. In the usual course the engine was “belled” on for Cartsburn junction, and everything seems to have proceeded smoothly till nearing that point. The signalmen there, it is said, on observing the engine, assumed that it was a local one to work at the James Watt Dock, in connection with the Anchor liner City of Rome, which was due there last night. He accordingly, it is alleged, opened the points and sent it on to the Inchgreen branch. On approaching the signal box near the junction the engine was going at a great rate, and there the driver gave a blast of the whistle, which indicated that he meant to proceed along the main line. The signalman – John Laurie, who resides in Prospecthill Street, Greenock – then noticed the error that had been made, but the engine was travelling at too high a speed to attempt to change the points, as in that case there was a serious risk of throwing the engine over the bridge on to the Kilmacolm Road. He could therefore, it is explained, do nothing but allow the locomotive to pass on to the branch line, expecting that the driver would stop as soon as he discovered that he had been 


and return to the main line. As the engine did not reappear, he informed the officials at Princes Pier of the occurrence in order that inquiry might be made. There is considerable speculation as to how the driver did not detect that he was on the wrong line. In the first place, instead of running down an incline the engine should have been going uphill, while there is also the further fact that every second it was nearing a well lighted locality, whereas the proper route was through an agricultural district. Then there is the further circumstance that, under the locking system, a train could not be put on the branch without the main line signal being against it, and vice versa. It is believed by some that the driver failed to notice that the signal was against him. Be the cause what it may, the engine and its occupants had passed on to their doom. Careering down the incline at a terrific rate, the noise being heard for some distance around, the engine sped through the bridge over the Port-Glasgow Road, rounded the curve at the east-end of the James Watt Dock, cleared the points, and, dashing aside the check sleepers at the terminus of the line, plunged 


The tremendous speed at which it must have been going is shown by the fact that both the engine and the tender cleared a distance of over eighty feet, and that in falling the former buried itself at the front fully fifteen feet in the bank of the old timber pond. Some of the night staff in the gasworks near by were early on the scene, and a startling sight presented itself. The tender, which had followed the engine, lay at an angle of about seventy-five degrees at the foot on the embankment. Its contents filled the firebox, where the poor occupants, thrown against the furnace, were literally burned to death. Three of the men were completely buried under the coal, while the fourth, supposed to be the driver, was only partially covered. On arriving, the men from the gasworks immediately set to work with a view to rescuing the victims, but their attempts to extricate them were rendered fruitless by the volumes of scalding steam and the intense heat from the burning coal, which prevented them from remaining any length of time near the spot. Time and again efforts at rescue were made, but all to no purpose. At length the driver, who appeared to be the only one still alive, was reached, but he had only strength left to ask his rescuers to 


Shortly afterwards he expired. Information of the occurrence was at once despatched to Mr Kerr, the stationmaster at Princes Pier; Mr McCracken, the stationmaster at Bogston; Mr William Aitken, traffic inspector, Greenock, and other officials. The services of a number of surfacemen and of some workmen at the James Watt Dock were obtained, and after the steam had spent itself, the victims were extricated from the debris. They presented a shocking sight, their bodies being charred and burned quite beyond recognition, and identification could only be made by remnants of their clothing and also by some small articles found about their persons. It was six o’clock before all the bodies were got out, and they were then conveyed in a van to the Police Mortuary in Dalrymple Street. Here the remains were laid out on stretchers to await identification. In order to assist in that, the driver and fireman were laid at one end of the room, and the others at the opposite side. Their distorted figures presented a gruesome spectacle, and the way in which their limbs were twisted showed that their 


Later in the afternoon three of the bodies were identified, namely:- 

   Alexander Gibson (29), engineer, 87 Naburn Street, Glasgow, married, no family. 

   John Glendinning, jun. (18), fireman, 256 Cumberland Street, Glasgow. His parents reside in Ardrossan, the father being a railway guard. 

    J. Kyle, Glasgow. The only means of identification in this case was a membership card of the Caledonian Club and Institute, Glasgow, found in his pocket, bearing the name J. Kyle, 103.



   Mr John Gordon, one of the night staff at Inchgreen Gasworks, and residing at 97 Port-Glasgow Road, was the only eye-witness of the occurrence. In the course of an interview yesterday afternoon with a “Telegraph” representative, he said: At the time of the accident I was standing near one of the gas-holders. I had heard a noise, and thinking this was caused by some one who had no right to be about the premises I went out to see who it was. Just then I heard an engine coming, and in a few seconds it swept round the curve at the north end of the bridge. When I saw it I thought it was a runaway engine and that it had been sent down here to prevent it doing damage any other place. I tried to see if there were any men on board, but the engine was travelling so quickly I could not descern anyone. In a moment it passed me, and I stood and watched it going down. When it came to the sleepers it sent them spinning like match-wood. The engine made a leap into the hollow. I then ran into the gasworks and gave the alarm that there was an engine over the bank. By the time I got in some of the other workers heard the noise, and were coming out. I went in for help, and on returning to the scene the other men were trying to rescue the only one who was alive. He was supposed to be the engine-driver. When he spoke they started to try and get him out from among the coal, but the steam got the better of them and drove them away. We went back two or three minutes later, but were again forced to retire. Returning afterwards we found the man dead. It seemed then to us there was no more use trying to fight against the steam, knowing the men were all gone. My shift was up at six o’clock, and they were then digging out the bodies. At first we could only make out three of the men. Two were jammed on the one side of the engine, and the other, who was supposed to be the driver, was huddled up on the right hand side. The fourth man was buried altogether under the coal. Judging from the speed the engine was going at from the time it left the junction at Cartsburn to the time it reached the embankment it must only have been about three minutes on the road – a distance of fully two miles. It is my belief the men never knew where they were going. When the engine came round the curve it was travelling at the rate of over sixty miles an hour, and the rails seemed to be in flames, although the brake did not appear to be on. The sparks were flying off the rails. The men never gave any sign, but even if they had cried out you could not have heard them because of the noise the engine was making. When we were trying to rescue the men the driver called out to us “Shut off the steam.” We could not do so, because the valves were all sprung and the gauge-glasses broken. The escaping steam gave us no chance to do anything. there was no great crash as the engine dived into the soft bank. 



   Mr William Aitken, traffic inspector of G. & S.W. Railway for the district, interviewed by one of our representatives, stated that he was informed of the occurrence shortly after it happened. He at once proceeded on a special engine to the scene, along with Messrs Peter Kerr, stationmaster at Princes Pier; James Kerr, locomotive superintendent; and John Law, goods superintendent. They made arrangements for the removal of the bodies to the mortuary. Regarding the disaster, Mr Aitken said that the deceased driver must have been an experienced servant and acquainted with the road, or he would not have been sent back to Glasgow in charge of an engine. At Cartsburn Junction the rule was that if a driver running straight for Glasgow found that the right hand signal was against him, he blew the whistle once, and if then informed that he was to make way for another engine or train, he went to the James Watt Dock line. The engine that was buried, Mr Aitken said, was one of the newest and best class, and had been built at a cost of nearly £3,000. He did not think that it was much damaged, but it would probably be Tuesday before it was dug out and got on the rails. 

   Wm. Thomson, guard, 15 Brougham St., Greenock, was also interviewed. He stated that he was guard on the train of empty carriages that was taken to Greenock by the engine in charge of the deceased driver (Gibson) early on Sunday morning. On arrival at Princes Pier, Gibson remarked to Mr Thomson that they had had a fine run from the city. Gibson then had his engine uncoupled from the empty carriages, and, after taking water, left on his fatal journey. Thomson knew deceased as a quiet young man. That was the second run Gibson had made to Greenock that Saturday. 

   The guard of the train that left Princes Pier Station for Glasgow last night stated that he was very well acquainted with Gibson. All last week, and up to Saturday morning, deceased was the driver of the train on which he (the speaker) was guard. That train ran between Hurlford and Ardrossan, and that, he understood, was deceased’s usual run. He always considered him a likeable chap, and knew that he had only been married for about seven months. 

   William Auld, who was acting as night pilot at Princes Pier Station, early on Sunday morning took the carriages from Gibson’s engine, and spoke to him before he left with the intention of taking the engine to Glasgow. Auld is also said to have observed the two men walking about the station buildings after the departure of the last train for Glasgow. They were both young looking, but he knew none of their names. 



   The news of the disaster quickly spread throughout the district yesterday forenoon, and in the course of the day large numbers visited the spot, which is at the foot of Inchgreen Street and close to the gasworks. A breakdown gang from Hurlford, under the charge of Mr Manson, arrived at an early hour, and operations were at once started with a view to having the tender and engine drawn up onto the line on the embankment. Notwithstanding the powerful appliances used the efforts were unsuccessful. A huge travelling crane was brought into requisition, two locomotives being stationed in the rear. Attention was first given to the tender, which had been uncoupled from the engine, but on several occasions the chain snapped. The operations were watched with considerable interest by the spectators. The engine, which weighs about fifty tons, is one of the newest class, while the tender weighs about thirty tons. Neither seems to be seriously damaged, although the levers and other fittings on the engine are considerably bent and twisted. 

– Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, Monday 14th May, 1900, p.3.





   A RAILWAY smash resulting in the death of one person and the serious injury of several others, took place near Falkirk last evening. The circumstances connected with the accident are that William Scaife, relief driver at Grahamston, in the employment of the Caledonian railway Company, left Grangemouth about 4.40, with an engine and tender, to go to Greenhill. When he arrived at Grangemouth Junction, a quarter of a mile to the east of Grahamston Station, he observed that the line stood clear for the passenger train leaving Edinburgh for Grahamston and the north at 4.5. Scaife attempted to stop his engine, but somehow he failed to accomplish his purpose, and he ran on to the crossing in front of the passenger train. At the crossing which connects Grangemouth branch line to the main line, the Grangemouth engine and tender met the passenger train, and on brushing past it got a severe blow from the Grangemouth engine, which sent the passenger engine off the rails, with some of the carriages. The passenger engine ploughed its way through a sleeper fence, and came to a standstill in a piece of vacant ground on the south side of the up main line. There were a good few passengers in the Edinburgh train. The fire carriage was completely wrecked, but as the front of the Grangemouth engine got twisted by the impact, that saved the other carriages from being similarly smashed. Immediately after the collision there was a great escape of steam from the Grangemouth engine, and the passengers in the compartment opposite it suffered fearfully. The steam poured in on the passengers, and a girl, about eleven years of age, was scalded to death. Her name is unknown, but she joined the train at Manuel, and seemed to be a school girl. A woman named Jane Morrison, who was going to serve at Larbert House, was severely scalded, and was taken to Falkirk Cottage Hospital; while a man named John Findlay, residing at Inchyra House, Perth, was severely injured by steam. The driver of the passenger train, William Preston, Gardner’s Crescent, Edinburgh, had his left leg hurt; while George Dick, Fowler Terrace, Edinburgh, the fireman, together with the driver and fireman of the other engine, escaped uninjured. The girl was taken to Falkirk Mortuary, where the body await identification. The face and chest were very much disfigured. The accident was of such a character that the wonder is there was not a greater loss of life. The passengers, who naturally received a severe shock, got out of the train, and walked to Grahamston Station. Their luggage followed them, and they were subsequently conveyed to their destination. Both the up and down main line from Edinburgh to the north were blocked, and much of the traffic was diverted. A breakdown gang was telegraphed for from Cowlairs, but owing to the position of the engine and carriages of the passenger train, much difficulty was experienced in putting matters right. 

   Later information is to the effect that the girl who was killed is Florence Embla Leslie, eight years of age, daughter of Andrew Leslie, signalman, Bo’ness Junction, Manuel. She left home to catch the 4.20 train for Falkirk, where she was receiving music lessons. 

– The Scotsman, Wednesday 16th May, 1900, p.8.


   Last night an engine fireman was killed by an express train on the Lanarkshire and Dumbartonshire Railway. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Wednesday 16th May, 1900, p.5.

   THE RAILWAY ACCIDENT AT FALKIRK. – William Scaife, engine driver, Grangemouth, in the employment of the Caledonian Railway Company, who had charge of the Grangemouth engine which collided with the 4.5 P.M. train from Edinburgh near Grahamston on Tuesday, was arrested yesterday on a charge of running past the signals, and thus causing the death of the girl, Florence Leslie, daughter of a railway signalman, residing at Manuel, who was a passenger in the train, and who was scalded to death by the steam escaping from the engine. Scaife was afterwards liberated on bail of £50. The woman named Jane Mason, belonging to Penicuik, who was in the compartment in which the little girl was, and who was also severely scalded, is still in the Falkirk Cottage Hospital, and although suffering severely from her burns, she is progressing favourably as can be expected. 

– The Scotsman, Friday 18th May, 1900, p.4.

   The scene of the accident at Inchgreen had its interest for photographers, and, besides amateurs, the half-buried engine and tender were “taken” by camera representatives of various newspapers, who did not wait till Sabbath was over. 

– Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, Friday 18th May, 1900, p.2.


  The representative of West Renfrew in the House of Commons is displaying an industry which deserves the careful attention and consideration of his constituents. No one can be more industrious than Mr Renshaw when class interests come into conflict with the interests of the public. As a champion of landlords and railway directors in opposition to public requirements, he has highly distinguished himself within the last fortnight. In Committee on the Bill for the Prevention of Railway Accidents, his harassing hostility to the proposed legislation has been greater than that of any other member. The Bill is a weak one for its purpose – nothing else could be expected from a Tory Government – yet Mr Renshaw has tried to make it weaker still. His course of action has been in the interest of the railway companies, and against the interest of the railway servants. It is for the employers that he has fought, even on the question of the prevention of accidents to employees; and he himself is one of the employers, being a director of the Caledonian Railway Company and of the Paisley and Barrhead Railway Company. Mr Renshaw moved amendments to limit the operation of the Bill to certain classes of servant, to restrict the power of the Board of Trade to require the use of appliances and plant calculated to reduce danger to persons employed on railways, to put obstacles in the way of inspection by officers of the Board, to prevent the application of the Bill to railways worked under lease, and to confine the powers of the Board in regard to experiments to the one subject of automatic couplings. Fortunately the one-sidedness of his advocacy was so obvious that his destructive proposals were resisted by the independent members of the Committee. Tories as well as Liberals. Even the President of the Board of Trade, as representing the Government, felt it necessary to oppose the efforts of Mr Renshaw to cripple this Bill for the Prevention of Accidents, and consequently all the mischievous amendments of that industrious railway director were defeated. It would have been a public scandal if the efficiency of a measure for the protection of the lives and limbs of the railway workers had been lessened by the action of one of their employers in his position as a member of Parliament, and it was not to do this sort of work that the electors of West Renfrew sent Mr Renshaw to the House of Commons. On Wednesday last, in the House itself, the same class interests were brought to the front again, in opposition to the Scotch Access to Mountains Bill. That very desirable and useful measure was “talked out” by Mr Renshaw – who in the matter of talk can “go on” like “the brook,” whatever else he can do. He did his best to defend the indefensible exclusion of the public from mountain and moorland, and in the course of his talk against time he made the interesting statement that there were many moorland districts in the neighbourhood of big towns like Glasgow, Greenock, Ayr, Perth, and Dundee where there was a large urban population, and that the effect of passing legislation of this kind would be absolutely destructive to the uses to which that moorland property was put at the present time. The present uses are the preservation of game and the pasturage of sheep. There would have been no interference with these uses if the Bill had been passed, as it contained ample safeguards. Mr Renshaw’s mention of Greenock is illuminating. There is a moorland estate up among the hills behind Greenock, and it happens that the owner is Mr Renshaw. In opposing and killing the Bill he fought for his own interest against the public interest. The electors of West Renfrew sent him to Parliament to represent them. In these things he has not represented his constituents, but has represented purely class interests; and it is evident that a change in the representation of the constituency is necessary. 

– North British Daily Mail, Friday 18th May, 1900, p.4.


   Excellent Photographs of the Disabled Engine, taken by MR NORMAN HUNTER, on Sale at MILLER’S, 71 Princes St.   6d each. 

– Port-Glasgow Express, Friday 18th May, 1900, p.2.

   FATAL ACCIDENT NEAR DALMENY. – While a goods train was passing en route from Sighthill to Perth, via Forth Bridge, on Tuesday night, the fireman was killed. The stoker, David Miller (28), married, and living at Cowlairs, was at work on the tender, when he came in contact with a bridge over the line between Kirkliston and Dalmeny stations. Death was instantaneous. 

Linlithgowshire Gazette, Friday 18th May, 1900, p.8.

   ARDROSSAN MAN KILLED AT GREENOCK. – The feeling of sadness and regret aroused in the West of Scotland generally by the terrible railway accident which occurred at Greenock in the early hours of Sunday morning was deepened here by the knowledge that John Glendinning, jr., Ardrossan, was one of the four men killed. Briefly, the circumstances of the accident are these:- A light engine and tender left Princes Pier for Glasgow, at 2.30 a.m., with driver and fireman on board, and two other persons, believed to have been passengers who had been in Greenock in consequence of the visit of the Channel Fleet, and had missed the last train to Glasgow. Presumably through the mistake of the signalman at Cartsburn box, the engine was turned into a branch line running alongside the James Watt Dock. The locomotive rushed downhill at a terrific pace, and, reaching the end of the line, crashed into a pile of sleepers, and, clearing about ten yards of ground, buried itself in the embankment. The men seem to have been thrown against the furnace door, the falling coal from the tender rendering escape impossible. Assistance was not long in forthcoming, but the unfortunate men were beyond human aid. The fireman and the two others were dead; the engineman was still living, but he died after uttering a request to those near him to shut off the steam. John Glendinning was the fireman. He was the son of John Glendinning, one of the best known passenger guards on the Ardrossan section. Young John was employed for some time as coachman to Dr. Allan, but subsequently entered the service of the railway company, and had been lodging in Glasgow for some time. He was only eighteen years of age. The news was broken to the bereaved father on Sunday night by Mr Frew, stationmaster, and Mr Nisbet, night locomotive foreman. The body was buried in Ardrossan on Tuesday, when a short funeral service was conducted in the Free Church by the Rev. R. M. Adamson. The sympathy of the community goes out in warm and full measure to the mourning parent and family. 

– Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, Friday 18th May, 1900, p.5.

   A SAD ACCIDENT. – Much sympathy is expressed here for Mrs Thom, lately resident in Deskford Street, who left Cullen last November to reside in Glasgow with her son, who supported his widowed mother. This son, John Thom, aged 21 years, has met a sad death. He was a driver, and after uncoupling his engine from a workman’s train at Kilbowie Station in connection with the Caledonian Railway, he was struck on coming out by the Rutherglen express to Balloch and decapitated. 

– Elgin Courant, and Morayshire Advertiser, Friday 18th May, 1900, p.5.

   ACCIDENT TO A MINER. – On Friday night last a miner named Patrick Kelly, residing in Low Port, Linlithgow, met with an accident while proceeding to his work at Champfleurie. At the time of the accident Kelly was walking along the railway embankment to join the workmen’s train. It happened that some women were on the embankment at the same time, and he was warning them to look out lest they might get hurt when he was himself struck by the pilot engine, which had been taking a flying shunt, and had his leg broken. He was conveyed home, and attended to by Dr Mackenzie, who ordered his removal to the Royal Infirmary. 

– Falkirk Herald, Saturday 19th May, 1900, p.3.

   FATAL RAILWAY ACCIDENT IN ABERDEEN. – A Railway platform porter at Aberdeen, named John Dean Smith (21), died in the Royal Infirmary on Saturday afternoon from the result of injuries he received while shunting at the station. 

– The Scotsman, Monday 21st May, 1900, p.9.

   Goods guard Killed in Midlothian. – John Anderson, a goods guard, in the employment of the North British Railway Company, and residing at 47 St Leonard’s Street, Edinburgh, was accidentally killed while shunting his train at Niddrie West Goods Station on Saturday afternoon. The train was being “propelled” to the down loop in the south yard, and deceased, having given the signal to move the train, was attempting, after the train had started, to regain his van, when his foot slipped on the step and he fell amongst the wheels. He leaves a widow and a number of young children. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Monday 21st May, 1900, p.4.


   On Saturday afternoon John Anderson, goods guard, was killed on the North British Railway at Niddrie (West) goods station. He was engaged shunting his train, which was being shoved backward by the engine, and on trying to clamber into his van at the end of the train he fell and was run over. His right shoulder and side were smashed up and his head cut. Death was instantaneous. The fireman on the engine had noticed the accident and stopped the train. The body was sent home. Anderson lived at 47 St Leonard Street, Edinburgh, and leaves a widow and seven children. 

– North British Daily Mail, Monday 21st May, 1900, p.4.


   William Marshall (fifty-two years), goods porter, Larbert, was accidentally killed at Dundee yesterday. It seems that with the view of visiting his relatives in Hilltown, Dundee, he joined the midnight mail at Larbert. On reaching Dundee, while the train was in motion he jumped from the carriage to the platform, and stumbling, fell heavily on his head. He was picked up unconscious, and being carried to his relatives’ house expired. Deceased leaves a widow and grown-up family. 

– Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, Monday 21st May, 1900, p.3.




   Shortly after eight o’clock last night a boy named Matthew Beith, aged nine years, and son of Archibald Beith, joiner, 87 Wellington Street, met with a serious accident in Brachelston Street. It appears that he was amusing himself by climbing on the railing of the railway bridge there, when he lost his balance and fell over on to the line, a distance of nearly twenty feet. He was happily picked up by Constables Mackenzie and Thomson a few minutes before the arrival of a train from Glasgow. Beith received a fracture of the left arm and also sustained severe injuries to his back. He was afterwards removed home, where he had his injuries attended to by a doctor. 

– Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, Thursday 24th May, 1900, p.2.

   FIRE ON A RAILWAY TRAIN. – About four o’clock on Saturday afternoon a goods train of 13 waggons arrived at Drem Station. Four of the waggons were on fire, and two barrels of whisky, household furniture, &c., were destroyed. The fire was put out by taking the waggons under the engine water supply pipe. The waggons were left behind at the station. Four passenger expresses from Dunbar were kept back fully half an hour. 

– East of Fife Record, Friday 25th May, 1900, p.6.

Fatal Railway Accident

   On Sunday forenoon a young man named John Cowan, who resided at Milton Street, met with a fatal accident within the Caledonian Railway Company’s locomotive sheds. He was employed as a washer-out, and while at work was reaching out between two engines to get a match from a fellow-workman when he was jammed between the buffers. He died from the effects of his injuries on Monday morning. 

Motherwell Times, Friday 25th May, 1900, p.2.


   A largely-attended meeting of railway directors, railway managers, and members of Parliament was held yesterday afternoon in one of the Committee Rooms of the House of Commons upon the subject of the Accidents to Railway Servants Bill. It was agreed not to oppose the Parliamentary progress of the Bill. 

– Dundee Courier, Friday 25th May, 1900, p.6.

   RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – On Monday night an accident, which might have had serious consequences, occurred on the railway rather more than a mile above Neilston. When the train from Kilmarnock, which is due in Barrhead at 8.30, was nearing Shilford Bridge one of the wheels in the third carriage from the engine seems to have broken, with the result that that carriage left the rails, pulling the one in front and the guard’s van with it. The de-railed carriages were first dashed against the wall at the side of the cutting, and then swinging to the other side were thrown on to the up-line over which they were dragged for quite a quarter of a mile before the engine was pulled up. Fortunately only three persons were in the carriages affected, and by a kind of miracle they all escaped with nothing more serious than bruises and a severe shaking. For sometime traffic was pretty much disorganised, the permanent way being badly cut up. 

Barrhead News, Friday 25th May, 1900, p.3.





   A sad accident happened this afternoon at Monifieth. The infant son of Alexander Edwards, signalman, strayed on to the line at Lyell’s Crossing, a little to the west of the railway station, and the 2.30 train from Dundee struck the child, and killed it instantaneously. The body was removed to a waiting room at the station, and Dr Sinclair Smith was called. The child was about two years of age. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Saturday 26th May, 1900, p.5.


   Andrew Wilson, a surfaceman employed by the North British Railway Copany at Haymarket West, was, while engaged at his work on Saturday, knocked down by an engine. He was taken to the Royal Infirmary, and died yesterday morning. It was a Caledonian Railway engine which knocked the man down. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Monday 28th May, 1900, p.3.

   THE Railways (Prevention of Accidents) Bill is gradually fighting its way through Parliament, and if it comes through the ordeal unmutilated by the pruning knife of railway interests it should prove a useful measure in the protection of both public and railway employees. Still, much more can be done to guard the railwayman at work. Already he is protected by a long list of stereotyped Company regulations, but the point is, Have the Companies taken stringent enough measures to ensure the observation of these regulations upon all occasions? It is to be feared that in too many cases the rules are more honoured in the breach than in the observance, and that, too, with the connivance of officials. What is wanted is that the present regulations should be really operative, and not merely serve the purpose of shielding the companies at fatal accident inquiries. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Tuesday 29th May, 1900, p.4.

   The Scottish railway companies have notified their agents that they have withdrawn the rule which came into operation on the first of this month requiring them to charge at parcel rate for all produce and provisions conveyed by passengers when it exceeded 7 lbs. This will now come under the luggage rule, allowing 60 lbs. weight per parcel. The companies have thus had to give effect to the loud outcry made against their new regulation. 

– Dundee Courier, Tuesday 29th May, 1900, p.3.


   Yesterday afternoon, just after the 4.13 passenger train from Perth to Glasgow (Buchanan Street) had resumed the journey from Larbert Station, the last carriage, which was a third composite, by some means jumped form the rails, and the wheels taking a loop line, the carriage tilted over, but, fortunately, did not fall on its broadside. There were nine passengers in the carriage, who, when they were extricated, were found to be suffering from little more than a severe shock, and were able to proceed on their journey. Through the energy of Mr Smyth, the assistant stationmaster, traffic was not seriously delayed. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Tuesday 29th May, 1900, p..2.


   Harry Jones, signalman at Grahamston, who has been arrested in connection with the recent fatal railway collision there, is a young man of high character, married, and resides in Falkirk. The charge is that he neglected to carry out the railway block regulations, it being alleged that he should have had his points set for slowing the Grangemouth engine on to another line before taking it on to the block system. Jones’ arrest does not minimise the charge against the driver of the Grangemouth engine, Scaife, who has also been arrested, as the signals were against him although the points were wrong. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Wednesday 30th May, 1900, p.4.

   To-day the Highland Railway train from Keith, which arrives at Elgin at 12.15, ran down a man, who was walking on the railway near Elgin, and killed him instantaneously. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Thursday 31st May, 1900, p.5.
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