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October 1900

[Scottish Railway Incidents (1900) Contents]

   MAN KILLED ON THE RAILWAY IN PERTHSHIRE. – The body of a man was found lying at the side of the Highland Railway at Black Tank, near Struan, yesterday morning. It was identified as that of a navvy named John McLeod (30), who is believed to have belonged to Dundee. Deceased had apparently been run down by one of the night trains while proceeding along the railway to his home. 

– The Scotsman, Tuesday 2nd October, 1900, p.8.


   On Saturday evening Mr Thomas Dale, coachman, Parkhill House, met with a serious accident at Dyce Railway Station. The unfortunate man travelled from Aberdeen by the 9.45 suburban train, and on arriving at Dyce stepped out of the carriage before the train came to a standstill. The result was that he was drawn in between the footboard and the platform. The train, however, was immediately stopped, and Mr Dale was extricated from his perilous position. He was conveyed home to Parkhill House, where he was attended by Dr Oliphant. Mr Dale was very severely bruised, and is suffering from Internal injuries. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Wednesday 3rd October, 1900, p.11.


   Yesterday the Pollokshaws police remanded Alexander Dawson, railway engine-driver, and Matthew McGowan, stoker, to the Sheriff Court at Paisley on a charge of a serious character. The information in the hands of the police is that on the previous evening the prisoners were considerably intoxicated while in charge of the Cathcart circle train which leaves the Central Station at eleven o’clock. The train arrived at Pollokshaws East Station overdue, having made a very slow journey from Crosshill. As the train came to a stop at the station the stoker fell off the engine on to the line, quite incapable of remaining at his post. The water in the boiler was exhausted, and the engine was therefore unable to take the train further. Another engine was procured, and the train left for the city about 12.30 a.m., the last train, which had been kept waiting at Langside Station, following up. On being examined in the Police Office the driver said that the drink had been supplied by a friend. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Wednesday 3rd October, 1900, p.3.

   On Tuesday afternoon a miner named John McGinnis, residing at Calton Street, Tollcross, Glasgow, met his death at Mount Vernon Station. It appears that the unfortunate man, who was employed at Daldowie Colliery, was returning home from his work by way of the railway, and in attempting to cross the line before the approach of a passing train was run down and killed instantaneously. 

– Dundee Courier, Thursday 4th October, 1900, p.3.

   TICKET COLLECTOR KILLED AT CROSSMYLOOF STATION. – Francis Bradley (16), ticket collector at Crossmyloof Station, was accidentally killed last night. How the accident occurred is not known, Bradley being found lying on the lines with his skull fractured, and other terrible injuries. He died in the Victoria Infirmary. 

   DUNDEE TRAIN RUNS INTO CATTLE. – Last night a passenger train from Newport to Dundee ran into a herd of cattle which had strayed on to the line, with the result that three of the carriages were derailed, and five cattle were killed. Consternation prevailed amongst the passengers, but fortunately no one was injured. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Thursday 4th October, 1900, p.6.

   WHILE the 7.40 train from St Andrews was passing East Newport on Wednesday, the engine rushed into a number of cattle belonging to Mr Reid, Peasehills, killing five of them and derailing several of the carriages. None of the passengers was injured. The cattle were being driven near to the railway, and when they strayed on to the line the attendant tried to drive them off, but was too late with those killed. 

– St. Andrews Citizen, Saturday 6th October, 1900, p.5.

   ACCIDENT ON THE HIGHLAND RAILWAY. – A rather alarming accident occurred on the Keith to Portessie branch of the Highland line on Saturday night. When the last train from Keith for the day left Drybridge Station the goods brake van, which was the last vehicle on the train, had become detached. The brakesman in the van, finding that the vehicle was following alone, made an attempt to put on the brake, but failed. He then jumped off, and the van as it gathered speed raced down the line and dashed into the train, which had stopped at Ruthven Station. Fortunately there was a couple of trucks of stones and a store van in the rear of the carriages, and the run-away vehicle collided with the van, completely smashing it. There were about a score of passengers on the train, but beyond a severe shaking they escaped without injury. 

– The Scotsman, Monday 8th October, 1900, p.9.


   Shortly after three o’clock on Saturday afternoon the engine-driver of the 3.21 train from Maryhill to Airdrie informed the stationmaster at Glasgow Cross that his engine had gone over something about a hundred yards west of the station. A search was made, and the body of a man cut in two and otherwise severely mangled was found lying on the north line of the rails. The body was removed to the mortuary at the Central Police Office, and in the evening it was identified as that of Patrick Larkie, a miner, who lived with Michael Doyle at Tennyside, Uddingston. He left Uddingston in the afternoon by train for Glasgow. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Monday 8th October, 1900, p.3.


   A shocking discovery was made on the Caledonian railway line near Ninewells this morning, the dead body of a man being found on the railway. The discovery was made by the driver of an outgoing train, who at once apprised the signalman at Ninewells, who in turn acquainted the authorities at Dundee. When the body was lifted it was found that an incoming train had passed over the man’s head, cutting it in two. The remains were removed to the mortuary at Dundee, where they lie for identification. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Thursday 11th October, 1900, p.3.

   LAD KILLED AT THE STATION. – James McLean (16), porter in the service of the N.B. Railway Company at Stirling Station, was killed while crossing the line yesterday about 5.20 P.M., having unwittingly stepped in front of the 4.13 train from Perth. He was crossing to attend a train standing at the Stirling and Dunfermline platform, and he failed to observe the train approaching, of which he had a clear view. Death was instantaneous, the body being badly mangled. His father, Colin McLean, is employed as a carter with Messrs Wordie & Co. He had just been a few weeks in the company’s employment. 

– North British Daily Mail, Friday 12th October, 1900, p.3.



   The mutilated body of a young man was discovered on Sunday forenoon on the Banavie branch of the West Highland Railway at a point about half a mile from Banavie Station. The remains were identified as those of George Murray (22), West-End Buildings, Fort-William. Deceased was an engine cleaner in the employment of Messrs McAlpine and Sons, contractors for the Mallaig Railway. He was last seen in Fort-William about 7 o’clock on Saturday night and it is thought that in making his way to where he was employed he had followed the railway and been run down by the evening train from Fort-William on Saturday. The body was horribly mangled, the head being much cut and disfigured and both legs severed from the trunk. 

– Huntly Express, Friday 12th October, 1900, p.3.




   THIS forenoon Mr Arnott, District Superintendent of the North British Railway Company, who is stationed at Burntisland, while in Perth in connection with the special sheep sales met with an accident. It appears that while stepping off the platform by means of the steps at the permanent way, placed there for the accommodation of the servants, his foot slipped and he fell heavily, his head striking the rail, and causing a gash over the eye. The concussion rendered him unconscious for a time. He was removed to the Infirmary where his injuries were attended to by Dr Trotter, the House Surgeon. Mr Arnott was afterward able to leave for home by the 1.10 train. 

Perthshire Advertiser, Wednesday 17th October, 1900, p.5.

   FURTHER RAILWAY PROSECUTIONS. – A Justice of Peace Court was held in Kirkcaldy on Friday, when five men drawn from Methil, Buckhaven and East Wemyss, were charged with trespassing on Methil branch line for a distance varying from 100 to 300 yards, on Sunday, 19th August. The prosecutor stated that of late a great number of accidents had taken place, not only in Fife but in other districts, through persons trespassing on the railways as charged, and he hoped a warning would be taken now, as the penalty was £2 or 14 days’ imprisonment. They pleaded guilty and were fined 5s each with from 11s to 17s of expenses, the alternative being five days’ imprisonment. The Company is urged to continue their present actions by the Board of Trade in the interests of public safety. 

– Leven Advertiser & Wemyss Gazette, Thursday 18th October, 1900, p.3.


   This afternoon, at 12.30, Walter Ritchie, parcel deliverer at Dunblane Station, was killed on the railway just a little above Dunblane Station. He had been delivering parcels, and was returning by the line to shorten the distance. He seemed also to have been reading and have had his mind taken off the danger he was in. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Friday 19th October, 1900, p.4.

   ACCIDENT ON THE RAILWAY. – An accident occurred on the Cathcart District Railway at Pollokshaws East Station on Saturday evening to a woman named Mrs Burnett, residing at 196 Eglinton Street, Glasgow. While waiting on the platform Mrs Burnett turned ill, and fell on to the line just as a train was approaching. The train passed over her right foot, and the leg had to be amputated below the knee. 

Barrhead News, Friday 19th October, 1900, p.3.


   LAD KILLED. – On Saturday William Watkins, aged 16, son of Mr George Watkins, Broomknowes, keeper of the golf course, was killed at the station. The lad was an apprentice gardener at Dullatur House. On Saturday he attended the arrival of the 1.52 p.m. train from Glasgow to carry any parcel that might arrive for his employer. Being informed by Mr Aitken, the porter, that there was no parcel, Watkins jumped down behind the van and was crossing the railway as a ballast train for Glasgow came along. He got to the edge of the down platform, on which his father was standing. His father seized the lad by the shoulders but was unable to drag him up before he was caught between the footboard and the platform. The poor fellow was badly crushed, an arm and a leg being broken, while he must have received severe internal injuries judging from the circumstance that his watch was twisted out of shape. Mr Jollie, stationmaster, sent for Dr Love, Cumbernauld, but Watkins died 15 minutes after the accident. Mr Watkins in trying to rescue his son had a narrow escape from injury, being almost drawn off his feet. 

– Kirkintilloch Gazette, Saturday 20th October, 1900, p.2.

   SERIOUS ACCIDENT. – At the [Rothes] railway station on Tuesday afternoon, between five and six o’clock, Mr James Allan, coal and general merchant, received a rather serious accident by falling off a railway waggon while loading bales of straw. It appears that Mr Allan was pulling a bale of straw into position on the waggon, while two labourers who were on the loading bank were assisting him by pushing it, when by some unexplained means the grip he had of the straw came with him, and he toppled backwards off the waggon down on to the rails. In his descent his head came in contact with the retaining wall of the platform, which caused two severe scalp wounds. Otherwise he was badly injured, and when lifted by the men who were assisting him, was thought to be dead. He was conveyed home in an unconscious condition, and except for a few lucid intervals, has been more or less in a torpid condition up to the time of writing. 

–  Northern Scot and Moray & Nairn Express, Saturday 20th October, 1900, p.5.



   A most unfortunate accident occurred at Clunes Station last Saturday, and which, resulted in severe injury to Simon Fraser, goods guard, residing at 44 Denny Street, Inverness. Fraser, who was guard of the goods train due at Inverness at 7.55 p.m., was engaged in coupling waggons at Clunes Station, when a sudden movement of the waggons drew him under the rails, severely crushing his left leg. He was at once picked up and first aid rendered him. Meantime medical assistance was summoned, and Dr Macfadyen, Inverness, arrived at Clunes, and did everything possible to relieve the injured man. Mr Fraser was removed to Inverness by the 9.20 p.m. passenger train, and at once conveyed to the Northern Infirmary, when, on examination, his leg was found to be so badly injured that amputation below the knee was considered necessary. The operation was successfully carried out, and Mr Fraser is getting on as well as can be expected. Of sound constitution and steady habits, it is hoped that in spite of the shock and the serious loss of blood, he will make a good recovery. News of the accident was received with much regret by his acquaintances and fellow railwaymen in Inverness, and much sympathy is felt both for him and for Mrs Fraser and family. Mr Fraser was one of the oldest and most respected servants of the Highland Railway Company, having joined the services as far back as 1863. He is about 60 years of age. 

– Highland News, Saturday 20th October, 1900, p.4.


   Last night an accident occurred at Hamilton Caledonian Central Station. An empty passenger train was being shunted out form the station from the up platform, and it appears that the driver mistook the signals, which were against him. He proceeded on, and the result was that his train collided at the points with a couple of engines coming in the opposite direction. The buffers of the two engines were completely smashed, and two of the wheels of the passenger engine derailed. The station staff, under Mr Hastings, stationmaster, at once set to work, and in a little over an hour had everything clear. The block caused a considerable derangement of the passenger traffic throughout the evening. 

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

   FATAL ACCIDENT INQUIRY. – An inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of Robt. Harkness, shunter, 38 Crawfurd Street, Glebe, was held by Sheriff Begg and a jury at the Sheriff Court yesterday. Deceased was shown to have met his death on the morning of 22d September while employed at the railway crossing at the foot of Ker Street shunting waggons. He was run over, and died almost instantaneously. 

– North British Daily Mail, Tuesday 23rd October, 1900, p.3.





   An accident of a very regrettable character occurred last night at the level crossing over the dock lines at Seaforth, Burntisland. Mr Charles MacDonald of Craigkennochy Terrace, retired farmer, was walking round the dock, and had reached the railway crossing when a train of waggons which was being shunted came suddenly upon him, and knocked him down. Several of the waggons passed over the prostrate man, and injured him so terribly that he died on being removed into the oil mill adjoining. The deceased gentleman was greatly respected in the locality, and, being of a genial disposition and well informed, he had many friends who mourn his sudden removal. Mr MacDonald was a native of Stirlingshire, and before going to reside in Burntisland was tenant of the farm of Colquhally, in the neighbourhood of Lochgelly. He leaves a widow and one son, for whom much sympathy is felt. 

– Dundee Courier, Wednesday 24th October, 1900, p.6.

   FATALITY ON THE RAILWAY. – About seven o’clock on Tuesday morning a railway labourer named Peter Black found the body of a man lying on the line about a mile north of Stonehaven. Mr Mitchell, station agent, and others had the body removed to Stonehaven Station. Inquiries were instituted by Inspector Farquharson, which led to the deceased being identified as Alexander Bruce, farmer, Kernoon, south of Stonehaven. Deceased left home at six o’clock on the evening previous, stating that he was going for a short walk. The head was considerably smashed by a north-going train. Deceased was 37 years of age, and was of a desponding disposition. He was unmarried, and much sympathy is felt for his parents. 

– Stonehaven Journal, Thursday 25th October, 1900, p.2.

   ACCIDENT AT QUEEN STREET STATION. – James Smith, thirty years of age, a painter, residing at 149 Graeme Street, Glasgow, while engaged yesterday along with other workmen painting the roof of Queen Street Railway Station, fell from a scaffold which hung at a height of over fifty feet above the platform. In all likelihood he would have been killed on the spot had his fall not been broken by his alighting upon a man who, unfortunately for himself, happened to be standing immediately underneath. Smith sustained a fractured arm, a severe scalp wound, and internal injuries; while the other man, a foreign hawker named Charles Bungeon, was injured about the back in addition to suffering a severe shock. Both men were taken to the Royal Infirmary. 

– The Scotsman, Friday 26th October, 1900, p.4.

  Man Killed on the Railway. – On Thursday of last week an unfortunate accident happened by which a labouring man named [John] Smith was killed near Muldron Junction on the Caledonian railway. It is supposed he was going to Blinkbonny, and was walking along the line. Just below the point where the accident occurred there is a sharp curve, round which an express train dashed, when the man was observed by some school children to step in front of the train. They called attention to the fact that he was nowhere to be seen, and a gentleman walked up the line to look for him. The body of Smith was found in a dreadfully mangled condition. Information was given to the railway officials, and the body was conveyed to the mortuary at Fauldhouse Cemetery. Smith was engaged at the tenement in course of erection at the West End. 

– West Lothian Courier, Friday 26th October, 1900, p.8.

   ACCIDENT. – On Friday of last week, Wm. Smith, labourer with Messrs Wilson & Wallace, builders, West Calder, was killed on the railway at Leavenseat, near West Calder. It appears he was proceeding to his work, and in stepping out of the road of the train he stepped in front of the mid-day express and was killed. 

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, Saturday 27th October, 1900, p.6.

   RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – On Tuesday, a lad named John Hunter Boyd (14), apprentice joiner, residing at Hollinhurst, met with a sad accident while crossing the Caledonian railway at the southend of the Whifflet (Low Level) Station. He had been taking a near cut when a mineral train approached and knocked him down. His left leg was cut off below the knee and his right foot was severely lacerated. The unfortunate lad was attended by Dr McPhail who ordered his removal to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. 

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, Saturday 27th October, 1900, p.5.

   ACCIDENT AT UPHALL STATION. – On Monday afternoon while Robert Mitchell, wagon examiner, was walking along the railway towards the station after examining the wagons in Camps branch, and was in the act of stooping down, he was struck on the head by the van of a goods train coming off the same branch, which he had neither heard nor seen coming. His head was severely cut. Dr Stewart’s assistant was in attendance. 

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, Saturday 27th October, 1900, p.6.

   A TRAIN RUNNING INTO CATTLE AT NEWBURGH. – On Friday evening Mr Mitchell, Fliskmiln, brought by rail to Newburgh ten cattle which he had bought at Perth that day. When taking them off the trucks at Newburgh, they ran east the line; but the cattleman gave information, it is said, at the booking office so that the passenger train due in Newburgh at eight o’clock might not be allowed to leave Collessie until the cattle were captured. Notwithstanding this, the train, it appears, came on and ran into the cattle near Collessie, killing one of their number. The train itself was brought to a stop. Had the accident occurred at Clatchart Craig the risk of serious consequences would have been greatly increased. 

– St. Andrews Citizen, Saturday 27th October, 1900, p.7.

   The 4.20 p.m. train from Macduff was delayed for two hours on Saturday about a mile north of Turriff Station owing to the connecting rod on the off side of the engine giving way. The accident occurred opposite the farm of Knockiemill while the train was going at full speed on a downhill grade, and the train ran for half-a-mile before being brought to a stand-still. The loose end of the connecting rod did considerable damage to the engine, tearing off the cover of the driving wheel, breaking the tubing, so that the Westinghouse brake was rendered useless, and only the brakes of the two brake vans were available, which accounts for the distance covered after the accident occurred. Thomas Hardy, the fireman, got his forehead and a finger lacerated and torn by splinters from the engine. 

Banffshire Journal and General Advertiser, Tuesday 30th October, 1900, p.8.

   RAILWAY ACCIDENT AT CLYDEBANK. – On Monday evening, while a porter named John Carroll, was crossing the Lanarkshire and Dumbartonshire line at Clydebank, he was knocked down by a train and seriously injured about the head and lower limbs. He was removed to the Western Infirmary. 

– The Scotsman, Wednesday 31st October, 1900, p.9.
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