January 1902


   Heavy rain with a strong wind, which caused the heavy accumulation of snow on the hills and low ground to melt rapidly, brought down the streams in high flood yesterday. About two o’clock in the morning the Gelly Burn, which flows into the South Queich at Loch Leven Station, overflowed its banks at the railway bridge, and ran between the railway track for some distance, but beyond the trains having to slow down in passing over the flooded portion of the line there was no detention to traffic… 

– Dundee Courier, Wednesday 1st January, 1902, p.4.







   A shocking accident occurred on the railway at Dundee Tay Bridge Station to-day. The victim is a young man of respectable appearance, whose identity has not yet been established, and he lies in the Royal Infirmary in a dying condition. He appears to have been observed hanging about the station about six o’clock in the morning. At this time he endeavoured to pass along the line into the tunnel, but he was prevented by the signalman on duty at the cabin at the end of the platform. Subsequently, however, he seems to have avoided notice. About eight o’clock a surfaceman was horrified to find him lying in a mangled condition on the north-going line not far from the platform. It is supposed that he had been run down by a goods train leaving Dundee about half-past seven o’clock. Assistance was obtained, and the unfortunate fellow was removed to the station premises, where he was medically attended to. He was terribly mutilated, and no hopes are entertained for his recovery. 



   The unfortunate fellow died soon after he was admitted to the Infirmary. At eleven o’clock his identity had not been discovered. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Wednesday 1st January, 1902, p.4.





   Yet another New year tragedy has occurred in the Dundee district, and the circumstances of this fatality are extremely sad. Like the still unknown victim of the shocking fatality which occurred in the Tay Bridge tunnel yesterday morning, another person has met a fearful death mainly caused by wandering too near the railway line while under the influence of intoxicating liquor. 

   The sad affair occurred at Leuchars Station. Shortly after eight o’clock this morning whilst the driver of the 8.15 train from Dundee to Edinburgh was a short distance from Leuchars Station he observed a man walking alongside the line, and suddenly, to his horror, the man staggered and fell on the rails of the up line when the train was only about thirty yards distant. The driver immediately applied the brakes, but of course it was impossible to stop the train before it had passed over the spot where the unfortunate man lay. On the train being brought to a standstill the driver and several of the railway officials went back and found, a few yards from the south end of the station platform, the body of a man in a shocking state of mutilation, the man having been killed instantaneously. The body of the man was immediately identified, however, by nearly all those present as that of Robert Gillespie, a working man who resides near Leuchars. Deceased was highly respected by all those who knew him. 

   It is only a few days ago that Gillespie’s wife died, leaving him with six young children, and since then he had been in a most despondent state. 

   It is understood that at an early hour this morning Gillespie rose, and, despite the entreaties of his oldest boy, left the house. He was afterwards seen walking about by one or two people who were acquainted with him, but he was not noticed by any of the railway officials about the station. 

   Deceased was a middle-aged man, and well-known in the locality. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Thursday 2nd January, 1902, p.4.



   About noon to-day, while two little boys were walking on the railway 300 yards east from Jamestown Station, one of the two, named Stephen Bishop, aged seven years, attempted to cross the line in front of an approaching Stirling train, the engine of which struck the boy on the head, knocking him between the six foot way. Death was instantaneous. Deceased was the son of Mr John Bishop, Jamestown. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Saturday 4th January, 1901, p.3.







   Although the year is but a week old its roll of fatalities is already of considerable length. 

   This morning another fatality of a shocking nature has to be recorded, having taken place on the Dundee and Arbroath Joint Line between West Ferry and Stannergate. 

   Shortly after daylight this morning, while two surfacemen were making an inspection of the line between these two stations they came upon the body of a man lying in the four-foot way. the discovery was at once reported, and Mr David Gray, stationmaster at West Ferry; Mr Mackay, stationmaster at Stannergate, and several other officials were promptly on the scene. It was at once seen that the unfortunate victim had met his death in a shocking manner. 

   The body was lying between the up and down rails, about fifteen yards west of the wire bridge at Ravenscraig, and was in a frightful state of mutilation. The head was literally smashed into a pulp, and portions of it were lying scattered about. Several ugly cuts were also observable on the body, the whole of which was mutilated almost beyond recognition. 

   The body had the appearance of being that of a working man, it being dressed in clothes of an artisan. No clue could be found on the body to lead to its identification, and it was removed to the mortuary at Broughty Ferry. It is not known how the accident occurred. The belief which finds most credence, however, is that the man had been walking along the line, and had been knocked down by a train during the night. What lends considerable support to this theory is the fact that on Sunday night several Broughty ferry men who were travelling from Dundee met a man also going in the direction of Broughty Ferry near the Stannergate. When at the Stannergate Station the man left the roadway, and went on to the railway line. 

   Deceased has dark-brown hair, with a reddish-brown moustache. He is between 35 and 40 years of age. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Monday 6th January, 1902, p.4.


   ACCIDENT AT CRIEFF STATION. – Early on Thursday morning, while some shunting operations were in progress in Crieff Station after the arrival of the postal mail, William Caddell, engine-stoker, received serious injuries. Caddell was leaving the van of the train and in the act of stepping on to the lower footboard when his right leg was caught between the footboard and the platform, breaking the leg just below the knee. His left leg was also severely fractured. Caddell received first aid from the station ambulance and was afterwards attended to by Dr Haig. Caddell, who is about 28 years of age, and a native of Glasgow, was removed to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary by the morning train. 

Perthshire Advertiser, Wednesday 8th January, 1902, p.2.


   The usual Christmastide present of game, consisting of 131 rabbits, from the Earl of Aberdeen to the engine drivers, firemen, guards, and brakesmen on the Buchan section was received on Wednesday. this token of greeting is much appreciated by the recipients. The Buchan section of the railway is the one chiefly used by the Haddo House party. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Wednesday 8th January, 1902, p.5.



   On Tuesday afternoon about one o’clock Thomas Black, a goods guard, working the goods train between Hardengreen and Galashiels, met with an accident at Clovenfords Station which terminated fatally. Shunting operations had been going on in the siding, when Black got caught between the buffers of a waggon and the loading bank, sustaining severe internal injuries. He was removed to the stationmaster’s house, and attended by a doctor from Galashiels, but succumbed to his injuries at half-past four the same afternoon. Deceased was about thirty-five years of age, and leaves a widow and four children, who reside at Eskbank. 

– Southern Reporter, Thursday 9th January, 1902, p.3.





  A rather unfortunate accident took place on the Highland Railway near Inverness last night. whereby a woman was severely injured through falling out of a train while in motion. It seems that Miss Cameron, Moniack Castle, and her maid was travelling from Inverness to Lentran the maid was in the act of gathering up the parcels, and she leaned against the carriage door, which flew open, and the woman disappeared. On arrival at Lentran Miss Cameron told of the disappearance of her maid, and the station officials wired to Bunchrew, telling of the occurrence. A number of men traversed the line, and the woman was found lying on an embankment close to the rails. The woman was quite conscious, but she was badly bruised about the head, and could not walk. Miss Cameron sent her carriage for the woman, who was brought to Moniack Castle, and attended by Dr MacFadyen, Inverness. Fortunately, the accident is not so serious as was expected. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Saturday 11th January, 1902, p.2.


RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – On Monday afternoon a railway porter named John Currie met with an accident at the railway station. He had been connecting the communication cord on the three o’clock train for Edinburgh, and was standing on the footboard of the train on the opposite side from the platform when the cord broke and he lost his balance and fell, his head striking one of the rails with considerable force. He was badly cut on the head, and had to be attended by Dr Doig, who stitched the wound. 

– Southern Reporter, Thursday 16th January, 1902, p.2.



   Passengers by the train due to arrive in Edinburgh from Carlisle about eight o’clock had a rather exciting experience last night. Just as the train was passing Hardengreen Junction, the engine collided with a loaded goods waggon, which had come from Bonnyrigg, and had been stationed in a siding to wait its inclusion in the night goods train for the South. The waggon ran away, and taking the up line for Eskbank, obstructed the passage of the passenger train. After the collision the waggon was carried on by the passenger train for some distance, but eventually it left the rails and fell against two passenger vans attached to the front of the train, one of which was partly smashed, and latterly crashed into a fish van which immediately preceded the carriages containing the passengers. Fortunately, none of the passengers were injured, though many of them were badly shaken. The contents of the waggon, carpet squares and rugs intended for Carlisle, and belonging to Messrs Widnell & Stewart (Limited), were strewn about over the lines. Fortunately, the engine of the passenger train kept the metal or the accident would have been a more serious one. As it was, both of the main lines between Edinburgh and Carlisle were blocked for a considerable time. Most of the passengers adopted the stationmaster’s advice of walking along the line to Dalkeith, and taking the train from there to Edinburgh. A breakdown gang was sent from St Margaret’s, and the lines were cleared as soon as possible. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Friday 17th January, 1902, p.3.



  AN alarming accident occurred near Auchinleck about the end of last week to a workmen’s train which was on its way to Gilmilnscroft Colliery. When within one hundred yards of the destination, No. 3 pit, the engine and one of the carriages left the rails. Fortunately no one was hurt although the engine driver and the guard had a narrow escape. A breakdown gang from Hurlford was soon on the spot, but it was well on in the afternoon before the road was cleared. 

– Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, Friday 17th January, 1902, p.8.



   Herr Bartelmus, an Austrian electrician, advocates a system for preventing accidents on railways, which utilises a single electric current in order that a stopping or moving engine may transmit signals to the stations and signal-boxes, and vice versa. This invention, it is said, makes it possible to prevent accidents arising from trains meeting one another, from an express train running into the back of a goods train, or from leaving some carriages or trucks behind. The invention would prevent one train colliding with another standing at the platform, and it would also obviate accidents arising from opening the wrong points, or from the imperfect closing of them, to mention only the commonest causes of catastophes. 


   “Traveller.” – On no account, I am informed, will the North British Railway Company grant a permit to a female to walk across the Forth Bridge. The privilege, referred to last week, is granted to male visitors only. 






   We have received the following for publication:- 


  FELLOW-WORKMEN:- Proposals for improved conditions of service have been submitted to various Companies  in Scotland, with a result which indicates the want of organisation. This, then, is the position. The Companies have not yet convinced themselves that you are in earnest. It is true that a large number of railwaymen are organised, but it is also true that the majority are not, though all alike admit the necessity for improved conditions of service. The best way to show that you are in earnest is to join the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants. The position of railwaymen in the country is one of extreme importance, involving, as it does, 


and requiring from them the exercise of the greatest care and skill, which in turn necessitates sober and regular habits. How are they treated by the Companies in return for all these qualities? Why, less liberally than unskilled and irresponsible labourers. Their hours are in many cases considerably longer, while the remuneration is frequently below docker’s “tanner,” and rarely above it. Work of a similar nature to railwaymen’s in other callings is much better paid, and so would that of railwaymen if they placed a higher value upon it. Overwork and low pay still characterise the railwayman’s occupation, and that in spite of the unique part he plays in the industry of the country. All this can be speedily altered if you but realise that the remedy lies in combination, by which alone the individual worker 


on something like an equal footing. Too long have you belittled yourselves, and meekly accepted your employers’ estimate of you. It is high time that you took your proper place among the skilled workers of the country. As fathers, you owe it to your wives and children to agitate for a betterment of your lot; as workmen, it is incumbent upon you to raise the status of your highly skilled calling; as citizens, the claims of public safety demand that you should rid the service of overwork. This is the clear call of duty. Will you respond? The branches of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants await your reply. – Thanking you in anticipation, I am, fellow-workmen, yours faithfully, 

JOHN G. MUIR, Organising Secretary.    

Glasgow Offices A.S.R.S., 13th Jan.. 1902.    

– Aberdeen People’s Journal, Saturday 18th January, 1902, p.9.


   EXTRAORDINARY ACCIDENT AT MOTHERWELL. – An accident of an extraordinary nature is reported from Motherwell, resulting in the wrecking of the electric station at Messrs Hurst, Nelson & Co.’s waggon-building works. The cause of the accident has not come to light, but it would appear to be due to something going wrong with either the electric dynamos or the steam engine. The roof of the building was torn off and the whole interior reduced to wreckage. A portion of the flywheel of the engine crashed through the roof of a building thirty yards away and alighted in a dining-room. A woman who was in the room at the time had a narrow escape. 

– Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, Saturday 18th January, 1902, p.3.


   CHILD LEFT AT A GLASGOW RAILWAY STATION. – A well-dressed child, a girl of about two years of age, was left in the first-class waiting-room at Glasgow Central Railway Station last Thursday. the person seen in charge of the child is described as a woman of rather a superior appearance of between thirty and forty years of age, and was wearing a Highland cloak. The police are endeavouring to trace this woman or the relatives of the child. 

– The Scotsman, Monday 20th January, 1902, p.6.


   RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – A serious railway accident occurred on Thursday night on the North British Railway near Edinburgh. A passenger train ran into a heavily-laden waggon which by some means got on the railway. Several passengers complained of being severely shaken, but no-one was seriously injured. Traffic on the Waverley route was blocked for several hours. 

Banffshire Journal and General Advertiser, Tuesday 21st January, 1902, p.3.


   FATAL ACCIDENT. – Last night a young man named Andrew Paterson, who resided at 3 Gilchrist’s Entry, Greenside Row, Edinburgh, and who was employed as a surfaceman on the North British Railway, was walking on the Suburban line, near Blackford Hill Station, when he was run down by a train, and so severely injured that he died while being removed to the Infirmary. 

– Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping gazette, Wednesday 22nd January, 1902, p.3.


   A TICKET COLLECTOR’S ACCIDENT. – A serious accident occurred in Queen Street Station, Glasgow, on Friday afternoon, when Walter Scott, ticket collector, had several ribs broken. Scott was checking tickets, and in jumping off a train as it began to move slipped between the carriage and the platform. He was taken to the Royal Infirmary in a critical condition. 

– Southern Reporter, Thursday 23rd January, 1902, p.4.


Fatal Railway Accident

   David Noble, 20 years of age, a bricklayer, residing at Townpark House, Cleland, about midnight on Saturday night met with an accident on the Caledonian Railway near Hartwood Station. He had been knocked down and run over by an engine and van. His right arm was severed from the body, and his right leg almost severed at the thigh. He was removed to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, where he died on Sunday morning. 

Motherwell Railwaymen Injured

   On Monday a railway accident occurred near Omoa, in which two local railwaymen were injured. A mineral train was standing near Omoa Station waiting the signal to proceed to Shots, when a light engine and van dashed into it. One of the vans was smashed to atoms, and two brakesmen named David Byers, Calder Street, Motherwell, and John Black, Brandon Street, Motherwell, were severely though not dangerously cut and bruised. The light engine was very badly damaged and several of the loaded waggons were thrown over the embankment. The injured men were conveyed home in a cab. 

Motherwell Times, Friday 24th January, 1902, p.2.



   This morning the driver of the 9.10 train from Queen Street Station, Glasgow, for Larbert and the North, had occasion to suddenly pull up at Cowlairs. The two heavily-weighted incline brakes attached to the rear went with much force against the guard’s van. The concussion threw two ladies and a gentleman from their seats, with the result that they were cut about the face. The train proceeded after a short detention. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Friday 24th January, 1902, p.2.






   About two o’clock on Tuesday morning a serious railway smash took place on the Glasgow and Edinburgh main line, several hundred yards east of Bellshill Station. 

   The 11.40 p.m. goods train from Gorgie to Paisley was proceeding along the line at this point at considerable speed, when a coupling snapped, and the train divided, and the rear portion collided with the front. By the sudden impact twenty-five waggons and goods vans were thrown off the rails at the points leading to Milnwood Colliery. 

   Six of the waggons and a goods van were precipitated down the embankment into the gardens of the Cottage at Garfield Avenue. The other waggons were thrown across the permanent way, and some clear of the rails. 

   The contents of a number of the waggons – beer barrels, brandy and whisky cases, etc. – were thrown down the embankment. The permanent way was considerably torn up, and a large number of men, along with the steam crane from Motherwell, were soon at work repairing the line. 

   Traffic was suspended until seven o’clock, by which time the Edinburgh line was entirely cleared. After this traffic was carried on with little inconvenience, the Glasgow trains being shunted on to the Edinburgh line, and again taking the Glasgow line a short distance beyond the scene of the smash. 

   The derailed waggons on the other line were lifted on to the railway, and the wreckage cleared by 11 o’clock, but the permanent way being still under repair, and the waggons and goods van at the foot of the embankment having to be hoisted on to the line, traffic was not yet able to be carried on without interruption. 

   The waggons and goods van from the foot of the embankment were got on to the line by four o’clock, and with a general clearance of beer barrels, etc., the railway assumed its normal aspect, and was clear for traffic. 

   The damage to rolling-stock and cargo was considerable. 

– Bellshill Speaker, Saturday 25th January, 1902, p.2.


   RAILWAY ACCIDENT AT DUNDEE. – A labourer named James Davidson, residing at 4 North Ellen Street, Dundee, had a miraculous escape with his life at Tay Bridge Station on Saturday evening. He wandered on to the rails, and got in front of the 7.30 P.M. express train from Aberdeen. He was knocked aside by the engine, but his right arm was caught by the leading wheel of the locomotive and torn off above the elbow. He was removed to the infirmary, where he lies in a critical condition. 

– The Scotsman, Monday 27th January, 1902, p.10.


   RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – On Tuesday afternoon an accident occurred on the railway at Baldovan Station by which a guard named John Reid, belonging to Forfar, was seriously injured. Reid, who was the guard of the goods train, was assisting in shunting operations at the station, and while thus employed he missed his footing on the icy surface, and fell in front of the train. Several waggons passed over one of his legs near the ankle, with the result that it was badly smashed. 

– Montrose, Arbroath and Brechin Review; and Forfar and Kincardineshire Advertiser, Friday, 31st January, 1902, p.3.

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