February 1902

   ACCIDENT TO A STIRLING RAILWAYMAN. – William Morris 25, yardsman, son of John Morris, a Caledonian Railway engine-driver, residing at Winchel Place, Stirling, while shunting coal waggons at the Electric Lighting Station, to-day, missed his footing, and fell, his right leg being seriously crushed and torn. he was removed to the Royal Infirmary. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Saturday 1st February, 1902, p.3.


   PARTICK RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – While Hugh McDonald, forty-six years of age, joiner, residing at 3 Steven Terrace, Temple, was attempting to enter a train in motion at Partick Station on the North British Railway on Saturday evening, he missed his footing and fell between the carriages and the platform. The wheels of the last two carriages passed over his right leg, amputating it a little below the knee, and fracturing his left leg. He died in the Partick ambulance waggon on the way to the Western Infirmary. 

   RAILWAY ACCIDENT AT STIRLING. – On Saturday forenoon an accident occurred to William Morris, a shunter, in the employment of the Caledonian Railway Company. He was engaged shunting some waggons at the electric works siding, and while endeavouring to jump on to the buffer of a running waggon he slipped on the snow, and fell in front of the wheels. His right leg was broken in two places, and he received minor injuries. He was removed to Stirling Royal Infirmary. 

– The Scotsman, Monday 3rd February, 1902, p.6.




   An accident, resulting in the death of James Lumsden, 51 years of age, a good’s guard, residing at 95 Albert Street, Edinburgh, occurred in the goods’ yard of Portobello Railway Station about twelve o’clock on Friday night. It appears that deceased had been at Portobello with his train, and had gone to examine some waggons which he was to take to Granton, and while doing so had been knocked down by some waggons which were being shunted. Several waggons passed over the unfortunate man, taking off both of his legs above the knees. He was discovered lying beneath the waggons by some shunters. Dr John Balfour was immediately summoned, and ordered his removal to the Royal Infirmary, where he died about a quarter past one on Saturday morning. 

Musselburgh News, Friday 7th February, 1902, p.4.


   ACCIDENT AT THE STATION. – A porter named Owen Traynor, employed at Motherwell Railway Station, met with an accident on Wednesday night while in the act of lighting one of the roof lamps of a train which was standing in the Station. the lamp suddenly exploded and badly burned Traynor about the head and face. The injured man was removed to his residence at 115 Wellington Street, where he was attended by Dr Fotheringham. 

– Hamilton Herald and Lanarkshire Weekly News, Friday 7th February, 1902, p.4.



   Traffic on the Cruden section of the Great North of Scotland Railway was considerably dislocated by a mishap which occurred at Hatton Station yesterday. It would appear that during shunting operations three waggons got derailed, this being presumably caused by the slippery condition of the rails, and the impact from the engine was so great as to cause two other waggons to become telescoped and smashed. Mr Thornton, stationmaster, speedily advised headquarters, and in a short time a breakdown squad from Aberdeen had the main line cleared, and traffic was resumed with but little over a couple of hours’ delay. Luckily no one was injured, and the permanent way was undisturbed. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Saturday 8th February, 1902, p.4.









   A rather alarming railway accident occurred at the south end of the Tay Bridge this morning owing to one of the waggons of a goods train leaving the rails. Fortunately no one was injured, but traffic was blocked for about three hours. It appears that shortly after six o’clock a goods train left Dundee for Kelty, all the waggons being empty. Everything went smoothly until the train had almost crossed the Tay Bridge, when the guard felt that something had gone wrong, as the train began to jolt in a fearful manner. Before anything could be done to stop the train, however, the points at Wormit had been reached, and as there is a bend on the line at this place the waggon which, as it turned out, had previously left the rails failed to take the points, with the result that the points were completely smashed and the waggon thrown clear of the rails. The waggon couplings broke, and another waggon was upset. At the time of the mishap the engine was travelling at a very slow rate, and this no doubt was the reason for the small amount of damage done. The permanent way, however, was in such a condition that it was impossible for the ordinary traffic to run over the south line. The stationmaster at Wormit immediately communicated with Dundee, and a breakdown gang proceeded to the scene of the accident. On examination of the rails it was found that one of the waggons had left the lines on the bridge, as the marks of the wheels were plainly visible on the wooden sleepers. Portions of the line were twisted and torn up, and, as already stated, the cross-over points at Wormit were wrecked. All the trains which leave Newport and the other burghs on the Fife coast for Dundee could not proceed, and the thousands who reside in Fife and travel daily to Dundee were greatly inconvenienced through the stoppage of traffic. Early in the morning great crowds of people might have been seen wending their way towards Newport Pier, and it is safe to say that a long time has passed since the “Fifie” has been so largely taken advantage of. the train due to leave Wormit at 6.28 this morning did not get away until the close on nine o’clock, and all the other trains were delayed in the same manner. The through traffic was worked on the single line, and very little delay was thus occasioned to trains bound for Edinburgh and Glasgow. 

   About half-past nine o’clock the breakdown gang were successful in clearing the line, which is now in proper working order. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Tuesday 11th February, 1902, p.2.







   A serious affair, resulting in the death of a man and a woman, occurred last night on the Caledonian Railway near Coatbridge. the accident had a somewhat romantic feature, and in the carrying out of the episode the two parties implicated have lost their lives. It appears that a girl about 18 years of age, residing in Coatbridge, left her home about five o’clock, stating she was going to make a call. Shortly after nine o’clock word arrived at her home that the girl had been killed near Bredisholm, and requesting some one to proceed to identify the body. A neighbour woman volunteered, and on arriving at the place saw the body. While there she heard the bystanders asking – “Why do none of the ———‘s come?” She at once stated she was the woman mentioned. It then turned out that the man killed was this woman’s husband. On his body was found a letter, signed by the girl, requesting hi, to meet her at Baillieston that night. The tryst had been kept. The pair must have walked from the station along the line in the direction of Coatbridge, and had been run down by a passenger train. The man was cut in two, and the body of the girl was terribly mangled. The experience undergone by the neighbour woman who went to identify the girl’s body was of a heartrending nature. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Wednesday 12th February, 1902, p.4.


   ACCIDENT TO A GREAT NORTH TRAIN. – On Saturday an accident, which might have had serious results, happened to a corridor carriage which formed part of the 6.45 p.m. express from Aberdeen to Elgin. One of the axles got heated and the blaze was observed while the train was passing Kennethmont. Word was telephoned to Gartly where the train was stopped, and after considerable delay in getting the passengers into other carriages the corridor was shunted into the siding. 

– Huntly Express, Friday 14th February, 1902, p.5.







   Shortly before eight o’clock this morning an accident occurred on the D. & A. Joint Line, near Elliot Station, the engine of a goods train failing to take the points. The goods train left Dundee West Station for Arbroath, and all went well until Elliot Junction was reached, when, as already stated, the engine jumped the rails. Fortunately no one was injured, but the permanent way was seriously damaged, the points being smashed. the result was that the northern line was blocked, and traffic to Montrose and Aberdeen had to be worked on the single line. A break-down gang was quickly on the scene, but the line had not been cleared at eleven o’clock this forenoon. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Saturday 15th February, 1902, p.4.




Johannesburg, Transvaal Colony.   

January 17th, 1902.   

(To the Editor of “The Northern Scot.”)

   SIR. – In your issue of the 14th ult., I observe a paragraph reporting the result of the enquiry into the recent fatal accident to my brother, James Alexander McConnachie, at the Highland Railway Station, Elgin, in which the stationmaster (Mr McPhail) is reported as having said in his evidence that “the lad had no duties assigned to him,” and further that “when the accident occurred he was not doing the work under orders.” From reliable information received and my own personal knowledge of the working of the Highland Railway Station at Elgin – having been employed in the various departments there for a number of years – I cannot allow this statement to pass uncontradicted, and with your kind permission I will endeavour to remove the erroneous impression conveyed, unintentionally, perhaps, but to my mind the interpretation is obvious. The actual facts of the case are as follows:- As stated in the report of the accident contained in your issue of December 7th, it is quite correct that my brother had not been appointed to a clerkship on the railway, but anticipating obtaining same, he, with the stationmaster’s approval, went regularly to the station for the purpose of acquiring a knowledge of his prospective duties. Several days prior to the accident, the clerk employed in Mr Murray, the traffic agent’s office at Elgin, had failed to turn up for duty, and my brother, at Mr Murray’s request, performed the duties during his absence. It is well known to everyone connected with the railways at Elgin that part of those duties is to take a note of all trucks labelled to stations south of Perth routed “via Dunkeld” passing through and leaving Elgin, for what purpose it is unnecessary here to state. But whether it is a necessary duty or not does not affect the question; the fact remains that it is a duty, and that it has been done for several years. The 2.40 p.m. goods train from Keith, which I understand caused the accident, takes the bulk of the dead meat traffic for the south markets, and it was while in this performance of his voluntary duties taking notes of these trucks that my brother received the injuries from which he afterwards died. It would be ridiculous to contend that the lad was taking these notes simply for his own amusement; in fact, I understand he distinctly stated that, when asked to take over the traffic agent’s clerk’s duties, he had to go out to those trains carrying traffic for the south to take a note of the trucks, viz., sending station, destination, &c., and he certainly would not do so without instructions. these are the true facts of the case, sir, and trusting that you will kindly afford this letter the same publicity that was given to the reports on the accident, and the subsequent enquiry, and thanking you in anticipation, at the same time apologising for taking up so much of your valuable space, I am, sir, yours faithfully, 


– Northern Scot and Moray & Nairn Express, Saturday 15th February, 1901, p.8.




   A very sad occurrence happened on the Coltness Iron Coy.’s railway, near the washing machine situated between Newmains and Waterloo, on Monday forenoon, resulting in the death of James Russell, surfaceman, who resided in Kirk Brae. It is not definitely known how the accident took place, but it is supposed that the deceased was clearing the snow from the railway points when an engine attached to a train load of waggons run him down. Both his legs were cut off above the knee, death being almost instantaneous. His remains were taken home in the Coltness ambulance waggon. Much regret has been felt at the distressing accident, the deceased being well-known and highly respected in the district, of which he was a native, having been born at Beltanefoot 76 years ago. He was the oldest and a highly valued servant of the Coltness Company, having been in their employment since the works started. he is survived by a widow, four daughters and two sons, one of whom, Mr Andrew Russell, carries on the business of tailor and clothier in Main Street. 

– Wishaw Press, Saturday 15th February, 1902, p.2.







   A railway accident, which had serious results both in the damage done and in the detention of traffic, occurred to-day at Robroyston. This place, about mid-way between Greenhill and Glasgow, has recently become a rather important railway centre, being used as a depot for marshalling trains and for other necessary work in connection with the traffic from Buchanan Street Station, Glasgow. Four lines run through the station to the north. 

   This morning a light engine and a goods train collided there, considerable damage being done to the permanent way, rolling stock, and goods. The wreckage was strewn over all four through lines, and though breakdown gangs were soon on the scene it was found necessary to make a diversion for some time of all the important traffic which should go through the station. 

   As a result the morning train from Glasgow to Dundee, due at the latter place at 9.45, was three-quarters of an hour late in reaching its destination. It had, like other passenger trains, to be sent via Coatbridge to Larbert – a detour which adds considerably to the length of the journey. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Saturday 15th February, 1902, p.5.



   A serious accident occurred on the Highland Railway at Aviemore Junction this morning, by which a carriage inspector named [Alexander] Robb, belonging to Aviemore, received injuries necessitating his removal to the Northern Infirmary, Inverness. Robb, it appears, while standing on the six-foot way, was knocked down by the footboard of the 6.15 A.M. train from Perth. He was severely injured about the head and one leg, and after receiving attention at the station he was taken to Inverness by train. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Thursday 20th February, 1902, p.5.


Sad Case of Suicide.


   On Monday, just at mid-day, William Cairns, carter, residing at 75 Townhead Street, Hamilton, committed suicide by placing his head on the railway, about 400 yards from Bellshill Station in the direction of Uddingston. The unfortunate man’s head was completely severed from his body. The driver of the engine endeavoured to arrest the man’s attention, but Cairns seemed determined to take his life, and placed his head on the rail for the approaching engine to do its worst. Cairns had visited his brother in the course of the morning, and after having breakfast, left to catch the N.B. train, as his brother understood, to Hamilton. Deceased had the misfortune to lose one of his feet by an accident some time ago. he had also been out of employment for some time, and it is thought this circumstance prompted him to commit the deed. 

– Hamilton Herald and Lanarkshire Weekly News, Friday 21st February, 1902, p.3.


   SERIOUS RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – On Monday, while John Bain, surfaceman, was engaged along with a number of other surfacemen wheeling a quantity of rails on a bogie, he fell in front of the bogie, one of the wheels of which passed over his right leg, severely crushing it and breaking it in two places. The accident occurred about 300 yards west of the railway station, whither he was at once removed and conveyed from there to the Cottage Hospital. 

– Paisley & Renfrewshire Gazette, Saturday 22nd February, 1902, p.6.



   The Lockerbie police were informed on Saturday of the death of a Glasgow soldier from falling out of a railway carriage a short distance south of Lockerbie. Among other occupants of the compartment was a soldier of about 40 years of age, who entered freely into conversation with the party, informing them that he had been 17 years in the service of his country, and that he was well-behaved was apparent from the two good-conduct badges which he wore on his left arm, while on his breast he displayed one or two clasps. When the accident occurred one of the soldier’s fellow-passengers pulled the communication cord, and the train was stopped at Castlemilk siding. Mr Wilson, stationmaster, Lockerbie, accompanied by a few of the Company’s servants, at once proceeded on an engine to the spot, and discovered the lifeless body of the unfortunate man lying in the six-foot way, both sides of his skull being badly smashed. The body was conveyed to Lockerbie Station, where it was examined by Dr Irving. It is supposed that the poor fellow was about to look out of the window when the door suddenly flew open, and he was precipitated to the ground. In the pocket of his greatcoat there was an envelope addressed “Private Devine, 130 London Road, Glasgow.” The Glasgow authorities were communicated with, and in the course of the afternoon the wife and mother-in-law of the soldier arrived in Lockerbie and identified the body. The man was in the Royal Garrison Reserve, and had seen some fighting in South Africa, being at the relief of Ladysmith and other engagements. He had been home on a month’s furlough at Glasgow, and was returning to Aldershot when the accident occurred. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Monday 24th February, 1902, p.3.







   Captain NORTON then called attention to the excessive hours worked by railway men and other disabilities they suffered, and moved that, in the opinion of this House, the Government should exercise their powers to call for returns of the hours exceeding twelve per day worked by railway servants, and of the cases where work is resumed with intervals of less than nine hours. The drivers, firemen, and guards of certain trains, largely mineral trains, were frequently worked fourteen hours and over a day, and called upon to resume duty after an interval of only six hours. 

   Mr BELL, in seconding the motion, quoted a large number of cases of excessive hours, and asserted that they fully warranted the House in insisting that it should be prevented. There was no room for compromising a matter so serious as this. It was not only the men employed who were concerned but the public. the railwaymen themselves were afraid to complain for fear of losing their situations. He fully appreciated the difficult position in which the President of the Board of Trade found himself. he was between the devil and the deep sea. There was a considerable number of right hon. gentlemen directors in the House, the majority of whom were supporters of the Government, and influence was sometimes brought to bear upon the hon. gentlemen not to use too free a hand in matters of this kind. He, on the other hand, represented the workers, and he feared his influence was not so great as that on the other side. Whatever was the position of railway shares, these excessive hours must have attention. Life and limb were much more precious than all the dividends of all the railways in the country, and to some extent these excessive hours were conducive to a larger number of accidents, as was proved by the statistics. The matter was too important for the House to wink at, and he hoped some measures would be attempted by which a permanent influence could be placed on the companies to keep down excessive hours. 

   Sir J. F. FLANNERY supported the motion. 

   Mr J. BURNS said is the railway companies would set their house in order in regard to the twelve hours working day there would be no need for investigation. 

   Mr JACKSON held that there was no evidence to show that the Board of Trade had neglected to take, in connection with any complaint made to them of unduly long working hours on railways, the action prescribed for them by the Act. Nor had any tittle of evidence been adduced showing long hours as the cause of any accident that had occurred on railways. There was not the slightest justification for the suggestion that it was the wish of railway Directors to work their men unduly, but with every desire to avoid long hours let them, he urged, avoid exaggeration. He pointed out that sometimes, owing to holiday traffic or stress of weather, it was practically impossible to avoid keeping men on duty for long hours, but being nominally on duty was not always synonymous with being actually at work. 

   Mr BRYCE believed that wherever the Board of Trade had been complained to it had taken action, but said there were still many cases in which railway servants were overworked. 

   Mr GERALD BALFOUR admitted that there must be some connection between accidents and long hours, but believed that cases of unduly long employment were rare, and did not accept the suggestion of the mover of the proposition before the House that the Act had failed to achieve the object for which it had been formed. He thought, indeed, the Act had been a success, but he did agree that the time had come when a further return might well be required from the Railway Companies, and if that return showed that the hours of railway servants were as unduly long as they were ten years ago further action might be desirable. He suggested the amendment of the motion on these lines, but this was not accepted, and the House divided on Captain Norton’s proposition, which, under these circumstances, was opposed by the Government. However, when the tellers returned to the House, and the slip bearing the figures was handed to Captain Norton, a sign that the Government had been defeated, a great and long continued cheer arose from the Radical benches, and was repeated when the figures were announced:- 

   For the motion, …   …   …   151 

   Against,  …   …   …   …   …   144 

or a majority of 7 against the Government. there were some derisive cries from the Nationalists, but the House immediately adjourned at 12.15. 

– Dundee Courier, Wednesday 26th February, 1902, p.5.


   ACCIDENT TO THE PARISH MINISTER. – The Rev. Mr Brownlie has been confined to the house for the past few days, as the result of an accident met with last week. he had been visiting in the North, and at a station where he was awaiting the arrival of a train a porter in taking out the foot warming pans allowed one to fall on the rev. gentleman’s foot. The result was that he was seriously crippled, and has been unable to move about. 

– Kirkintilloch Herald, Wednesday 26th February, 1902, p.5.


   FATAL ACCIDENT AT FORFAR. – As the result of an accident at Forfar Station last night, Andrew Brown, son of James Brown, carting contractor, North British Railway Company, and residing at Stirling, lost his life. Mr Brown, who lives in Arbroath, had been going to visit his parents, and arriving somewhat late, attempted to jump on to the 9.22 train for the south, with the result that his feet slipped and he fell between the carriages and the platform, where the wheels of several vehicles passed over his legs, severing them at the knees. he was removed to the Infirmary, but died from shock about an hour afterwards. 

– The Scotsman, Thursday 27th February, 1902, p.6.


   A LONDON GENTLEMAN KILLED. – A distressing accident took place at Wallheads Crossing, Aberdeen, on Thursday night. The eight o’clock suburban train from Dyce had reached Wallheads, when the engine-driver observed the figure of a man standing between the rails, but it was quite impossible to pull up the engine, and the unfortunate man was knocked down and instantaneously killed. the body was identified as that of Mr F. C. Stone, a London gentleman of independent mean, living in lodgings in Aberdeen. 

   FATAL RAILWAY ACCIDENT AT CARLISLE. – On Friday morning a waggon inspector named Isaac Newton, employed on the Glasgow and South-Western Railway at Carlisle, was run over and killed by a goods train. His body was found frightfully cut up, the head being severed and his feet as well. 

– Southern reporter, Thursday 27th February, 1902, p.4.


   RAILWAY ACCIDENT NEAR DUNDEE. – A serious railway mishap occurred on the Caledonian system at Lochee, near Dundee, yesterday. the 2.15 P.M. goods train from Lochee West to Dundee was passing through Lochee station, when the wheels of the tender missed the points, and the train dashed into a lye. At the time the train was proceeding at a considerable speed, and the tender leaped on to the banking and finally toppled over. The wheels of the engine and waggons remained on the line, but the connections between the engine and the tender were broken. The position of the derailed tender completely blocked the line against passenger traffic, and it was after five o’clock in the evening before the traffic could be resumed by transferring the passengers from the Dundee trains into those from Blairgowrie and vice versa. 

– The Scotsman, Friday 28th February, 1902, p.3.



   Yesterday morning the body of a man was found on the down line of the Glasgow, Barrhead, and Kilmarnock Joint Line, about 1000 yards south of Nitshill Station apparently run down by the 4.50 a.m. G. and S.W. express passenger train ex Carlisle, which passed Barrhead Station for Glasgow shortly after 7 a.m. The body was much disfigured, and heath must have been instantaneous. The unfortunate man was subsequently identified as John Reilly, aged 27 years, and residing in Robertson Street, Barrhead. He was employed with Mr Hugh Houston, builder, at new Co-operative buildings, Nitshill, and must have been making for his work, using the railway line as a short cut, when his death so suddenly overtook him. 

Barrhead News, Friday 28th February, 1902, p.3.

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