March 1903




   A Glasgow correspondent writes:- Travellers to Glasgow by the North British Railway are well aware that the getting in and out of Queen Street Station by way of Cowlairs Tunnel is a most tedious affair, and the information that changes are in progress which will improve matters has on every hand been received with great satisfaction. Yesterday the experiments were tried, and, so far, with every success. The object of these experiments is to do away with the hand brakes going into Queen Street, and for the train engines to take the trains out of Queen Street without the assistance of the wire rope and stationary engine. In the presence of the Company’s leading officials heavy passenger trains were taken down the incline with the engines relying on the Westinghouse brake with every ease, while the upward journey was performed with equal success. Goods lifts consisting of coal, merchandise, and other commodities were next experimented with, with the same satisfaction. The results of these tests will come before the Board of Directors at an early meeting, when, no doubt, they will agree to the “old order” being changed. It is estimated that the change will not only involve a great saving of time, but at least £10,000 a year in working expenses. 

   For 40 years and more the present antiquated arrangements have been in operation. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Monday 2nd March, 1903, p.3.




   A very serious and remarkable accident resulting in injury to 32 persons, occurred about five o’clock on Friday morning on the Furness Railway, as briefly reported in Saturday’s “Journal.” The mail train from Carnforth to Whitehaven had to cross the River Leven on a high viaduct near Ulverston. It consisted of an engine and tender and eight passenger coaches, and a brake van at front and rear. The train had gained the middle of the viaduct when a terrific gust of wind struck it broadside and blew the eight carriages over on to their sides, only the engine and vans remaining on the rails, only the engine and vans remaining on the rails. Several of the carriages were badly damaged, and it quickly became evident that a number of persons had been injured. But owing to the furious gale, which had blown down the telegraph poles, it was some time before assistance to anything like an adequate extent was forthcoming. Eventually gangs of men were set to work to get the carriages on the rails and extricate those pinned beneath or in the vehicles. By eight o’clock it was found that no fewer than 32 persons had been more or less severely injured, while from the statement made by some of the survivors, it became evident that four persons, a man, a woman, and two children, who had certainly been in the train, were missing. As it was impossible that they could have voluntarily moved far away, there is little doubt that as the carriage in which they were riding was hurled off the track they were precipitated through the opened door into the swollen River Leven below. 

   A later telegram states that, with few exceptions, the injuries to passengers were not of a very serious character. It was considered improbable that any of the passengers had gone amissing. The hats found in one of the carriages which gave rise to the rumour have been claimed. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Monday 2nd March, 1903, p.6.



   The people injured in the railway accident on the Leven Viaduct are all doing well. Mrs Goad, of the Vulcan Hotel, Askam, who sustained injuries to the spine, has been removed home with her daughter. Mr A. Sansom, of Barrow, is still in the Ulverston Cottage Hospital with a rather severe scalp wound and injury to the hand. The other two passengers who were detained at the Leven cottages, and also the guard, Kelly, have returned home. The passengers all regard their escape from death as most marvellous. The Board of Trade have appointed Major Druitt, R.E., to inquire into the circumstances attending the accident that occurred on the Furness Railway on Friday last through the overturning of a passenger train on the Leven Viaduct. 

The damage to property at Furness is estimated at £10,000. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Monday 2nd March, 1903, p.4.


   Accident to a Labourer. – Peter Friel, a labourer, residing at Stewart’s Lane, met with an accident yesterday forenoon while at work at the new siding at the Railway Station. Along with others, he was digging at a foundation for a wall, when his pick struck a misfired cartridge, which exploded, with the result that the unfortunate fellow received injuries to his face and hands. Dr Smith was summoned, and ordered the injured man to be removed to Edinburgh Infirmary, where he was conveyed by special train. 

– Dundee Courier, Tuesday 3rd March, 1903, p.6.


   ACCIDENTS IN EDINBURGH. – … Robert Gray, a shunter in the employment of the North British Railway Company, met with an accident at the Waverley Station, Edinburgh, last night. Gray was crossing the railway to his bothy, preparatory to going on duty for the night, when the suburban train, due at 7.28 P.M., approached, knocked him down, and passed over his left arm, crushing it severely. He was taken to the Royal Infirmary, where his arm was amputated. 

– The Scotsman, Wednesday 4th March, 1903, p.8.


   TERRIBLE FATE OF A LEVEN MAN AT CUPAR. – One of the most distressing events of late took place near Cupar railway station, on Wednesday evening last, when a Leven man, John Gibson, Reform Co-Operative Society’s buildings, was found dead on the four foot-way between the rails. Everything pointed to it being a case of suicide, and later enquiries confirmed the suspicion. He must have been killed about half-past eight, as about nine o’clock a yardsman was proceeding from the signal cabin towards the station when he was shocked to see the mutilated body lying across the down rails, over which the express and a goods train had lately passed. The man had been almost cut in two, the legs lying clear of the rails, while the rest of the body, frightfully shattered, lay in the four-foot way. The man had apparently been dragged about twenty yards by the engine. Information was sent to the police, the remains placed on a stretcher, and conveyed to the mortuary. great difficulty was experienced in searching the clothing, as it was much cut and torn, but in one of the pockets several sheets of blood-stained paper were found, one written in pencil:- “John Gibson, Leven. It is not my blame. She wanted to poison me. I am better away.” Deceased was not seen near the platform, and as the gates leading to the goods yard are closed at six Gibson must have climbed over the fence and had rushed out when the train passed. Gibson was 35 years of age, and was married about a year ago, leaving a widow and one child. He was employed at the Sawmills and was at his work on Tuesday. At the time his fellow-employees noticed he was strange in his manner, and several of his actions away from his work showed he was labouring under delusions. He did not go to his work on Wednesday, and his wife, alarmed at his state, sent for some friends who came to see him; but he went out, and was last seen about four o’clock in the neighbourhood of Scoonie farm, making his way to Cupar by way of Montrave. Deceased was recently in the army, and had seen a good deal of foreign service. On Thursday several of his friends visited Cupar and identified the body, which was removed to Leven and interred next day in Scoonie cemetery. 

– Leven Advertiser & Wemyss Gazette, Thursday 5th March, 1903, p.3.


   ACCIDENT AT GLASGOW CENTRAL STATION. – Thomas Kennedy (18), residing at 6 Pardon Court, Cowcaddens Street, while working yesterday at his employment as a rivet-heater at extension operations at Glasgow Central Railway Station, fell from a beam, a distance of 15 feet from the flat beneath, and sustained a lacerated wound on the head and fracture of the skull. 

– The Scotsman, Friday 6th March, 1903, p.4.


   People do get callous, even on the railways. I see it every day of my life, and I question if I am any wiser than my neighbours. I often cross where I might be caught by a passing engine, and I rush into moving trains and out of them when a minute of time extra is all that is needed perhaps to save a life. But one does it just once too often, and then the newspapers get a par. To-day I saw one or two clerks crawling from waggon to waggon while the goods train was being shunted. This was to save going round. I spoke to them, of course, but it’s useless, I fear. They may do it when I am not there, and just once too often, as I have said. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Friday 6th March, 1903, p.5.


   Shocking Railway Accident. -A carter named Robert Wood, who resides at 43 Union Street, met with a shocking accident on Thursday afternoon at the Caledonian Goods Station, which necessitated the amputation of his right forearm. Wood was in the act of removing a cover from a waggon which was standing in a siding, when an engine, backing on to the same line to secure several trucks, set the vehicle in motion, and before he could get out of the way his arm was jammed between a buffer of that and another waggon and crushed to a pulp. The unfortunate man was conveyed with all possible speed to the Infirmary, where Dr Connon amputated the limb. Wood is a married man. 

   Serious Accident. – A serious accident happened on Thursday morning to James Paterson, of India Lane, who is an employee of the firm of Messrs Smith, Hood, &Co., Hume Street. He was engaged coaling on a waggon, the door of which was down, and when working with one leg between the platform and the vehicle an engine engaged in shunting drove other waggons along, the impact resulting in the unfortunate man’s right foot being caught and crushed by pressure of the door of the waggon and the platform. He was unable to extricate it, but his fellow-workers, seeing his sad plight, contrived to free the poor fellow, who was at once conveyed to the Infirmary, where it was discovered by Dr Connon, who attended him, that he had sustained a compound fracture of the right ankle. The serious nature of the accident necessitated the doctors operating on the man and extracting several pieces of splintered bone. Paterson is about 60, and may yet lose his foot. 

– Dundee Courier, Friday 6th March, 1903, p.4.


   FAIR HOLIDAY INCIDENT. – John Jamieson, steel worker, Rosbank Buildings, Main Street, Cambuslang, and his wife and children had a rather exciting railway journey from Edinburgh to Glasgow during the Fair holidays last year. The floor of the compartment in which they sat was struck from underneath by a rim which had become detached from one of the wheels. A hole of considerable size was cut in the floor, and the passengers were greatly frightened, and injured more or less as a result. It was averred that the carriage was a very old one, which had been drawn into use on account of the Fair holiday traffic. They consequently blamed the Caledonian Railway Company for the accident, and claimed various sums amounting to £400 in the Court of Session. the defenders denied that the carriage was an old one, and contended that the accident was unforeseen and unavoidable. The case has now been taken out of Court by the Company making a payment to the pursuers, with their expenses. 

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, Saturday 7th March, 1903, p.6.


   RUN DOWN. – A man named Trenble, who resided at the Iron Works Rows, Gartcosh, was admitted to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary on Tuesday, having been found in an unconscious condition on the railway near Gartsherrie Station. It is supposed that Trenble was run down by a train, and so terrible were his injuries that the local doctor required to put in twenty stiches. 

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, Saturday 7th March, 1903, p.5.


   FATAL RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – Last night an accident occurred at Motherwell Railway Station, by which a brakesman named William Wallace lost his life. Deceased had run across the line to speak to an acquaintance on an engine which had drawn up opposite to where his own train was standing, when he was knocked down by a passing train and decapitated in view of a number of passengers. Deceased, who was thirty years of age, resided in Caledonian Street, and leaves a widow and young family. 

– The Scotsman, Tuesday 10th March, 1903, p.4.


   COASTGUARD OFFICER KILLED ON THE RAILWAY. – Early on Sunday morning the body of William H. Martin [also reported as Henry W. Martin], station officer, Muchalla, was found on the Caledonian Railway between Portlethen and Newtonill. It appears that deceased left the Coastguard station at Muchalla on Saturday afternoon for Portlethen on duty, intending to return by the 6.5 train leaving Aberdeen. He missed that train, and appears to have walked along the line, and, it is surmised, was overtaken and killed by the Edinburgh train from Aberdeen about seven o’clock. No great anxiety was felt till the late train from Aberdeen at 10.35 had passed. About midnight two of the Coastguard went in search along the railway line, and found the body. Deceased’s skull was fractured. A telephone message was sent to the Coastguard at Stonehaven, and Dr Cruickshank went out and examined the body. Deceased was 49 years of age, a native of Devonshire, and had been 32 years in the Navy and Coastguard. He had been five years chief officer at Muchalla. He leaves a widow and two grown-up daughters. 

– Aberdeen People’s Journal, Saturday 14th March, 1903, p.6.


   SAD RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – On Wednesday afternoon a sad and painful accident occurred within the south and goods yard of the North British Railway, Sunnyside Road. William Russell, goods guard, residing at 13 Garden-square, Airdrie, had the misfortune to fall between the last waggon and van while the train was in the act of stopping near to the Summerlee cabin. The wheels of the van passed over both legs, the left limb being almost severed from the body, while the right leg was badly bruised. He was attended by Dr Cordiner and removed to the Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, where he died a few minutes after being admitted. 

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, Saturday 14th March, 1903, p.4.



   Yesterday forenoon a sad accident happened on the North British Railway line leading to James Nimmo & Co.’s colliery office, Longriggend. A telegraph messenger, named James Ferguson (14), son of William Ferguson, miner, Nimmo’s Row, was proceeding along the line with a telegram to the office when he was run down by a mineral train, and his head was cut off by the engine. The poor lad had only started duty as a messenger this week. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Wednesday 18th March, 1903, p.3.


   ACCIDENT ON THE HIGHLAND RAILWAY. – Last night an accident occurred on the Buckie branch of the Highland Railway. When the 6 P.M. train was at Aultmore Station, John Mitchell, the guard, who resides at Portessie, was caught between the footboard of the van and the platform while shunting was in progress. Both his legs were broken, the footboard having to be cut before the unfortunate guard could be extricated. The train was run specially back to Keith with the injured man for medical attendance. 

– The Scotsman, Thursday 19th March, 1903, p.8.


   Fire at the North British Station. – A short, sharp fire broke out yesterday afternoon at the North British Railway Station. Three waggons, each laden with ten bales of tow or thereby, were standing at a siding, when it is supposed a spark from the engine of the 2.29 fast train to Dundee fell upon a bale, and in a few minutes the contents of the waggon were in a blaze. The outbreak was detected quickly, and the station employees were soon on the spot, but in the meantime the flames had spread to a second waggon, the material of which was attacked vigorously, and at one period it appeared as if the third waggon were not to escape. Fortunately, however, an engine happened to be handy and removed it out of danger, the only damage done to the tow being the scorching of the bales nearest to the fire. The first and second waggons, burning furiously, were afterwards run alongside the water column, from which a heavy stream was poured upon them, quickly subduing the flames, but not before most of the tow was destroyed. Both waggons suffered extensive damage, and the total loss, which is covered by insurance, is estimated at over £100. The tow belonged to Messrs J. & G. Gibb, manufacturers, Bervie. 

– Dundee Courier, Thursday 19th March, 1903, p.6.


    FATAL ACCIDENT. – James Ferguson, 13 years of age, son of Mr Ferguson, residing at 56 Nimmo’s Rows, Longriggend, met with a fatal accident on Tuesday afternoon. The boy, who was telegraph messenger for the village, was on his way to deliver a message at Nimmo & Co.’s office, Mosslye, going by way of railway. He had reached a distance of about 200 yards from the station platform when a mineral train passed him, it is supposed that with the intention of getting a ride to his destination he got hold of the waggon brake in order to swing himself on to the grease box, but had lost his hold, and been precipitated underneath the train, which passed over his neck, severing the head from the trunk, and otherwise bruising his body, death being instantaneous. The accident was unknown to those aboard the train, but was observed by a little girl standing near, whose cries soon brought a large gathering of people. The railway officials were soon afterwards on the spot, and, accompanied by the policemen, had the body removed home. The funeral took place to the New Monkland Cemetery on Thursday, and was largely attended by the general public. Much sympathy is expressed for the sorrowing parents. 

– Falkirk Herald, Saturday 21st March, 1903, p.7.


   STATION FIRE AT LADYBANK. – An alarming fire broke out at Ladybank Station on Monday night. The fire originated in the oil store, and within a few minutes of the discovery of the outbreak the flames were leaping high into the air. The stationmaster and railway servants exerted themselves to prevent the fire from spreading to the waiting-room, and in this they were so far successful, although the ornamental facing running along the roof was burned. The fire brigades from Kingskettle and Cupar were turned out, and they succeeded in extinguishing the fire. The oil store was gutted out. 

– Fife Free Press, & Kirkcaldy Guardian, Saturday 21st March, 1903, p.4.





   A shocking accident having a fatal termination occurred on the Caledonian Railway between Dalmarnock and Rutherglen on Thursday evening. 

   Janet Nelson (18), employed as a weaver in the East End of Glasgow, but resulting at Gilbertfield, Halfway, Cambuslang, was returning home in a compartment with several companions, and as the train crossed the bridge over the Clyde at Dalmarnock she went to the window to look out, when it seems that the door swung open, and she disappeared from the view of the other girls. 

   The accident was reported on the train’s arrival at Rutherglen, and the station official immediately despatched a party to search the line. The girl was found, terribly injured, lying by the edge of the track on the Rutherglen side of the river. 

   She was taken to the station at Rutherglen, and attended by Dr Buchanan, after which she was removed to the Infirmary, where she died the same evening. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Saturday 21st March, 1903, p.5.


   RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – Another railway accident of a peculiar nature took place here on Friday of last week. During shunting operations, some waggons were being shunted out on to the main line. The side door of one of them fell down, and being caught by the platform, torn up from fifteen to twenty yards of the planking which skirts the platform, and derailed the truck. There was some delay in getting the waggon removed, resulting in a delay of about 20 minutes to a south-going express at Cupar station. 

– St. Andrews Citizen, Saturday 21st March, 1903, p.8.







   About seven o’clock this morning a goods train from Perth to Aberdeen was derailed when passing through Stanley Station. 

   Several of the vehicles were overturned and damaged, and a large part of the permanent way was torn up. 

   The up and down lines were blocked, and traffic was delayed for several hours. 

   At the Perth General Station this forenoon it was reported that an accident had happened to the 6.45 goods train from Perth to Alyth. While passing Stanley Station about 7.45 six of the waggons of the train, which was a very heavy one, left the metals, blocking both up and down lines, and causing considerable damage to the permanent way. Information was at once sent to Perth, and the breakdown squad, under Mr Prentice, was immediately despatched, and took steps to clear the lines. By eleven o’clock one of the lines was got into working order, but prior to that the express trains to and from Aberdeen had to go round by Dundee to enable the passengers to catch their connections. The damage to plant and permanent way is expected to be considerable. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Saturday 21st March, 1903, p.4.










   An alarming collision took place on Saturday night between two North British passenger trains at Tillicoultry Station. 

   The trains involved were the 7.30 from Perth to Glasgow and the 7.25 from Glasgow to Perth. they almost invariably pass each other a few hundred yards east of Tillicoultry Station. The line from Alloa to Tillicoultry is double, but the Devon Valley line from Tillicoultry to Kinross is single, and it said that by the rules of the Company the invariable practice is for the Glasgow to Perth train to wait on the double line at Tillicoultry Station until the Perth to Glasgow train coming down the single line gets through. 

   On Saturday night the train from Glasgow was signalled into Tillicoultry Station for the purpose of discharging her passengers, and while it was standing at the platform the train from Perth dashed into the former. 

   It is alleged that both the home and distant signals were against the Perth to Glasgow train, and that notwithstanding this the driver, following the usual custom, drove the train right into the platform, where the north-bound train was standing. Fortunately, as one of the trains was standing and the other slowing down to enter the station, the collision was not nearly so severe as it would have been had both trains been going. 

   There were a good many people in the station at the time waiting for the respective trains, and a scene of the most painful excitement ensued. The crash of the collision was followed by groans and cries for help from the injured. Luckily, nothing like telescoping took place. There was no debris to remove, and the work of attending to the injured was at once commenced. The local police were on the spot at the time, and, aided by railway officials and bystanders, they promptly set about relieving the sufferings. 

  Dr Currie, Tillicoultry, was on the scene within a few minutes, and dressed the wounds of those injured, being assisted in this by a number of ambulance men. After some arduous and exciting work, order was restored, and it was found that the injured numbered 15. 

   In most cases the injuries were comparatively slight, and none of them likely to prove fatal. After the wounds had been dressed and restoratives applied all the injured were able to proceed home. As both of the trains were the last for their respective destinations and the stations en route, they were naturally heavy, and had the accident occurred when they were in motion the consequences would have been dreadful. 

   The following are the names of the injured:- 

   William Porter, Kinross, stoker on the Glasgow engine, was knocked off the engine, and had his right shoulder severely injured. 

   Mrs Wishart, Alloa, slightly injured. 

   Robert Crawford, ploughman, Rumbling Bridge, right ear badly cut. 

   John Anderson, Bellevue, Dollar, forehead cut. 

   Hugh Hair, painter, Dollar, had cut on forehead. 

   Robert S. Bennett, engine-fitter, Newton, Glasgow, right knee slightly injured. 

   Miss Cuthbert, Brookfield, Dollar, wound on head. 

   Thos. Jack, draper, Dollar, right eye severely injured. 

   Geo. Shorthouse, estate office clerk, Stirling, right eye severely injured. 

   Charles Murray, gardener, Dollarbeg, Dollar, head cut. 

   Blackney McAndrew, mason, Forestmill, right eye injured. 

   Walter Russell, teacher, Glendevon, slight shock. 

   Mrs Todd, Glasgow, shock. 

   Isabella Wardlaw, teacher, Tillicoultry, forehead bruised. 

   John Watson, plumber, Dollar, very severe nervous shock. 

   No injury was done to the permanent way. The buffers were knocked off the train from Glasgow by the force of the impact, and the carriages of the train from Perth were buffer-locked. About an hour and a half after the collision they were got clear, and the train was able to resume its journey. 

   The police are making a searching inquiry into the circumstances and causes of the accident, and a Board of Trade inquiry will follow. 

– Dundee Courier, Monday 23rd March, 1903, p.5.


   DEAD BODY FOUND ON RAILWAY. – The dead body of John G. Macdonald, labourer, Fearn, was found on Sunday morning by the engine-driver of the South-going mail train at the south end of the Bogbain cutting, about half-a-mile from the house of the deceased, near Fearn Railway Station. From the position of the body it was evident the deceased was making his way home by the line, and was knocked down by a passing train. The night was dark and stormy, and it is supposed that deceased failed to hear the noise of the approaching train. He has left a widow and family. 

– Inverness Courier, Tuesday 24th March, 1903, p.5.


   RAILWAY FATALITY IN EDINBURGH. – About two o’clock yesterday afternoon a fatal accident occurred at the Waverley Station, Edinburgh. While Alexander Turnbull (19), electric lamp trimmer, residing in Leith Street Terrace, and employed by the North British Railway Company, was proceeding in the direction of the station platform he observed a train coming towards him. He stepped on to another line for safety, but at that moment a train from Pinkhill came up behind him and knocked him down, the wheels passing over his neck and right arm. When picked up he was dead, his body being very much mutilated. After being removed to the Infirmary, the body was taken to the City Mortuary. 

– The Scotsman, Thursday 26th March, 1903, p.4.


  FATAL ACCIDENT. – On Wednesday evening shortly before eleven o’clock as David Thomson, watchman, was on his way home, he discovered the body of a young man lying at the side of the down line, near the viaduct over the river Devon, and about 800 or 900 yards west of Tillicoultry Station. He at once informed the local police, who found it to be the body of Henry Wallace, 24 years of age, employed as a fireman with Alloa Coal Coy. The body was afterwards removed to his parents’ house in the Moss Road, Tillicoultry, where he resided. From enquiries made it appears that the unfortunate young man left his work about half-past six on the night of the accident, and, it is stated, was seen as if on his way home shortly afterwards. Nothing more is yet known regarding his movements from that time till the finding of the body. It is believed that he was killed by a passing engine, the nature of his injuries bearing this out. 

– Alloa Advertiser, Saturday 28th March, 1903, p.3.


   A GLASGOW RAILWAY FATALITY. – Yesterday morning the body of a man dreadfully mutilated was found on the Lanarkshire and Dumbartonshire Railway a little to the west of Partick Central Station. It is conjectured that the deceased had wandered onto the line on Saturday night, and been run down by the last train, which passed the spot about eleven o’clock. The body, which awaits identification in the mortuary at Partick Police Office, is that of a man about forty years of age. 

   FATAL ACCIDENT ON CALEDONIAN RAILWAY. – On Saturday night a brakesman names William Kerr, who was travelling from Motherwell to Ecclefechan by the 4.25 passenger train from Glasgow, lost his life under sad circumstances at Beattock Station. Kerr had left the train on its arrival at that station, and on attempting to re-enter the carriage while the train was in motion, he lost his footing. He held on by the handle of the carriage, and was dragged some distance till he fell between the last carriage and the van. The wheels of the van passed over both his legs, and death supervened shortly after. Deceased belonged to Fallford, Ecclefechan district, and was unmarried. 

– The Scotsman, Monday 30th March, 1903, p.7.

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