June 1903

   FATAL RAILWAY ACCIDENT NEAR LEITH. – On Saturday evening, shortly after seven o’clock, a man about forty-five years of age was killed by a goods train on the North British Railway Company’s Leith-Portobello line. He died within a few minutes of being knocked over by the train. The body was removed to the Leith police mortuary. On the clothing there was nothing found to lead to identification. Deceased appears to have been a labourer. 

– The Scotsman, Monday 1st June, 1903, p.6.


   RAILWAY FATALITY AT HAYMARKET. – Yesterday afternoon a surfaceman named James Sime, who resided in Newton Street, Edinburgh, was fatally injured on the North British Railway, at Haymarket Junction. While engaged on the line he stepped out of the way of an approaching train, but on stooping to lift a tool he was struck on the head by the footboard of the engine. He died half an hour later in the Royal Infirmary. 

– The Scotsman, Tuesday 2nd June, 1903, p.4.







   A smash of considerable magnitude occurred at the Goods Station, Arbroath, this morning, in consequence of which the N.B. goods office was completely wrecked. The office is situated at the terminus of the siding, being on an embankment about four feet above the level of the railway and several yards from the end of the line. 

   Shunting operations had been in progress in connection with the 6.10 goods train from Forfar to Arbroath, and the train was standing on the incline to the west of the passenger station about seven o’clock. One of the couplings snapped, and five of the waggons, some of which were loaded, became detached. The decline here is considerable, and the five waggons immediately started to move back towards the station. Gathering speed at every yard, the waggons dashed past the passenger station on the goods line, and switched on to the siding which terminates at what was wont to be the N.B. goods office. 

   By the time they had reached the end of the loop line the waggons were running at a high rate of speed, and with a tremendous smash the first was forced clean through the retaining buffers, crashed through the walls of the office, and only came to a standstill when it had reached the opposite side. 

   Tables and desks were smashed to matchwood, while books and papers were hopelessly mixed up with bricks and mortar and the broken wood of the desks. The waggon itself was very much damaged, the one which was following crashed into the end of it. The third waggon was left standing upright, while the last two never left the metals. 

   At the time the accident occurred three men were in the office, and had most miraculous escapes. Fortunately they happened to be standing close to the door, otherwise they must have been buried in the ruins of the walls and furniture. 

   Occurring as it did on a siding, the through traffic was in no way interfered with, and in the course of the forenoon a break-down squad arrived from Dundee and commenced the work of clearing the line. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Tuesday 2nd June, 1903, p.4.





   A railway accident that might have been attended with more serious consequences occurred on the oilworks railway between Niddry and Glendevon shortly after six o’clock on Monday morning. It appears that Young’s Oil Company of Uphall run a train by pug-engine from the Niddry Works every morning to convey a number of workmen who reside in Broxburn and Niddry to No. 35 Pit, which was opened a year or two ago at Threemiletown, and where these men are employed. The train also returns with the workmen in the afternoon. On Monday morning the men, who numbered between fifty and sixty, assembled at the weigh box at the Niddry Works as usual and occupied the train which was to take them to their work. The engine that was to drive the train on this morning had three waggons of ashes in front of it and also several empty shale waggons behind which were to be taken to the pit, and to save shunting operations it seems that it was the intention to push the carriages with the workmen in front of the loaded waggons. Unfortunately, however, the carriages were not coupled to these waggons, but the fact was not noticed owing to the start being uphill. But at the point known as Hillend Coal Road the railway starts on a decline, and here the carriages containing the men left the waggon portion of the train and rushed down the line. About twenty of the men, apprehending danger, leapt from the train, and several sustained bruises, but the injuries were all slight with the exception of the case of a man named William Hannigan, residing at 90 Niddry Rows, who dislocated his right arm at the shoulder. Among those who jumped from the carriages was Parish Councillor Fairlie, Broxburn, who sustained a slight injury to his back. Fortunately the points for the line to No. 35 Pit were closed against the carriages at a part about 300 yards down the decline, and they there took the open points which run into No. 6 Glendevon Mine. Until this point was reached most of the men who had retained their seats in the carriages had not known that there was anything wrong, and they sustained a severe shock when the carriages ren against some empty shale waggons that were lying in a siding there and were brought to a standstill. But the impact was not so great as to cause damage. None of the men proceeded to their work that day, and Dr Kelso, Broxburn, was sent for to attend to those who had been injured. He found that Hannigan’s was the worst case. The man was assisted home, and under chloroform the doctor reduced the dislocation. Several other men suffered from cuts and bruises, and all more or less from shock, but they were mostly able to proceed to their work as usual on the Tuesday morning. 

   It seems to have been fortunate that the points for No. 35 Pit were closed against the carriages, as beyond this there is a sharp turn on the decline, and it is just possible that had the carriages gone there they might have left the rails and toppled over the embankment. A deputation of the men waited upon the manager for the Company during the course of the day and were assured that instructions would be given for the carriages being coupled behind the engine in future, so that there may be no likelihood of a recurrence of the accident. 

– West Lothian Courier, Friday 5th June, 1903, p.7.



   When the 10 p.m. Caledonian passenger train from Carluke to Glasgow Central Station was passing under a bridge at Cathcart Road on Saturday night, the passengers heard a peculiar roaring noise, and a carriage in the centre of the train became derailed, and dragged along the line, ultimately overturning. The only passenger in the carriage was a gentleman, who was considerably shaken. the train was well filled, and the passengers were much alarmed. The signalman on duty at the point where the accident happened promptly put his signals to “danger” to prevent any further mishap. Communication was completely blocked between Gushetfaulds and Glasgow Central stations, and arrangements were made to divert traffic via Strathbungo and Pollokshields, but it was early on Sunday morning before the last passenger train had been disposed of. From the point where the carriage left the rails to where it overturned close upon 600 chairs were broken. The cause of the accident is somewhat of a mystery. There were no points or crossings where the carriage which is of the old pattern and not fitted with a bogey, left the rails. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Monday 8th June, 1903, p.2.



   On Saturday evening a child named Mary Kirkland, aged 3 years, daughter of Richard Kirkland, Motherwell, fell from a Caledonian Railway excursion train carrying Motherwell excursionists home from Girvan at a point between Dalrymple Station and Dalrymple Junction on the Glasgow and South-Western system. The door of the compartment had in some way sprung open. A pilot engine was sent back from Dalrymple, and the child was picked up and taken to Ayr County Hospital. It was suffering from fracture of the skull, and died a few hours after admission. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Monday 8th June, 1903, p.3.


   FATAL RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – On Monday forenoon a schoolboy named William Cessford, whose father, of the same name, is a sawmiller at Haughhead, was discovered lying dead at the side of the railway at no great distance to the east of Earlston station. One of his arms and one of his legs were dreadfully mangled, being virtually severed from his body. It is thought that he had been attempting to cross the bridge that carries the railway across the Trufford Burn, and that he had been caught by a train, knocked down, and run over, and thus lost his life. How he came to be lying where he was, off the line of railway, it is difficult to say, but it is conjectured that after receiving his mortal injuries he had been able to crawl to where he was found. No one appears to have seen the fatality happen, and none of the railway men on the different trains seemed to be aware of the tragic occurrence. He was a pupil of the public school, in his eleventh year. Much sympathy is felt for his grief-stricken parents. 

– Southern Reporter, Thursday 11th June, 1903, p.3.


Death at the Railway Station.

   On Monday night, about a quarter to six o’clock, an elderly woman named Mrs Thomson, lately residing at Berryhill, Wishaw (other address not known), dropped down and suddenly expired while waiting on a train at Motherwell Railway Station. Dr Fotheringham who was summoned, certified death as due to heart disease. The body was removed to the mortuary at the Police Office. 

Motherwell Times, Friday 12th June, 1903, p.2.



   SIR, – If our railway companies would only take a leaf out of the book of some of their Continental neighbours, the danger children travelling in trains are exposed to might be very well averted. 

   I cannot speak with certainty regarding the German carriages, but I have often admired the system in use in most parts of France and Italy. The “Providence” we too often in railway carriages trust our children to, is supplanted in these Catholic countries by a strong metal clip or fastener. This is placed on the outside of each door – too low to be within reach of an ordinary child’s hand, yet sufficiently get-at-able for that of an adult should necessity demand its being opened. Before the train glides past the platform, the guard, or some one else, sees not only that each door is closed, but that the clip is secure in its groove. 

   It does not seem to take much time to attend it, and even this might, I daresay, be minimised if the clip and snap-lock could be worked in unison. 

   By this simple means not only are accidents to children reduced to an almost impossibility, but the belated traveller is placed beyond the temptation to make his often suicidal jump into the moving train, and a like hindrance applies to those who, as often from habit as from want of three or four seconds’ time, bang open the doors in the waiting porters’ faces, and are tearing along the platform before the engine has come to a standstill. – I am, &c. 

A. M. V.  

– The Scotsman, Saturday 13th June, 1903, p.12.


   ACCIDENT AT NORTH STATION. – On Friday afternoon of last week, a man named James Mullen was removed to the Cottage Hospital suffering from injuries to the back and legs sustained while working at the railway extension at North Johnstone. While a train of waggons containing soil and stones was being emptied on the embankment, a large boulder rolled down the incline, injuring the unfortunate man in its course. 

– Paisley and Renfrewshire Gazette, Saturday 13th June, 1903, p.6.


   ACCIDENT AT SUMMERLEE. – Late last night a sad accident occurred on the railway at Summerlee, whereby a man named Watson, residing with his brother in Miller Street, lost one of his legs. He was run over by a pug engine, and was removed to Alexander Hospital. 

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, Saturday 13th June, 1903, p.4.


   RECKLESS CONDUCT AT COATBRIDGE. – On Saturday morning, a young man, Samuel Begg, residing at Graham Street, Airdrie, was returning from work, and entered a train at Sunnyside Station, Coatbridge. Finding that it was an excursion train after it had passed Airdrie Station, he jumped from the carriage, and falling on the line, fractured his right leg and sustained scalp and other wounds. He was conveyed to Glasgow Royal Infirmary. 

– The Scotsman, Monday 15th June, 1903, p.6.



   A curious accident occurred this morning on the Glasgow and South-Western Railway at Enterkinfoot, six miles north of Thornhill. About four o’clock, thirty yards of parapet of the bridge at the foot of Enterkin pass, ninety feet high, fell with a crash, and carried away not only a large extent of the solid masonry, but part of the permanent way. Single line working is taking place between Carronbridge and Mennock, and traffic is considerably interrupted. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Monday 15th June, 1903, p.3.




   Yesterday the body of a man shockingly mutilated was found on the North British Railway near Bothwell Station. Both arms were mangled to a jelly, and hanging by the skin. Drs Goff and Carruthers were at once in attendance, and ordered his removal to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, whither he was conveyed in the Uddingston ambulance waggon, but no hope is given of his recovery, as both arms must be amputated at the shoulder, and his body is badly crushed. 

   Being quite conscious, he gave the name of James Finstow, miner, aged 35 years, and residing at 50 Beckford Street, Hamilton. It is alleged that he stated that, being weary of life, he threw himself in front of the train that passes that point at 11.10 for Hamilton. 

– Dundee Courier, Wednesday 17th June, 1903, p.4.


   ACCIDENT ON NEW RAILWAY. – On Friday afternoon last, an engine-driver in the employment of Messrs. Boyd & Forres, contractors for the new railway between Johnstone and Dalry, met with a serious accident. It appears that while jumping off his engine he tripped and fell, one of his legs being badly lacerated. Dr. Westwood Fyfe, who was in attendance, ordered his removal to the Cottage Hospital. 

– Paisley & Renfrewshire Gazette, Saturday 20th June, 1903, p.6.



   A shocking accident occurred this morning at Cessnock Subway Station, Glasgow. It appears that as a train was drawing up at the platform on the inner circle, a young man named Alexander Hay, residing at 14 Walmer Crescent, who intended travelling to the City, overbalanced and fell on the rails. the cars went over him, inflicting terrible injuries. He was at once extricated and medically attended, being removed afterwards to the Western Infirmary. His condition is practically hopeless. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Saturday 20th June, 1903, p.3.


   ACCIDENT ON RAILWAY. – An accident fortunately of no serious nature, occurred on the Great North Railway on Friday. While the first goods train from Elgin, due at Buckie about 8.40 a.m., was engaged ins hunting operations, the engine and a waggon got derailed at the trap points opposite the yard of Messrs Geo. Cowie & Son & Coy., sawmillers. The permanent way was cut up for several yards, and the engine ploughed into the ground, being firmly embedded in the ballast to the height of the tender plate. A special train with a squad of workmen arrived at 10.30 a.m., and they immediately set to work. No detention occurred to the passenger train. 

Banffshire Journal and General Advertiser, Tuesday 23rd June, 1903, p.6.


   SERIOUS ACCIDENT AT RAILWAY STATION. – On Friday morning last week, an accident of a serious nature befell William Ford, who has for the long period of over 30 years acted as railway porter at the station here. It appears that while engaged loading a waggon with baled hay he was in the act of shifting some of the bales on the second tier when the binding of the bale by which he held gave way, causing him to fall backwards over the edge of the waggon, a height of 8 or 9 feet from the ground, part of his body falling across the rail of the main line. The accident being observed by some passengers waiting the arrival of the first morning train from the west gave the alarm, and assistance was soon at hand. Under the instructions of Mr Armstrong, Station Agent, who is a duly qualified ambulance hand, the unfortunate man was lifted up in a semi-unconscious state and carried into the booking office. Dr Flaxman was immediately summoned and ordered the patient to be taken home, where after examination it was found that besides other injuries sustained, that the lower part of the spine had become displaced, causing complete paralysis in the lower extremities of the body. Considering the serious nature of the case it was deemed advisable to have the patient conveyed to Edinburgh Infirmary which was safely accomplished on the following day, and where he still lies in the same precarious condition. Wide sympathy is felt for the unfortunate man who from his long connection with the railway was widely known by traders and the travelling public alike as a most obliging servant and a hard and willing worker. 

– East of Fife Record, Friday 26th June, 1903, p.4.



   Daniel Masterton, tailor, residing at Blairmill Farm, Ballingry, was found on the Perth and Kinross Railway near Kelty yesterday morning in an unconscious state. He had been struck by a passing train, and suffered from a wound in the back of the head and other injuries. Masterton was conveyed to Dunfermline Cottage Hospital, where he died in the course of the day. Deceased was 26 years of age. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Monday 29th June, 1903, p.2.

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