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August 1903

   RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – On Wednesday night a young woman about 19 years of age (name and address not yet ascertained) was observed to be knocked down by the 5.10 Glasgow to Bothwell train between Carmyle Station and the bridge spanning the Clyde. When picked up she was found to be suffering from a severe scalp wound and cut on the thigh and unconscious. A train bound for Glasgow was quickly drawn up, and the unfortunate woman taken in the guard’s van thence to the Royal Infirmary. She is supposed to have been proceeding from Kenmuirhill Pit to Newton. 

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, Saturday 1st August, 1903, p.6.


   SERIOUS ACCIDENT. – William Foster, a brakesman, residing in Parkhead Terrace, Motherwell, met with a serious accident while marshalling a train at Dellburn Siding, Motherwell. He had left his lamp on the tender of the engine, and on going to get his lamp was knocked down between the tender and the waggons, and two of the waggons passed over his right leg below the knee. His leg was amputated after he was admitted to the Royal Infirmary. 

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, Saturday 1st August, 1903, p.5.






   The success of the Angus Show at Forfar yesterday was unfortunately in some degree marred by an accident which befell one of the ticket collecting staff at the railway station named Wm. Melville. In the evening the station was densely packed with those who had been visiting the show in the course of the afternoon, and while a train of empty carriage to be run as a special to Dundee at 6.20 was being drawn up Melville was forced off the platform, falling between two of the carriages, one of the wheels of which partially cut into his left thigh. 

   The position of the unfortunate man was such that in order to save the limb dumb-jacks had to be procured and the carriage raised. When taken out of his perilous position Melville was placed on the railway ambulance waggon, and conveyed by members of staff, along with Chief Constable Spence, to the Infirmary, where, in addition to the injury to the leg, he was found to be suffering severely from shock. 

   In the circumstances his escape is regarded as a miraculous one. In the crowded condition of the station the greatest excitement prevailed, and credit is due to Mr Irons and his staff for the prompt and cool manner in which they dealt with the difficulty. 

– Dundee Courier, Saturday 1st August, 1903, p.5.


   On Saturday night Michael Carroll (40), watchman at Wishaw Central Station, was run down on the main line about 200 yards from the station by the 8.10 train from Wishaw Central. The base of his skull was fractured, and death was instantaneous. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Monday 3rd August, 1903, p.4.



   As the result of an accident which occurred at Forfar Railway Station last Friday, William Melville, ticket collector, employed by the Caledonian Railway Company, died at Forfar Infirmary this morning. the unfortunate man was attending his business when he was jostled in a crowd of holiday-makers, with the result that he fell between two carriages of a moving train, and the wheels passed over his leg, death being due chiefly to shock. Deceased was about 30 years of age, and leaves a widow. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Wednesday 5th August, 1903, p.2.



   Falkirk, Wednesday. – A boy of six years of age, named William Tait, son of an engine-driver, residing at Falkirk High Station, was to-day admitted to Falkirk Cottage Hospital suffering from the results of an accident. He was playing last night in a railway siding near the station along with some other boys, when he was overtaken by waggons which were in process of being shunted. The boy, seeing his danger, with commendable presence of mind, threw himself flat on the ground to allow the waggons to pass over him. One of the wheels, however, caught his right arm, and almost severed it just above the elbow. He ran home supporting the severed arm with his left hand, and said to his mother: “I dinna want to dee yet!” a doctor temporarily bandaged the limb and stopped the bleeding, and the boy is now being treated in the Cottage Hospital. 

– Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, Thursday 6th August, 1903, p.3.


   ACCIDENT. – Wm. Hume (63) railway surfaceman, Mansfield Square, [Hawick,] was on Tuesday knocked down by a pilot engine while working in a siding at the railway station. A wheel passed over his right leg; it was severed above the ankle. 

– Southern Reporter, Thursday 6th August, 1903, p.2.


   SHOCKING RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – An unfortunate accident attended with serious results occurred at the station early in Friday morning, by which George Grassie, railway shunter, Gowan Street, had both his legs terribly smashed below the knees. During some shunting operations Grassie it appears ran alongside the waggons in order to apply the brake. In attempting to do so his pole slipped and became entangled in the spokes of one of the wheels. It caught the unfortunate man in the chest and pitched him amongst the wheels which passed over both his legs. Happily he was able to throw himself clear and thus escaped further injuries. On being picked up by his fellow servants it was found that his injuries were of a serious nature. His left leg was practically shattered from the knee downward, while the right leg was fractured at the ankle. Dr Kelly was at once summoned, and after temporarily dressing the injuries, ordered his removal to the Infirmary where he was conveyed on an ambulance stretcher. It was then found necessary to amputate his left leg below the knee. His right leg has sustained a compound fracture. The operation was performed by Drs Laing, Gilruth and Dewar. Grassie is a young man and has a wife and a young family for whom much sympathy is felt. He is progressing as well as could be expected. 

Arbroath Herald and Advertiser for the Montrose Burghs, Thursday 6th August, 1903, p.5.


   ACCIDENT. – An accident of an exciting nature took place at the railway station on Saturday evening which gave those on the platform a fright. A man the worse of liquor fell in between the platform and the train while in motion. Mr O’Hagon, stationmaster, was on the platform, and managed to put down his arm and keep the man against the platform while the train was brushing against him. When brought out he was found to be nothing the worse. 

Adrossan and Saltcoats Herald, Friday 7th August, 1903, p.5.


   RAILWAY WATCHMAN KILLED. – A sad fatality occurred on Saturday night on the main line of the Caledonian Railway near Wishaw Central Station. The watchman, Michael Carrol, aged about 32 years, whose duty it was to keep a watch on the line for some 200 or 300 yards on either side of the station for the purpose of detecting any subsidences that might take place, was returning from the direction of the West Signal Cabin when he was run down by the 8.10 train from Wishaw Central a short distance on the station side of the Marshall Street viaduct. He had been approaching the train, walking on the sleepers outside but close to the rails, and a passenger train coming on behind him seemed to take away his attention from the danger ahead. The engine driver, by the usual means, endeavoured to attract his attention, but without avail, and before the train could be pulled up the buffer beam of the engine struck the unfortunate watchman on the face, knocking him on to the embankment. The facial bone and the base of his skull was fractured, death being almost instantaneous. His body was carried to one of the station waiting rooms, and after being coffined was removed to the house in Stewarton Street where Carrol resided with his widowed mother. 

– Wishaw Press, Saturday 8th August, 1903, p.2.




Dismembered Body Found Clinging to an Engine.

   On the arrival at Wishaw on Saturday night of the 9.7 train from Glasgow Central Station a terrible discovery was made by the fireman while coupling the engine to the train, which turns at this station. 

   The body of a man, minus both legs, was found hanging by the arm to the front coupling hook. Inquiry elicited the fact that the body must have hung in this position from a short distance beyond Uddingston, and an extraordinary circumstance is that it was not discovered either at this station or at Bellshill or Holytown, where the train stopped in turn before reaching Wishaw. 

   On a search being made, various portions of the missing limbs and clothing were found along the line between Bellshill and Haughhead, at which latter place the unfortunate man seems to have been first caught on the railway. The remaining part of the body was also much mangled. 

   The deceased had the appearance of a miner, and was about 40 years of age. In his possession was found a receipt from the Newton Co-Operative Society, bearing the name of Patrick Murphy. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Monday 10th August, 1903, p.2.





   Much alarm was created among the passengers travelling to Montrose per the 6.15 p.m. train from Bervie yesterday by an incident which is happily of an extremely rare occurrence on the local railways. The train was nearing the foot of the gradient between St Cyrus and North Water Bridge, and, as is usual at that place, was proceeding at a good rate, when a sudden jerk of the train caused the passengers considerable apprehension. Many ran to the windows, and a man bearing unmistakable signs of intoxication was seen walking between the metals proceeding towards North Water Bridge Station, seemingly oblivious of his terrible danger. The brakes were applied with all possible speed, but the engine was within a few yards of the foolhardy fellow when the latter fell. To this fact he owes his life, for he fell on the outside of the line, and the train passed harmlessly by, the man lying on the edge of the sleepers. The man is stated to belong to the itinerant class. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Wednesday, 12th August, 1903, p.2.


   The accident which took place at the Falkirk High Station last week, and which displayed the remarkable presence of mind and fortitude of a boy of six years of age, calls to mind a similar incident which happened a year or two ago near Polmont. 

   A number of surfacemen were working on the line when a train came along. The train having passed by apparently without an untoward incident, one of the workmen, who had been engaged at the extreme end of that part of the railway where operations were proceeding, walked along the line and, approaching the foreman of the squad, said – “You might have let me know that train was coming.” “Why?” asked the foreman in surprise. Raising his left arm and pointing along the rails, the surfaceman replied – “Don’t you see my right arm lying on the line up there?” This poor fellow, however, did not fare quite so well as the boy who “didna want tae dee yet,” for the loss of his arm fortunately had a fatal termination. 

– Falkirk Herald, Wednesday 12th August, 1903, p.4.


   STRANGE AFFAIR ON THE RAILWAY. – A man has been found lying unconscious on the North British Railway at Whifflet, near the Speedwell ironworks. He had some slight scratches about the temple, but otherwise showed no signs of injury. He was conveyed in the ambulance waggon to the hospital at the poorhouse, where he was seen by Dr Farquharson, the house surgeon, and where he recovered sufficiently to say that he did not know how he came to be on the railway in such a condition. The man has been identified as Patrick McGarrity, fifty-six years of age, and residing at Carnbroe. 

– The Scotsman, Thursday 13th August, 1903, p.4.




   On the arrival at Wishaw on Saturday night of the 9.7 train from Glasgow Central a terrible discovery was made by the fireman. While coupling the engine to the train, which turns at this station, he found the body of a man, minus both legs, hanging by the arm to the front coupling hook. Portions of the missing limbs and clothing were found along the line between Bellshill and Haughhead, at which latter place the unfortunate man seems to have been caught on the railway. In his possession was found a receipt, which led to his being identified as John Milloy, aged 449, living at Pot Street, Newton. 

– Kirkintilloch Gazette, Friday 14th August, 1903, p.4.


   STRANGE FIND ON THE RAILWAY. – On Saturday morning while John Scott, foreman surfaceman, Hassendean, was working on the North British Railway between Hawick and Hassendean, opposite Hornshole, he picked up, on the four-foot way of the south-going line, what appeared to be a man’s scalp. The surfaceman took it to Hawick, and eventually it was pronounced by a doctor to be a scalp from a human head. Inquiries have been made by the county police at Hawick, but nothing has been heard of any accident on the line. From what was found it looks as if a person had been struck on the back of the head, and the scalp taken clean off, as well as part of the forehead, there being also a piece of bone. It is quite possible that the portion found may have been carried a long way before it dropped off an engine or carriage, but it was evident that the accident had happened quite recently. 

– Hawick Express, Friday 14th August, 1903, p.2.






   A shocking accident occurred yesterday at Aberdeen Joint Station, resulting in the death of Mr James Cowie, inspector, 40 years of age, 3 Lamond Place, Aberdeen. He was found lying on the rails immediately after the departure of the 8.5 a.m. north going train, his head being between the4 rails and his body outside, the vertebrae of the neck bone broken, and the right shoulder very much crushed. It appears that Mr Cowie had for the past few days been acting as assistant carriage inspector, being engaged by the permanent way chief inspector to see that all was right previous to the departure of trains, and it was while engaged in his duty in this respect that the sad and unfortunate accident occurred. It is the custom for one man to start going along the train from the engine, and another from the rear of the train, testing the carriage wheels, and making an examination to see that everything is right. On this occasion both met about the centre of the train, and deceased reported to his comrade that he had found everything right. It is supposed that on going towards the rear of the train deceased had discovered something wrong that had previously escaped his notice, that he had jumped down to put matters right, and that when the train had been set in motion he had been struck by a portion of the carriage, knocked down, and run over. The accident occurred in No. 3 dock, and when the unfortunate man was seen lying on the rails, almost decapitated, those who were in the station at the time were very greatly shocked. The body was taken charge of by Mr R. A. Duguid, stationmaster, who made arrangements for its being taken home. Deceased was a married man, and leaves three of a family. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Saturday 15th August, 1903, p.4.





   An alarming railway accident occurred at Blair Atholl yesterday. While John Campbell, 60 years of age, meal miller, Mill House, Blair Atholl, was crossing the rails at the level crossing at the south end of the platform at Blair Atholl Station, he failed to notice the approach of a goods train from Perth. The result was that the buffer of the engine struck him with considerable violence. He was thrown on to the platform. He had three of his ribs broken, and suffered from concussion of the brain and shock. He was immediately taken home, and attended to by Dr Brown, Pitlochry, who happened to be in the vicinity at the time. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Saturday 15th August, 1903, p.3.


   KILLED BY A TRAIN. – Walking on the line near Larkhall Station on Monday afternoon, Neil McIntyre, a lad of 13 years, was knocked down by a Glasgow train, and sustained shocking injuries to the back of his head. An ambulance waggon was requisitioned, and the sufferer was conveyed to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, but death took place just as the gates were reached. The deceased, who was on an errand at the time of the accident, resided with his parents at Avenue View, Larkhall. 

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, Saturday 15th August, 1903, p.4.



  An exciting episode occurred on the railway between Kirkcaldy and Sinclairtown on Saturday afternoon, and but for the remarkable promptitude of the engine-driver, John Dickson, a fatality would have been inevitable. A heavy N.B. train was bowling along on the stiff uproad between the two stations mentioned at a rate of about 30 miles an hour. Rain was falling heavily, and the thick mist curtained off the outlook some distance ahead. The engine-driver, who was keeping his eye steadily on the line, all at once saw a man sitting on one of the metals, evidently inviting a fearful death. Without a moment’s delay Dickson applied the Westinghouse brake, and brought the train to a standstill with a violent shock, only a short space from the spot where the would-be suicide was ensconced. Dickson sent the fireman, Robert Murray, to investigate the reason of the man’s strange conduct, and set himself to examine his train, which had been brought up so quickly. He found that one of the couplings had snapped as the result of the sudden tightening of the brake, and the engine-driver had reason to congratulate himself that the man’s life had been saved at the expense of comparatively small damage to the rolling stock. Meantime Murray, the fireman, had found the man in a refractory mood, but he was ultimately taken to Sinclairtown. It is worthy of note that this is the second particular experience which Dickson and Murray have undergone within the last few weeks. It was from their train that a lunatic the other day escaped and plunged into a dam at Portlethen, and but for the quick vision of the man on the engine would have been drowned before assistance could be procured. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Monday 17th August, 1903, p.2.


   Railway passengers who take children with them on their journeys cannot be too careful. The little ones have the knack of suddenly landing themselves in dangerous positions. 

   A nasty accident occurred the other day to a four-year-old boy at a Dundee railway station. Accompanied by his mother, he got safely into a carriage. 

   Just, however, as the train was about to start a lady came running along the platform. “Here, get in here,” cried the man, as he opened the door of the carriage in which the boy was seated. 

   In an instant the lady had mounted the footboard, and no sooner had she entered the carriage than the man slammed the door behind her. 

   A succession of wild shrieks immediately rent the air. The door had closed on the little fellow’s fingers. When released it was found that his hand had been very seriously injured. 

   The train had to travel about half a dozen miles before medical aid could be obtained. To-day the child is minus a finger and half of his right hand. 

   In this case, of course, the mother was not to blame. She had no idea that the door would be opened and closed so suddenly. To say that the man who was the cause of the accident was sorry but faintly expresses his feelings. 

   For parents generally the sad accident has a lesson. They should never allow children to sit beside the door of a railway carriage, for what befel this unfortunate little fellow might easily happen to others under certain circumstances. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Saturday 22nd August, 1903, p.2.






   Last night a tragic affair occurred on the Forfar and Brechin direct line about a quarter of a mile from Brechin Station, whereby Wm. Lundie, an engine-driver, in the employment of the Caledonian Railway Company, lost his life. It seems that Lundie was driver of the 5.16 p.m. train into Brechin Station, and on leaving for home he proceeded along the line. He was overtaken by the 6.5 train from Brechin and Forfar, and was struck by the engine. Intimation of the occurrence was at once sent to Brechin Station, and, the stationmaster, accompanied by Dr Anderson, went to the scene of the accident where Lundie’s body was found lying clear of the line, he having been killed on the spot. His head had been smashed. Lundie had been intently reading a newspaper, and had not heard the train approaching him. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Saturday 22nd August, 1903, p.4.



   Before Bailie Bennet on Monday, at Kirkcaldy Police Court, Thomas Adamson, mason, 60 Overton Road, was charged with creating a breach of the peace on the railway line 300 yards west from Sinclairtown Station. 

   Thomas pled guilty, and said that he had no business on the railway. 

   The Magistrate – What was you wanting on the line? 

   Thomas – I had been wanting a near hand cut, but I had no business there anyway. 

   The Fiscal – The engine-driver had to stop a train before he was removed from the line. 

   The Magistrate – You might have been killed had the train not been stopped. 

   Thomas – That is quite true. It was a great mistake of me. It was a thing that never happened with me before, and it will never happen again. 

   The Magistrate – You must have been the worse of drink? 

   Thomas – Well, I had a dram in; I don’t deny that. 

   The Magistrate – It is a very serious thing for you to go on the railway. 

   Thomas – Yes, it is a serious thing when one is sober, let alone drunk. 

   The Magistrate – The penalty will be 12s 6d, or seven days. 

– Fife Free Press & Kirkcaldy Guardian, Saturday 22nd August, 1903, p.3.



    An accident of a peculiar nature occurred at Dunfermline Upper Station yesterday. It appears that an engine driven by David Ramage had been doing some shunting work preparatory to starting for Kelty. The tender preceded the engine, and the driver, evidently assuming that he was on the main line, ran up against the buffer ends of the north siding. The buffer ends were completely carried away, and the locomotive was only brought to a standstill after it had left the metals, and the tender was buried into the embankment within a few feet of the wall of the bridge which passes over Downeville Crescent. The engineman stuck to his post, but the fireman, on observing the danger, leapt from the engine, and sustained some bad bruises about the head and face. A breakdown staff arrived upon the scene, and a steam crane was brought from Cowlairs. The accident happened at noon, and it was well on in the evening before the engine and tender had been got on to the rails. What made the work extremely difficult was the fact that there was a danger of the tender, on being uncoupled from the engine, tilting over on to the street. Had the locomotive been first instead of the tender there can be no doubt but that the train would have gone right over the parapet wall of the bridge on to the street, and the result might have been more serious. After the steam crane arrived the traffic was worked over a single line, and thus caused some little detention. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Thursday 27th August, 1903, p.2.


   FATALITY IN GLASGOW. – Andrew Hilligan, labourer, who resided at 11 Dale Street, Bridgeton, while at his employment on Wednesday in Dalmarnock gas works, Glasgow, was crushed to death between a railway waggon and a wall. He was attempting to jump on to the engine for the purpose of stopping the train, which, he thought, was going in the wrong direction, but he lost his footing and fell. 

– The Scotsman, Friday 28th August, 1903, p.4.


   ACCIDENT AT THE STATION. – Francis Dennison, parcel clerk, aged 15, was accidentally knocked down at the [Motherwell]  station on Wednesday evening by a passing engine. the unfortunate lad had failed to notice the engine while avoiding a passenger train. he sustained a severe wound on the head, and was also injured internally. After being medically attended to, he was removed to his lodgings. 

– Hamilton Herald and Lanarkshire Weekly News, Friday 28th August, 1903, p.6.


   Alarming Conduct at Linlithgow. – At the Linlithgow Burgh Police Court on Monday, Thomas Black, dock labourer, Bo’ness, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct at the Sken Bridge, adjoining Linlithgow Railway Station. The accused had got on to the parapet, hung himself over the bridge, and threatened to let himself fall. He also threatened to let himself fall. He also threatened to throw himself on the rails while trains were about to pass. Accused stated that he was drunk and did not know what he was doing. The man’s conduct created much alarm to people who witnessed it. Baillie Beattie imposed a penalty of £1 or fourteen days’ imprisonment. 

– West Lothian Courier, Friday 28th August, 1903, p.5.





   there had just been patented in Glasgow by Mr George Brown, a local gentleman, an ingenious apparatus for preventing such a disaster as that which recently occurred at St Enoch Station. It is termed an “automatic safety train-stop,” and is designed to pull up a train dashing into a station irrespective of the speed at which it is travelling. 

   In the event, for instance, of a miscalculation on the part of a driver or a signalman or of the brake of the engine failing to act when the terminal dock of a platform is being entered, the apparatus would, it is claimed, come into play and brake the train, bringing it to a gradual stop. The appliance is capable of being fitted to through stations, but in such cases it would be worked from the signal-box and not automatically. 

   One of its recommendations is that it can be adapted to any existing set of rails without necessitating the alteration of any part of the engines or rolling plant. Further, it is very simple in its structure, and, according to the inventor, can be fitted up at a moderate cost, while the upkeep afterwards is infinitesimal. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Saturday 29th August, 1903, p.3.






   About seven o’clock yesterday morning the decapitated body of a man was found on the railway near the viaduct which crosses the Tay at Cargill by the surfaceman on his morning inspection. Later in the day the body was identified as that of William Glover, who for many years resided in Burrelton. For the past year or two, however, he had been employed about the Fife coal pits, and only recently, on losing employment there, returned to the Perthshire village, where he has for some time been wandering about in a destitute condition. On Thursday night he had been seen asking relief from various parties, and the circumstances of his sad end point to suicide. Glover, who was a native of Auchterarder district, was between sixty and seventy years of age, and leaves a son who resides in Stirlingshire. 

– Dundee Courier, Saturday 29th August, 1903, p.7.







   A railway smash of a startling nature occurred at Perth General Station this afternoon. 

   It appears that the 4.30 p.m. train for the Highlands was being made up in No. 1 Dock, and the Highland engine and three carriages attached were proceeding at a fair rate of speed towards the platform, when by some means or other the three carriages dashed into the buffers of the platform, creating great damage. 

   The first two carriages and goods can and a Highland Railway carriage were completely destroyed, while the third carriage was also considerably damaged. The first compartment has been lifted right off the lines, and is leaning half over the rails, while the other is inclined towards the other side of the platform, this compartment being lifted completely off the metals. 

   Had the carriages been going at a higher rate of speed this compartment would certainly have been telescoped, for as it is the buffers of the other carriage have penetrated the front and smashed it terribly. 

   It is thought that the accident had occurred on account of some of the couplings jumping. 

   The railway officials are very reticent in regard to the matter. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Saturday 29th August, 1903, p.2.


  KILLED THROUGH ENTERING A TRAIN IN MOTION. – At Johnstone Railway Station on Saturday night, Thomas Murdoch, aged 30, while attempting to enter a train in motion fell between the train and the platform. he sustained terrible injuries about the head and body, and died in the Cottage Hospital. Murdoch resided at Paisley, but belonged to Belfast. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Monday 31st August, 1903, p.6.








   At an early hour yesterday morning David Swan, a signal-fitter in the employment of the North British Railway Company, who resided at Ladybank, met his death under rather unusual circumstances in the vicinity of Newport East Station. 

   Along with several men Swan was engaged in removing a signal pole at this place, and for the purpose of assisting with the work two huge poles had been entered as shear legs. These poles were firmly fastened together at the top, and were prevented from swaying by a stout rope. 

   After the signal pole had been successfully lowered one of the one of the shear legs slipped, and both fell to the ground. the deceased was unable to get clear of the falling timber, with the result that he was struck on the head, thrown into the hole from which the signal post had been removed, and rendered unconscious. Fortunately all the other employees escaped uninjured. 

   Medical aid was immediately obtained, and Swan was conveyed by train to the Tay Bridge Station, and then to Dundee Royal Infirmary in the ambulance van. 

   It was discovered that Swan’s skull had been fractured and his right leg broken. He was only ten minutes in the Infirmary when he died without ever having regained consciousness. The deceased was about sixty years of age, and leaves a widow. 

   Swan had seen thirty years’ service with the Railway Company, and was widely known and highly respected by the railway employees in the district. 

– Dundee Courier, Monday 31st August, 1903, p.5.
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