December 1903

   RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – About half-past eight last night, a somewhat serious accident occurred on the Caledonian Railway near Whifflet Station. It seems that a Pole, residing in Langloan, whose name were unable to ascertain prior to going to press, had been knocked down by a passing train and rendered unconscious. The man was removed to the Whifflet Police Station by Constable Forrest and afterwards medically attended. 

– Coatbridge Express, Wednesday 2nd December, 1903, p.3.



   A surfaceman, named Duncan Cameron, belonging to Lochyside, near Fort William was last night run down and killed on the Mallaig Railway near Lochailort Station. The fatality was caused by the evening train from Fort William, but the driver knew nothing of the accident until reaching Arisaig. The night was very stormy, and it is thought that Cameron, not hearing the approach of the train had been killed while walking on the line. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Friday 4th December, 1903, p.4.



   Last night a fatal accident occurred in the goods yard of the North British Railway Company’s Citadel Station, Leith. At a late hour, while shunting operations were proceeding in the yard, a marine engineer, named George Hay, who had come from Commercial Street, was knocked down and killed. In the unfortunate man’s pocket was found a visiting card which bore the address of 29 Knox Road, Forest Gate, London, E. A discharge certificate was also amongst the other papers found in his possession. Deceased was a native of Aberdeen, and was 48 years of age. He had been second engineer on the Liverpool steamer Virginian, from which he was discharged at London on 13th November last. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Saturday 5th December, 1903, p.2.






Traffic Between Haymarket and Waverley Suspended.

   The tenants of a dwelling-house in Morrison Street, Edinburgh, were alarmed this afternoon by a loud report, accompanied by a sensation like an earthquake as the house seemed to rock from its foundation. A collapse had taken place somewhere. 

   The tunnel which runs between the Haymarket and the Waverley Stations passes beneath the house. Communication was at once made with railway officials, and traffic was suspended on the lines, as the subsidence is believed to have taken place in the tunnel. 

   The tunnel is well-known to Dundonians as it is in the main line between Dundee and Edinburgh. 



   A “Post” representative visited the scene of the tunnel subsidence, and found no cause for immediate alarm. Matters were righted. He was present along with the engineers at the houses in the Morrison Street tenement. The neighbours were still in a state of anxiety, which the engineers endeavoured to show were groundless. The accident was at first believed to be a gas explosion from the noise and nature of the damage, for which reason firemen and others were early on the scene. The noise was ultimately traced to a beam in an untenanted shop on a ground level, which had given way with an ominous crack. 

   Mr Beveridge, the tenant immediately overhead, had no idea what had happened. There was a considerable rent along the skirting of the kitchen and under the bed. The bed sunk somewhat. The damage of the adjoining house, tenanted by William Wilster, is considerable. 

   The engineers stated there was no cause for further anxiety. They had some difficulty in allaying the fears of the female residents, who had been in a state of anxiety all forenoon. Happening on Saturday, when traffic over the line is very great, it caused some sensation. The line from Waverley Station is shaped like a V. The disturbance is on one side, and had no effect on the other rail. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Saturday 5th December, 1903, p.6.




   A man, who is supposed to be George Hay Simpson (47), a native of Aberdeen, who had his residence in London, was killed in the Caledonian Goods Station, Leith, on Friday night, by a shunting train. From papers which were found in his possession, he is believed to have been a marine engineer discharged from the vessel Virginian at Poplar, London, on the 13th November. It is thought he entered the yard by mistake. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Tuesday 8th December, 1903, p.5.





   The Press Association telegraphs: A serious accident occurred this morning in a deep cutting on the main line of the Caledonian Railway. A goods train from Carlisle was proceeding along Beattock Summit, when the engine crashed into a mass of fallen rock. The engine and 12 waggons were wrecked, and no through trains on the West Coast route are able to pass the scene of the accident. Steam cranes have been sent from Carlisle and Motherwell. Among the delayed expresses are the 8.50 p.m. and the 10.50 p.m. from Euston. 



   Our Lockerbie correspondent wires this afternoon: The morning expresses suffered considerable delay. One line was got clear about 11.15, and traffic was resumed by single line working. The 6.40 from Glasgow and Edinburgh, conveying the morning newspapers, did not arrive here till the afternoon, but a supplementary train was run south about mid-day. the 10 o’clock express, Glasgow to London, proceeded on its way with about 20 minutes’ delay, but the forenoon train from Lockerbie to Dumfries had to leave without the north connection. Goods and mineral traffic both north and south was at a complete standstill. 



  Inquiries in Edinburgh show that the accident occurred before daylight this morning, and that the engine and ten waggons were derailed. The cause of the fall of rock is said to be a thaw following the recent frost. So far as known in Edinburgh no one was injured, but the mail train, due at Caledonian (Princes Street) Station at 6.40, and the express due at 7.50 were seriously delayed. On this occasion, unlike the experience of last week, the postal train which arrives at Princes Street at 5.15 got through before the fall occurred, but the early morning newspapers from the south were kept back. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Tuesday 8th December, 1903, p.4.










   A serious landslip occurred on the great North of Scotland Railway system about two miles beyond Dufftown, Banffshire, yesterday. An early morning goods train going in the direction of Elgin was precipitated over an embankment, and through traffic on the main line between Aberdeen and the North was seriously interrupted in consequence. 


  Between six and seven o’clock in the morning a goods train was proceeding from Keith to Elgin, when the accident happened at a point near Buchromb House, between Dufftown and Craigellachie. There are a great many sharp turns in this vicinity, and near Buchromb a steep embankment leads right from the side of the line up to the public road. For the past week the weather has been very frosty, although now and again there has been a freshness. The freshness, it appears, had been the means of loosening a great quantity of earth, and this, it seems, had fallen shortly before or during the time the train was passing. At all events about 150 tons of earth and a number of trees fell, with the result that the train, consisting of an engine and four waggons, was derailed, and fell down the embankment on the other side, a distance of about 30 feet. 

   The van and a waggon remained on the line. The engine is lying upside down with two waggons on the top of it. 


  How the driver and fireman managed to escape is nothing short of marvellous. As it happened, the driver got off without injuries, but Walker, the fireman, was entombed among the coals, and it was with difficulty that he was extricated. Unfortunately he was severely scalded on the left leg, no doubt due to an escape of steam. 

  Breakdown squads were quickly on the scene, and trains were beginning to get through by about noon. The engine and waggons will not be removed until Sunday. 

– Dundee Courier, Thursday 10th December, 1903, p.5.


Killed on the Railway.

  Late on Saturday night a miner named Thomas Craig, 28 years of age, who resided at 349 Caledonian Road, Wishaw, was run down by the Carlisle to Glasgow express near Carfin. The engine-driver, on reaching Holytown Station, reported the accident, and on a search being made, the body was found in a dreadfully mangled condition. The body was removed to the mortuary at Cleland. It is supposed that deceased had been walking home along the line. 

Motherwell Times, Friday 11th December, 1903, p.2.


   RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – Shortly before noon on Thursday, a youth named Andrew Black, a waggon greaser, residing in Caledonian Road, was knocked down by an engine on the railway near Motherwell Station. His left arm was severed at the elbow, and his right leg bruised. He was removed to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. 

– Wishaw Press, Saturday 12th December, 1903, p.2.






   Yesterday afternoon a scaffold used in the erection of the roof over the new portion of the Caledonian Central Station, Glasgow, fell. One man was killed and three injured. The names are Wm. Kerr, rivet boy, (18) killed; John Frew, riveter, severe injuries to the head; Philip Leyden, labourer, fracture of right leg and right arm; Peter Kane, labourer, fracture to right thigh. The injured were conveyed to the Royal Infirmary. On the way the ambulance waggon collided with a van, and the driver of the waggon was thrown off. The wheels passed over his body causing severe internal injuries. He also was taken to the Infirmary. The injured man Kane died at the Infirmary in the course of the evening. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Thursday 17th December, 1903, p.5.



    A strange affair occurred at Motherwell Railway Station on Monday morning at half-past eight. A porter was pushing a barrow loaded with milk vats along the centre platform at the Glasgow side when, to his astonishment, the paving of the platform caved in and the vehicle fell into an immense hole several feet wide and several feet deep. As the hole was within a few feet of the Caledonian Company’s main line to the South, great alarm naturally prevailed. At first it was thought that the hole was due to the by-wash from a water pump for feeding the engines; but owing to the peculiar manner in which land is undermined in Motherwell the opinion is also entertained that the subsidence may have been due to some old pit. 

Hamilton Herald and Lanarkshire Weekly News, Friday 18th December, 1903, p.4.


   THE GLASGOW CENTRAL STATION ACCIDENT. – Patrick Leyden, labourer, who was one of the men injured by the fall of a scaffold at the Glasgow Central Station extension works on Wednesday of last week, died last night in the Royal Infirmary. Leyden who was forty years of age, resided at 15 St James’ Street, Kinning Park. This makes the third death as the result of the accident. 

   SUPPOSED SUICIDE NEAR AYTON. – The Berwickshire police are investigating the circumstances in connection with the death of a man whose body was found on the North British Railway between Burnmouth and Ayton stations about ten o’clock on Saturday night. The body was noticed lying near the down line by the driver of a passing goods train, who stopped at Burnmouth and informed the station agent, who in turn gave information to the police at Ayton. The body was lying on its back, and the head, which had rested on the outside rail, was terribly smashed. An overcoat rolled up lay near by, in one of the pockets of which was an envelope, on which was written in a firm hand in bold Roman letters, “Anything found on me may be given to those who find me, as there will be no claimant. I owe nobody a penny, and have no money, and no means of getting any honestly. Bury me at once. I pray God to receive my spirit.” Deceased was of slender build, about five feet six inches in height, the crown of his head bald, with gray hair around, and slight whiskers and moustache, the face otherwise shaved. Deceased was respectably clothed, and a sum of 11s. 8½d. was found in the pockets, as well as a gun metal watch and pair of eyeglasses. A man recognised as deceased had left a kit bag at Ayton Station, giving the name of Johnston. In the bag were handkerchiefs from which the name had been cut, and a handkerchief in a similar condition was found in one of the pockets of deceased’s clothing. The man had been about sixty years of age. The body had not been identified last night. 

– The Scotsmen, Tuesday 22nd December, 1903, p.4.


   RAILWAY COLLISION AT PAISLEY. – Yesterday morning an accident of an alarming nature occurred on the Canal line of the Glasgow and South-Western Railway Company at Paisley. A train of empty carriages left St Enoch Station, Glasgow, about 7.30 for Milliken Park, and when it arrived about fifty yards west of Campbell Bridge, Paisley, it was brought to a standstill. At this time a mineral train, which had left Bellahouston for Potterhill, reached Canal Station, and having some waggons to leave at the goods depot, it was run on a short distance with the object of catching the points, by which it would get into the siding. There is a band on the embankment here, and the train in front does not appear to have been seen in time to avert collision. the locomotive of the mineral train dashed into the passenger carriages, being telescoped into the passenger carriages, being telescoped into that at the rear, the roof of which sheared off the funnel of the engine. The only occupant of the carriage, which was a composite one, containing the brake compartment, was the guard, James Taylor, who belongs to Glasgow. He was jammed against the end of the vehicle, among the broken woodwork, and appears to have had a narrow escape. With the aid of the engine-drivers and others, he was extricated and apart from being much shaken, was suffering from his leg having been crushed. By the force of the impact the two rear carriages were derailed, and through the escape of gas the telescoped one caught fire. It was soon enveloped in flames, and the burgh brigade, under Captain McNaughton, had to be summoned to extinguish the outbreak. When this was done, it was found that the smashed carriage had been destroyed, and a portion of the second also burned. The carriage next the locomotive in the messenger train was also thrown off the metals. The line was blocked for about two hours, and train were carried at Elderslie on by the main line and Gilmour Street. A breakdown gang was early on the spot, and the up line to Glasgow was re-opened by ten o’clock in the forenoon, the other later. 

– The Scotsman, Wednesday 23rd December, 1903, p.7.


   A man named MICHAEL JOYCE (30) has died from injuries received by being run over by a pug engine near St Fillans Station. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Wednesday 23rd December, 1903, p.4.



   The body of a female child, apparently about two days old, was found between two and three o’clock yesterday morning lying in the tunnel of the Caledonian Railway a short distance to the east of Bridgeton Cross Station, Glasgow. The body was wrapped in a piece of black cotton cloth with an outer covering of brown paper. It is supposed to have been thrown from a passing train. The doctor is of opinion that the death of the child was caused by violence. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Thursday 24th December, 1903, p.6.


   RAILWAY COLLISION IN GLASGOW. – About two o’clock yesterday afternoon a collision occurred on the line of the Cathcart District Railway Company, near Bridge Street Station. An outer circle train, leaving the Central for the suburban districts, dashed into several empty carriages which owing, it is thought, to the dense fog, had inadvertently been left standing on the lines. The incident occurred at the dinner hour, when the trains on this line are generally well filled, and caused considerable alarm amongst the passengers. Several of them sustained cuts about the head and face, but no case of serious injury has been reported. 

   RAILWAY ACCIDENT AT COATBRIDGE. – Yesterday morning a railway accident took place at Gunnie Junction on the North British Railway, near Sunnyside Station. The two mineral trains ran into each other, and one of the engines was derailed, while the buffers of the other were completely smashed. A portion of a brick wall was also damaged. The passenger traffic between Edinburgh and Glasgow was not interfered with.  

– The Scotsman, Friday 25th December, 1903, p.4.


Railway Collision near Uphall.




   Traffic over the up main line between Drumshoreland and Uphall Railway Station was hindered last night as the result of two engines coming into collision at the entrance to the Camps branch line, a little to the east of Uphall Station, in consequence of which the up main line was blocked for several hours, all the passenger and goods train having to be run over the down main line under the direction of redcaps for a distance of about two miles. 

   Fortunately the collision itself was not of a very serious nature, both the colliding engines moving very slowly at the time it occurred. One of the engines, which was light, however, left the rails. It seems that this engine was coming up the east main line to be coupled on to a number of waggons, bit there had evidently been some misunderstanding in regard to the points, and it was taken into a siding, whither another goods train was already proceeding from the Camps branch line. 

  The engine of this train and the light engine simultaneously came to the siding at the junction of the rails, both of them going west, and it is fortunate they were not locked. As it was, the light engine was derailed by the force of the impact, and to her and the line of metals the damage was practically confined, the engine attached to the goods train being very slightly if at all damaged. None of the drivers or firemen were hurt. Traffic had to be immediately suspended over the up main line, and as the goods traffic, at Uphall especially, happened to be heavier than usual last night, matters became somewhat complicated. 

   The passenger traffic for the rest of the evening was regulated by redcaps over the down main line only for the distance between Drumshoreland and Uphall, and the trains running between Edinburgh and Glasgow were considerably delayed in consequence. Shortly after the accident, which occurred between five and six o’clock, the N.B.R. Company’s break down gang from Edinburgh, with a steam crane, arrived on the spot, and the work of lifting the damaged engine was at once commenced. It was completed by about mid-night, and the up main line was in use for the regular traffic this morning. 

– West Lothian Courier, Friday 25th December, 1903, p.5.


  INVERNESS – RUNAWAY HORSE. – On Saturday evening a horse attached to a dogcart, and belonging to Mr Donald Macgillivray, contractor, Stratherrick, had a somewhat extraordinary escapade. At seven o’clock the animal was standing in Eastgate, when it suddenly bolted at a rapid pace along Millburn Road and disappeared. A heavy fog made it difficult to track the animal. Two cyclists attempted to overtake it, but they failed. The animal had got on to the Nairn road, and followed it till it reached the level-crossing near Gollanfield Station, where it had broken the level-crossing gate and fallen on the rails. It was luckily recovered by two surfacemen just before a train came up. The horse, which had run a distance of eleven miles, was practically uninjured. The splashboard of the vehicle was broken, one of the shafts splintered, and both lamps smashed. 

– Elgin Courant, and Morayshire Advertiser, Tuesday 29th December, 1903, p.7.


   FIRE AT A RAILWAY STATION. – Fire, which broke out between four and five o’clock yesterday morning at Shawlands Station, Glasgow, of the Caledonian Railway Company, caused damage, confined chiefly to the porters’ and stationmaster’s rooms, to the extent of £250. 

 – The Scotsman, Wednesday 30th December, 1903, p.6.


   RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – Last Wednesday morning, during the thick fog that hung over the district, a serious accident was sustained by a goods guard named Young, hailing from Portobello, while his train was standing on a loop line at the Cadder marshalling yard. Another train was brought into the same loop, but owing to the thick fog the driver did not notice the train in front till a collision was inevitable. Young happened to be in his van at the time, and the engine crashed into it, penetrating to the centre of the compartment. Young had a narrow escape of being killed on the spot. As it was he sustained severe injuries, especially about the head, and was taken to the infirmary in a very precarious condition. We are pleased to learn that so far he is progressing very satisfactorily. The injured man is a brother-in-law of Mr Black’s, foreman to J. & P. Cameron in this district. 

– Kirkintilloch Herald, Wednesday 30th December, 1903, p.5.



   A Swedish engineer has just invented a portable telephone – that is to say, an apparatus sufficiently small to be placed in the pocket, says a Copenhagen message. It is accompanied by a little copper wire, with the help of which telephonic communication can be established anywhere. This invention will be particularly useful in war, since with its help the advance posts can be kept in contact with the main body of troops. It can also be used in keeping police and firemen in constant communication with their headquarters. The pocket telephone will also furnish the means of conversation between railway trains in motion and station, and is capable of being utilised in a hundred other ways.

– North Star and Farmers’ Chronicle, Thursday 31st December, 1903.

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