January 1904

[Scottish Railway Incidents (1904) Contents]





    Last night a distressing fatality occurred at Kittybrewster Station, the body of a man having been found lying between the rails on the up-line at the north end of the platform. The body was discovered a few minutes after ten o’clock by James Duncan, signalman and another railway servant, who, having just gone off duty, were walking along the line from the north signal cabin to the platform. The body was very much mutilated, both feet and an arm having been practically torn off, while the crown of the head was severely crushed. The man had apparently been lying across the track when run over. The body was at once taken to the station buildings, and the police, who were communicated with, removed it in an ambulance to the police mortuary. The body was evidently that of a working man of between 30 and 40 years, dressed as if he had been at some festive gathering. It is supposed that the man had fallen from the platform to the line, and had been run over by the suburban train leaving Aberdeen at 9.45 or by an engine which followed shortly after. At a late hour this morning the body had not been identified. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Friday 1st January, 1904, p.5. 


   Man Killed at Newton. – The dense fog which enveloped the Glasgow district last week-end was the cause of a fatal accident on the Caledonian Railway some fifty yards from Newton Station on Saturday morning. A platelayer named Michael Murphy, a young unmarried man, was found lying dead beside the junction where he had been employed fog-signalling. It is conjectured that he had been knocked down by a passing train which he had failed to observe in the darkness. 

– West Lothian Courier, Friday 1st January, 1904, p.7. 


   MAN KILLED NEAR STIRLING. – Between twelve and one o’clock yesterday morning, while Thomas Kinross, Hood Farm, Cambuskenneth, was proceeding home by way of Causewayhead, he found a man lying on the railway in a shockingly mangled condition, but still alive. He got assistance, and the man was taken to the Stirling Royal Infirmary, where he died at 8.30 the same morning. His left leg was severed from the body, and his right arm had to be amputated at the Infirmary. He had been run down by a passing train. It was ascertained that he had come off the 8.30 train from Alloa to Stirling at Causewayhead Station, when he was spoken to by the stationmaster. He gave his name as Peter Ewing, and said he was a blacksmith from Aberdeen. Two return tickets (Edinburgh to Alloa), issued 31st December, were found in his possession. 

– The Scotsman, Saturday 2nd January, 1904, p.4. 


  FATAL ACCIDENTS. – On Saturday two fatal accident took place at Cambuslang… – Michael Murphy, 23 years of age, residing at Westburn Rows, Newton, was working at the fog signals at the Caledonian Railway Station at Newton Junction, when he was struck on the head by a passing train and killed. 

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, Saturday 2nd January, 1904, p.6. 






   On Saturday evening about eleven o’clock, Robert Smith (27), railway pointsman at Keith junction, residing at 14 Station Road, and a native of Huntly, was instantaneously killed while engaged at shunting operations at Keith junction. It appears that the unfortunate man was knocked down by a waggon shunted from an engine used for the purpose, and it is supposed that he had miscalculated the speed of the waggon and had unsuccessfully attempted to pass in front of it to reach his points. Dr Taylor was on the spot in a few minutes, but life was extinct. The waggon was derailed, having passed over the body, which was fearfully cut and mutilated. 

   On the same evening William Ewan, guard on the train which leaves Keith at 7.40 via the coast for Elgin, received a fractured skull, and lies in the Keith Hospital in a very critical condition. Ewan, who is about sixty years of age, and resides at Abbey Street, Elgin, was boarding the train as it left, and caught the door of his compartment which swung open. He remained in this perilous position until the train passed the carriage sheds on the left of the line, and he was then dashed against them, receiving, as stated, a fractured skull. On inquiry last night it was ascertained that he was still in a very critical condition. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Monday 4th January, 1904, p.4. 



   Early this morning a rather serious smash occurred on the railway near to Baileyfield Bridge, Portobello, but fortunately it was attended by no loss of life, though considerable damage was done to rolling stock. The accident, which took place about half-past seven in the morning occurred in a carriage siding which runs down a somewhat steep gradient, and which is parallel to the South Leith single line. Shunting operations were being proceeded with, and as 18 carriages were being slowly run down the “lye” with a pilot engine attached at the roar, the brake of the latter failed to work, on account of the slippery state of the rails, and the carriages ran away at a considerable speed, and was only brought to a standstill when the end of the siding was reached. Here the carriages crashed into the embankment, and with the great impact, the first four carriages were telescoped, and the South Leith line was blocked. A breakdown gang arrived from St Margaret’s, and the line was only cleared by eleven o’clock. Considerable inconvenience was caused to passengers travelling between Portobello and South Leith, no trains being able to run for fully four hours. Travellers had to take train from Portobello to Leith Central and vice-versa. the damage to the other carriages was slight, but the four carriages were smashed to pieces. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Monday 4th January, 1904, p.2. 






   A melancholy fatality occurred at Cowdenbeath Railway Station on Saturday forenoon, resulting in the death of a woman of 48 years of age named Ann hunter or Campbell, wife of Alexander Campbell, miner, Thistle Street, Cowdenbeath. 

   As in former years, hundreds of excursionists journeyed to Edinburgh from the Dunfermline district to attend the various New Year entertainments in the city, and the unfortunate accident was witnessed by a large number of holiday-makers. 

   A special train from Kelty had been augmented by passengers at Cowdenbeath, and was moving away from the platform when the deceased woman made an effort to enter a carriage. It is supposed that she had missed her footing on the slippery platform and fell down between the moving train and the edge. 

   The accident was observed by the railway officials, and with all promptitude the train was pulled up, and the woman extricated from her dangerous position. It was apparent, however, that she had been seriously injured, and a stretcher having been procured, she was conveyed home. 

   About seven or eight minutes after the unfortunate affair had occurred Mr Campbell arrived at the station with the intention of accompanying his wife to Edinburgh. After his wife had been taken to her own house Dr Selkirk was called in, but his assistance was of no avail, as the poor woman expired in the course of a few minutes after reaching her residence in Thistle Street. 

– Dundee Courier, Monday 4th January, 1904, p.4. 


   MAN KILLED ON THE RAILWAY. – On Friday morning the body of a man, dressed as if he had been at a festive gathering, was found lying mutilated on the railway at Kittybrewster. The body was afterwards identified as that of Alexander Rennie, thirty-two years of age, farm servant, Danestone, who resided in the district. He had apparently been lying across the line when run over by the train. 

Banffshire Journal and General Advertiser, Tuesday 5th January, 1904, p.6. 




   AN accident which might have been attended with very serious consequences occurred at Broughty Ferry on Monday night. It appears that the train leaving Forfar at 6.50 and arriving at Broughty Ferry shortly after half-past seven was, following the usual custom, being shunted at the latter station in order to let past the 5.3 express train from Aberdeen. While engaged in the operation the engine and first carriage failed to take the points and were derailed. The express was signalled, was expected to appear in view at any moment, and, of course, had it done so before the derailed engine and carriage were got out of the way a serious smash in all probability would have resulted. The situation was grasped by the engine-driver of the Forfar train. While others were engaged lifting the derailed vehicles on to the metals, he ran along the line, swinging above his head the red light, and that he was none too prompt in this act is evidenced by the fact that the express, noticing the danger warning, was only brought to a standstill a short distance east of the bridge. 

Perthshire Advertiser, Wednesday 6th January, 1904, p.7. 


   AN UNFORTUNATE ACCIDENT. – The new year opened with an unfortunat4e accident at the collieries. On Saturday one of the Niddrie Coal Company’s locomotives was out doing any work that was required to be done. So also was William Lunny, one of the colliery despatch clerks. It appears that early in the forenoon, down at the siding connected with the N. B. Railway Company’s line, he was standing on the locomotive foot-plate, when the driver suddenly reversed the engine and train of waggons, and Lunny fell under the hand-rail on to the railway. the engine passed over his right leg, severing the foot. He was attended to by the railway officials at Niddrie West, and afterwards conveyed in the colliery ambulance waggon to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where, it is feared, the leg may have to be amputated at the knee. Lunny is 44 years of age, and resides at Newcraighall, where he had a wife and family. 

– Dalkeith Advertiser, Thursday 7th January, 1904, p.3. 


   WOMAN KILLED ON THE RAILWAY AT LINLITHGOW. – On Thursday night, the body of a woman, terribly mutilated, was found on the North British Railway, near Lochmill Siding, a mile to the west of Linlithgow Station. The body was removed to the mortuary at Linlithgow, where it was identified yesterday morning as that of Elizabeth Brown or Wilson, wife of a railway goods guard residing at Linlithgow Bridge. 

– The Scotsman, Saturday 9th January, 1904, p.8. 



  A young woman named Frances Hayward, residing at Stow, met with an accident at Galashiels Station this morning. As the train from Edinburgh arriving at Galashiels about eight o’clock, was entering the station, Miss Hayward jumped out of the carriage she was in, and fell on her head with great force on the platform. It is thought that her skull was fractured. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Saturday 9th January, 1904, p.3. 


   FATAL RESULT OF AN ACCIDENT. – Early on Friday morning last, a man named Peter Ewing (50) a sawmill fireman, was found on the railway line near Causewayhead Station, having his left leg severed below the knee and his right hand badly crushed at the wrist. He had evidently been run down by a train while walking on the line. When discovered he was removed with all speed to the Stirling Royal Infirmary, where Drs. Murray and Moorhouse dressed his injuries and amputated his arm. The unfortunate man died about half-past eight in the morning. Deceased was a native of Cairnie, near Huntly, and left South Alloa about eighteen months ago to work at Alnwick. 

– Alloa Advertiser, Saturday 9th January, 1904, p.2. 


   SCAFFLDING ON A GLASGOW BRIDGE COLLAPSES. – An alarming accident occurred on Saturday forenoon in connection with the new railway bridge of the Caledonian Company over the Clyde at Glasgow, at present undergoing completion. A squad of eight riveters were engaged working on a staging suspended at an elevated position from the side of the bridge. The plank supporting the staging suddenly gave way, and, amid a scene of excitement, three of the men fell into the river below, while the others were left clinging to the structure. The three men un the water – Thomas Liddiod, 131 Castle Street; James Rae, 123 Langlands Road, Govan; and Albert Glover, 17 Victoria Street, Govan – were for a time in imminent danger of drowning. A boat, however, was promptly pushed out from the wharf at the side of the river, and the three men were picked up and brought ashore. Another workman, Hugh Gillan, 92 Govan Street, was rescued from a perilous situation. In his descent he managed to grasp a beam, to which he held on until relieved. The other four men were intercepted by a narrow platform running the entire length of the bridge at a lower level than the staging which collapsed. Liddiod, with Thomas McGovern, 7 Howard Street, and John Boyle, 3 Dobbie’s Loan, were removed to the Royal Infirmary, where it was found that Liddiod was suffering from severe shock. McGovern from sprained arms and bruising of the back, while both of Boyle’s legs were severely bruised. The others were able to proceed home, after having their injuries temporarily attended to, Rae and Glover appearing to be little the worse of their alarming experience. It will be remembered that a similar accident occurred in connection with the Central Station extension, resulting in the death of three workmen. 

– The Scotsman, Monday 11th January, 1904, p.4. 




   WHILE James Phillips (60), Superintendent of Permanent Way, residing at 22 South William Street, was proceeding along the line in the vicinity of Dovecotland Bridge, he failed to observe the approach of the 9.10 for Crieff. In consequence he was struck by one of the buffers of the engine and knocked down. He was subsequently removed home in a cab, and in view of the age of the injured man, it is considered his condition is somewhat serious. 

Perthshire Advertiser, Monday 11th January, 1904, p.2. 


  REPORTING on the railway accident which took place near Linlithgow on November 6, in which a passenger train from Perth ran into a goods train, Major PRINGLE strongly condemns the practice of using signal boxes as places of general resort and amusement, and points out that just before the collision in this instance there were five persons besides the signalman in “the box,” smoking, talking and playing games. The night, it may be remembered, was one of the foggiest experienced this season, when if anything greater caution than usual was necessary on the part of everyone connected with railway travelling. 

Perthshire Advertiser, Wednesday 13th January, 1904, p.4. 


   Engine and Waggons off the Rails. – Yesterday about half-past nine o’clock a rather awkward accident occurred near to the Polkemmet Station line. An engine with nine waggons and goods van were coming up the line with coal from Colinshiel Pit when the engine jumped the lines and the tender and the nine waggons also became derailed. The driver and fireman, when they found the engine going off the rails promptly attempted to bring it to a standstill, but the brakes snapping rendered this impossible, and the engine ploughed its way along for some considerable distance. The rails were badly twisted and the engine sustained a good deal of damage. The brake-down van and man from Kipps were soon on the scene, and the waggons and tender of the engine were soon righted. To get the engine on the rails proved a more difficult task, the place at which it stopped being just at the termination of the points. This caused the main line between Glasgow and Edinburgh to be blocked and the single line between Polkemmet and Bathgate had to be requisitioned. During the period when the single line was being worked Mr T. Ritchie acted as pilot. After several hours of hard work the rails were set right and the engine lifted to its place. During the time the break-down gang were engaged setting matters right the scene was an interesting one and attracted many spectators. 

– West Lothian Courier, Friday 15th January, 1904, p.4. 


   ACCIDENT. – A young man named Thomas McGregor, employed as a labourer in the engineering works of Messrs John Bell & Sons, was injured while at work there on Tuesday. He had been engaged disloading a heavy casting from a railway waggon, and losing his balance he fell off a plank amongst a quantity of old scrap. He sustained severe scalp injuries and his right leg was bruised above the knee. After having his injuries dressed by Dr Brodie, he was removed to his home in Stewarton Street. 

– Wishaw Press, Saturday 16th January, 1904, p.2. 


   A platelayer named Patrick Donnachie, 8 Pretoria Street, Cambuslang, was walking along the line to the Caledonian Railway Station at Newton, when he was run down by the 4.7 p.m. train from Glasgow (Central) to Hamilton, and was instantaneously killed. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Wednesday 20th January, 1904, p.4. 


   SHOCKING FATAL ACCIDENT. – A horrible accident occurred at Oyne Station, on the Great North of Scotland Railway, yesterday afternoon. An express train which was travelling to Aberdeen had just attached the bag to the apparatus used for picking up mails, when a young man who was standing near was caught by the net and instantaneously killed. His remains were strewn for some distance along the line. Deceased whose name was Robert Chinery, was eighteen years of age, and was in service as a footman in the district. 

– Greenock Telegraph and Shipping Gazette, Thursday 21st January, 1904, p.3. 


   PECULIAR RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – Mr A. B. Gibson, stationer, residing at Tyneside House, Bearsden, was removed in an unconscious condition to the Western Infirmary on Saturday evening, suffering from a scalp wound, received under peculiar circumstances. He was travelling in a first-class compartment of the Milngavie train which leaves Queen Street shortly after six o’clock, and when between Yorkhill and Finnieston Station he was struck on the head by a stone or some other hard substance. 

Milngavie and Bearsden Herald, Friday 22nd January, 1904, p.2. 




   A terrible accident occurred on the railway on Wednesday afternoon near Oyne Station. George Coutts, an assistant at the local Post Office, had just attached the mail bag to the apparatus used in the case of express trains for picking up the mails. He was accompanied by a young lad named Robert Chinery, at present employed as footman by Mrs Leith of Westhall. Both lads awaited the passing of the 4.30 express train from the north, which was somewhat late. By some means or other the footman was caught by the passing train and instantaneously killed, his mangled remains being stewed along the line for some distance. Coutts sustained a severe shock, and had to be assisted home. The deceased belonged to England. 

Banffshire Herald, Saturday 23rd January, 1904, p.5. 





   A somewhat serious railway accident occurred near Melrose this morning, which, fortunately, had no fatal results. The axle of a waggon of the 11.20 p.m. goods train from Sighthill to Carlisle, passing southwards through the station about six o’clock, overheated and fired, and became detached, causing a considerable number of waggons to upset on the up line rails. The train stopped, and the guard at once proceeded southwards to stop trains from coming up. Almost immediately he met a goods train from Carlisle, and although his signal allowed the driver to slow up slightly, this train dashed into the fallen waggons, smashing them into matchwood. The engine left the rails, and the waggons behind it came piling up over its tender in a most alarming manner. None of the men were at all hurt, but there was very much damage to about 30 waggons and their contents, which were strewn all over the place. Much damage was done to the permanent way. A van full of powder was attached to the down train, and although it left the rails it did not seem to have sustained much damage. Squads from St Margaret’s and elsewhere were busy removing the wreckage, but it will take a good part of the day to clear the rails, probably till three or four o’clock this afternoon. trains are running to each end of the wreckage, and the passengers walked the intervening distance. The Pullman train from London passed about two minutes before the accident happened, so that there was a narrow escape of what might have been a terrible disaster. Some trains have been run round by Reston. 

   The 9.30 and 10.30 Midland trains from the Waverley Station were sent by the East Coast to Reston and then taken across to St Boswell’s, where they joined the Midland line again. The ordinary passengers to Hawick went by the ordinary route as far as the block, and were then transferred to other trains. 

   A telegram at 1.30 p.m. from Melrose says: Capital progress is being made in clearing away the wreck of broken waggons and their varying contents, and the down line for the south has just been opened for traffic. The powder van was lifted intact by the powerful crane which was sent from St Margaret’s works, and had been conveyed in safety to Melrose siding. It caused some anxiety to the workmen. Considerable assistance is being obtained from an engine from St Boswells end, which is dragging the partially injured waggons out of the heap of debris. While the work was proceeding a man named Hunter, who is the foreman of the Darnick squad of surfacemen, got his leg badly hurt, and had a narrow escape of more serious accident. He was conveyed to Melrose Station, and medical aid obtained. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Wednesday 27th January, 1904, p.4. 


   FATALITY AT KEITH JUNCTION. – On Wednesday afternoon John McConnachie (68), employed with the Great North Railway as coal bank worker for over 40 years at Keith Junction, lost his life while attending to his duties. It appears that deceased was proceeding to couple on a 10 ton empty waggon to a goods train when he tripped on the rail, and the waggon passed over his legs and arm, with the result that both were broken and greatly mutilated. Medical attendance was at once procured, and the sufferer removed to the Cottage Hospital, but he succumbed to his injuries about three hours after the accident happened. He was a married man, and is survived by a widow and grown-up family. This is the third fatality which has occurred at Keith Junction since the New Year. 

Banffshire Reporter, Wednesday 27th January, 1904, p.2. 





   This morning an empty train of eight waggons and engine and van left the metals at the new station at Plean, near Stirling. The line was blocked for a considerable time, causing some delay to passenger traffic. 

   A sad feature of the accident was the death of a labourer named Neil McInnes [42], a young unmarried man. One of the waggons seems to have fallen on him while he was standing by the side of the metals. He belonged to Stirling, and was employed on the construction of the new station. No other person was injured, and the rolling stock escaped serious damage. 

   In consequence of the accident the Glasgow train due in Dundee at 9.15 this morning was an hour late. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Thursday 28th January, 1904, p.4. 



   The engine of a coal train proceeding from Carron Rigg Pit to Denny Station left the metals yesterday near to the Nethermains crossing. The waggon next the engine was smashed, and several waggons were thrown broadside. The engineman escaped unhurt, but Hannah, the guard, was considerably shaken. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, 30th January, 1904, p.5. 


   GOODS TRAIN DERAILED – WAGGONS WRECKED. – A goods train went off the rails at Stripside level crossing yesterday forenoon. The train was coming from Castlerankine Pit with a load of coal when it failed to take the sharp turn at the crossing mentioned, which is reached after a steep incline has been descended. The engine swung nearly right across the rails, and the occupants were rudely shaken, though only one of them suffered injury, a broken rib. The couplings of the first waggon broke with the strain, and it and the next one, both full of dross, toppled over on their sides, and were badly smashed. Other three waggons were also derailed but remained standing. The accident stopped all traffic on the line for the day. 

– Falkirk Herald, 30th January, 1904, p.5. 

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