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February 1904

[Scottish Railway Incidents (1904) Contents]


   At Linlithgow to-day, James Duffy, labourer, pleaded guilty to causing a disturbance at the Caledonian Railway Station, Fauldhouse. A number of previous convictions were recorded. The Fiscal stated that accused was very violent. He had entered the wrong train, and arrived at Fauldhouse by mistake. He refused to give up his ticket, and became very obstreperous, the police having to be sent for. Sheriff Jamieson imposed a fine of 20s. or 14 days’ imprisonment. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Monday 1st February, 1904, p.3. 

   Two labourers walking on the North British Railway line near Edinburgh yesterday were knocked down by a passing train and killed. They were struck on the head by the engine, and terribly mutilated. 

– Dundee Courier, Tuesday 2nd February, 1904, p.5.


   Lord Kincairney was informed that the action had been settled in which Wiliam Hynd, iron driller, 115 Merry Street, Motherwell, sued the Caledonian Railway Company for £500 damages for the death of his son, John Hynd. The pursuer stated that on 18th July 1903 he and his wife and two children were passengers by train from Motherwell from the Central Station, Glasgow, en route for Irvine. There were fifteen people in the compartment, and the pursuer’s son John, who was five and a half years of age, gave up his seat to one of the passengers and sat down on a portmanteau on the floor near the door. Shortly after passing Newton Station the door flew open, and the boy fell on to the line, receiving injuries from the effect of which he died within an hour. It was said that the fastening of the door was defective. The defenders denied fault, and said that the accident could not have happened if the handle of the door had not been tampered with. By the settlement the pursuer receives £100 in full of his claims. 

   Counsel for the Pursuer – Mr Watt, K.C., and Mr Guy. Agent – Henry Robertson, S.S.C. 

   Counsel for the Defenders – Mr Nicolson. Agents – Hope, Todd, & Kirk, W.S. 

– Scotsman, Wednesday 3rd February, 1904, p.13. 



      On Monday afternoon, just as the North British train from Thornton was passing under the bridge which carries the Leith branch of the Caledonian Railway over the North British line outside of Haymarket Station, it ran down two men on the line and killed them instantaneously. Their names were Alex. Anhony (40), labourer, residing at Dyer’s Close, Cowgate, Edinburgh, and James Lyon (36), carter, Longstone, Slateford. It appears that they had been working at the coal loading bank at Haymarket, and were on their way home when the train, which was running at between 5 and 60 miles an hour, passed over them. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Wednesday 3rd February, 1904, p.6. 

   SENSATIONAL AFFAIR AT WAVERLEY STATION. – Considerable alarm was created at Waverley Station, Edinburgh, on Saturday night about six o’clock through the conduct of a man of about thirty years of age, who, it was believed, was under the influence of drink. The individual in question, who refuses to give his name to the police, entered a lavatory, and after inflicting several wounds on himself with a razor, threw it into a basin. On the razor being seized by the attendant the injured man seems to have become so obstreperous that he had to be strapped down before being removed in an ambulance waggon to the Royal Infirmary, where, it is stated, he continued his misbehaviour. His injuries were reported yesterday not to be serious. 


   PORTOBELLO RAILWAY FATALITY. – On Saturday morning a signalman found the dead body of a middle-aged man lying by the side of the main up line of the North British Railway about a mile west of Portobello Railway Station. The man had evidently been struck by a passing train. The body was taken to Portobello Mortuary, and was identified as that of James Fergus, a bottle-blower, residing at 16 Adelphi Place, Portobello. He was 36 years of age, and leaves a widow and two young children. 


   PROPOSED ELECTRIC RAILWAY FROM CAMPBELTOWN TO MACHRIHANISH. – It is announced that an important development is about to take place in connection with the sailings of the turbine steamers to Campbeltown. This is the laving of a light electric railway to Machranish, which in recent years has become a favourite resort with the tourist. The preliminary arrangements are so far advanced that a representative of the syndicate which has the scheme in hand will, it is understood, in the course of a few days meet and confer with Campbeltown Town Council on the matter. 

– Scotsman, Monday 8th February, 1904, p.6. 



Train Saved by Its Momentum. 


   It has transpired that the London and North-Western night mail from Euston, London, to Glasgow Central had a narrow escape from disaster yesterday morning. 

   When the driver reached Glasgow he reported that his engine had received a violent shock while outside of Uddingston Station, six miles from Glasgow. When a search was made it was discovered that two railway chairs had been jammed on the inside rail in such a manner as was calculated to throw the engine off the rails. 

   The railway officials state that what saved the train from derailing and disaster was the fact that it was running fifty miles an hour, and consequently the obstructing chairs were smashed to fragments. 

   At the spot the embankment was deep, and had the train left the rails nothing could have saved it from toppling over the embankment. 

   The police have no clue. 

– Dundee Courier, Monday 8th February, 1904, p.5. 

   RAILWAY ACCIDENT AT WHITEINCH. – A foreman surfaceman named Joseph Sweeney, twenty-two years of age, residing at 4 Chapel Street, Maryhill, Glasgow, had a narrow escape from being killed yesterday at James Street Station, Whiteinch, on the Lanarkshire and Dumbartonshire Railway. He was engaged, along with a number of workmen, repairing the points, and in order to allow an east-going goods train to pass, he stepped on to the six-foot way. He failed, however, to observe a passenger train coming in an opposite direction, with the result that he was struck on the back and knocked against the goods train, falling back on to the six-foot way. On being examined he was found to have received serious injuries, and was removed to the Western Infirmary in a critical condition. 

– Scotsman, Thursday 11th February, 1904, p.6. 





   The fame of Motherwell as a sinking town has reached America, and the following interesting account of our perilous position will amuse, if it does not alarm, our readers. The Yankee paper gives the article no fewer than six headlines as follows:- 





   The Scottish town of Motherwell was this week the scene of a subsidence not unlike that which occurred a few days ago at Hanley, in Staffordshire. At intervals portions of the town have been sinking, and this has involved loss of property and danger to the residents. 

   The latest collapse was at the Caledonian Railway Station. A porter was wheeling a barrow laden with milk cans along the platform when suddenly his footing gave way beneath him. 

   The man and his truck sank into a hole several feet in diameter and five or six feet deep. The scared porter was rescued with difficulty, and after a time his barrow was also got out of the chasm. 

   Owing to the fact that the subsidence was within three yards of the main line between Glasgow and London the incident is regarded with not a little alarm. Arrangements have been made with the officials to make excavations at the earliest possible moment to ascertain the cause of the occurrence and to guard, as far as possible, against a repetition of it. 

   Express trains pass over the spot at frequent intervals, and the possibility of a serious accident is not one that can be contemplated with equanimity. 

   Motherwell presents an extraordinary appearance to the newly arrived visitor. House after house is slowly sinking into its foundations. Some of them have swayed over bodily from the perpendicular; others have fallen apart, gable from gable, and collapsed. 

   The Town Hall is one of the most conspicuous examples of the havoc that is silently but irresistibly being wrought. Its square tower, seventy feet high, looks like a veritable Tower of Pisa. It leans so much that passers-by walk beneath it with nervous apprehension. 

   The Town Hall itself is in a state of dissolution. The building is cracked and contorted, and its walls are marked by gaping apertures. 

   In the south-west portion of the town there is hardly a building that remains intact. The street curbstones present a confused variety of angles, and the footpaths rise and fall independently of the contour of the streets. 

   Hitherto no means have been found for determining whether any sits in that portion of the town which is affected is likely to make reliable building land. The place is undermined by a regular network of disused coal workings, which cannot be located above the surface. The erection of new buildings is consequently a matter of speculation in more than the ordinary sense. 

   The uncertain foundations have a paralyzing effect upon enterprise and industry. It is only a few weeks since the foundation difficulty was overcome in the case of the new power station of the local tramway company. 

   It was found impossible to set the engines because the levels of the concrete on which they were erected are constantly varying. Operations were suspended for a time, but latterly special measures have been successfully adopted to overcome the difficulty. 

– Motherwell Times, Friday 12th February, 1904, p.3. 

   WAS IT SUICIDE? – One of the porters at Kirkcaldy railway station is the owner of a very fine Scotch terrier dog, which has recently been rearing two puppies. On Thursday morning a son of the porter, who is learning the bugle, was practising his instrument, when the discordant notes caused the mother of the puppies to howl most piteously. The combined noises so aggravated the railway official that he angrily ordered the dog to leave the house. The poor animal at once obeyed, and slunk in a disconsolate fashion up one of the lyes to a railway siding. A few minutes afterwards the porter called it back, and, receiving no reply, went in search of it, when he found the body of the dog lying decapitated by the side of the rails. 

– Fife Free Press, & Kirkcaldy Guardian, Saturday 13th February, 1904, p.4. 




   A regrettable accident occurred on the North British Railway at a point a little west of Springfield Station, on Saturday night, David Reekie, 22 years of age, ploughman, residing at Cults Mill, being killed. The deceased, who had spent the day as a spectator at the ploughing match at Rankeillour Mains, was last seen alive at 8.30 on Saturday night by Police-Constable Miller, who advised him to get away home. Reekie said he would, and left the Constable with that intention. It is presumed that the deceased was walking along the railway – with the view of striking off to Cults Mill by the mineral railway as a short cut – when he was come upon by an up-going train. The night was a stormy one, and rain was falling heavily. The body, covered with snow, was found about 7.30 on Sunday morning by William Stewart, foreman surfaceman on the Railway. He reported the matter to Constable Miller, who, on proceeding to the spot, identified the body. The legs were severed from the trunk, and the back of the head was frightfully smashed. The Constable had the remains conveyed to Cults Mill. Reekie was unmarried, and stayed with his mother. 

– St. Andrews Citizen, Saturday 13th February, 1904, p.6. 

   GIRL KILLED ON THE RAILWAY AT GLASGOW. – A shocking discovery was made at daybreak on Saturday morning by a railway employee, who found the body of a young woman cut in two on the North British Company’s line to Helensburgh, at Maryhill. Deceased was lying face downwards with her arms stretched out inside the rails, the body being severed below the breast. There were several wounds on the head, and it was supposed that the body had lain in this position since the previous night, and that a number of trains had passed over it. Deceased wore a waterproof over a grey costume, and had dark brown hair, full fresh face, and blue eyes. The identity of the girl was not discovered until the evening, when the body was identified by Thomas Shuttleton, 109 Renfrew Street, Glasgow, as that of his daughter, Isabella Shuttleton. She was twenty-six years of age, and her father stated that she had been in despondent spirits for some time. About noon on Thursday last she left home without saying where she was going, and was not seen again by any of her friends. 


   FATAL RAILWAY ACCIDENT AT GLENESK. – A workman engaged on Sunday duty at the Melville Colliery Company’s pit yesterday morning found the body of a man lying on the down line of the North British Railway at Glenesk. The unfortunate man’s remains were considerably mutilated. The body was taken to the Dalkeith mortuary to await identification. The man was about forty years of age, and on one of his arms there are several tatoo marks. 

– Scotsman, Monday 15th February, 1904, p.6. 


   Lord Low closed the record and ordered issues in an action by Euphemia Fox or Simpson, wife of and residing with John Simpson, shunter, Old Toll-House, Stoneybank, Musselburgh, against the North British Railway Company for £500 damages for personal injuries. On 15th October 1903 the pursuer was a passenger from Musselburgh to Edinburgh. While the train was standing in Piershill Station the rear carriage in a compartment of which the pursuer was sitting was run into by an engine and tender. The defenders admit that the collision was due to the fault of their servants, but they plead that the damages claimed are excessive. 

   Counsel for Pursuer – Mr A. M. Anderson. Agents – Miller & Leys, solicitors. 

   Counsel for Defenders – Mr Grierson. Agent – James Watson, S.S.C. 

– Scotsman, Thursday 18th February, 1904, p.8. 

   FATAL ACCIDENT AT ESKBANK. – The body of a man was found by a workman with the Melville Coal Company at Glenesk Colliery lying on the down main line on the railway near to Glenesk signal cabin early on Sunday morning. The body was badly mutilated, and was conveyed to the mortuary at Dalkeith. It was afterwards discovered that deceased was Willliam Bailey, a miner, residing at 53 Sherwood Cottages, Bonnyrigg, and it appears he had been in Edinburgh on Saturday night. Returning from there, it is supposed that he had arrived at Eskbank by the late train, getting out of the train in error, and then had the intention of walking home, but how he had got on to the railway is not known, but it would appear that he had walked off the platform on to the line in the wrong direction, as from an examination of the rails it appeared as if the body had been pushed or dragged along the line from the bridge at Eskbank Station to the spot where the body was found. Bailey was a married man, but had no family, having been recently married. 

– Musselburgh News, Friday 19th February, 1904, p.5. 






   Our climate! Have you any word fit to express your condemnation of it? 

   Now that February is well on its way to completion Jack Frost suddenly bids us “How do?” and bites our finger ends off. Winter has come at last, just when we were beginning to look forward to spring. The rich man shivers in his mansion; the poor man freezes in his room. 

   In Britain there is only one place where a man may keep really warm when the icicle hangs from the water-butt. It is out-of-doors. There, be he healthy, well-fed, and well-clad, he can keep his circulation up and enjoy the hackneyed delights of frosty weather, if he has plenty of leisure time and nothing particular to do except to skate, walk, or play games. 

   The national contempt for the extremes of our climate is absurd folly. It entails needless suffering upon hundreds of thousands. It reduces the vitality of the nation, and diminishes the output of its work. We are slowly realising these obvious truths. For instance, on some of the great railways the carriages on a few main line trains are now fitted with steam heating apparatus. But this progressive spirit has its limitation. There is no steam available until the engine is coupled on five minutes before the train starts, and so, if you enter a carriage at the departure terminus you find it a chilled chamber. 

Antiquated Foot-Warmers. 

   If the Americans were asked to depend upon our antiquated foot-warmers they would wreck the offices of the railway company making the proposition. Trains in the States are heated perfectly by steam from the engine. This is true of the most insignificant “local” trains as well as of the magnificent corridor expresses. 

   Transatlantic tramway companies have carried the idea farther. Until recently every tramcar in the United States boasted of a capacious coal stove during the winter season, and the conductor was also the stoker, replenishing his fire at the end of each run. But now electricity heats tramcars as well as private houses. the same power that drives the car and illuminates the interior at night is passed through a network of wires so that the car seats and floors are always warm. The advantage about this form of heating is that it lasts as long as the central power station is running; and passengers on a delayed car run no risk of freezing, as is often the case when coal supplies are exhausted. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Saturday 20th February, 1904, p.8. 

   FATAL ACCIDENTS INQUIRY. – Sheriff Armour and a jury conducted an inquiry at Cupar Sheriff Court on Tuesday into the circumstances regarding the death of Alexander Petrie, gate-keeper, residing at the Gate House, Methil Brae Crossing. The evidence showed that on Saturday, 19th December, the deceased, while in the act of attending to the gates at the level crossing where the mineral railway crosses the public high-way, was accidentally knocked down and run over by two derailed waggons, part of a train of empty waggons which was being driven along the mineral line. One of the derailed waggons came in contact with the gate post where the deceased was standing and threw him and the post across the highway. Petrie was killed instantaneously. A formal verdict was returned. 

– St. Andrews Citizen, Saturday 20th February, 1904, p.5. 

   FATAL ACCIDENT. – On Wednesday night an accident occurred on the railway at the slaghill near to Calder Iron Works, whereby a labourer of no fixed abode lost his life. It seems that the man had been sleeping on the slaghill, when he had the misfortune to be run over. He was removed to the Alexander Hospital, but died shortly after being admitted. Deceased is said to be a native of Ireland. 

– Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, Saturday 20th February, 1904, p.4. 

   By the death of Mr David Lamond, the veteran engine-driver of the Dundee and Newtyle Railway, a very interesting link with the past had been broken. Mr Lamond had many pawky stories to tell of his experiences on the line. 


   He was always a trustworthy servant, and had the honour of being selected to drive the first engine which passed over the Dundee and Newtyle line. On the 23d of February of last year Mr Lamond and his worthy wife had the pleasure of celebrating their golden wedding, surrounded by many friends. Four months ago Mrs Lamond was called away. One of Mr Lamond’s sons is the well-known artist. Mr W. B. Lamond. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Wednesday 24th February, 1904, p.2. 

   ACCIDENT. – While a man named McQue, of the Caledonian Buildings, a railway inspector of waggons, was engaged on his duties at Carfin, he stepped off an engine in front of another train, by which he was knocked down, and had his right arm taken off at the elbow. The unfortunate man was immediately conveyed to the Royal Infirmary. 


   DISTURBANCE AT THE RAILWAY STATION. – At Linlithgow Sheriff Court on Tuesday – before Sheriff-Substitute Macleod – Peter Collumb, quarryman, Shotts, was charged with having, on the 13th inst., at Fauldhouse Railway Station, behaved in a disorderly manner, and committed a breach of the peace. Previous convictions were recorded against him. he pleaded guilty, and stated he was the worse of drink. The Fiscal said accused was at the railway station, and began to abuse a quarry foreman, and annoyed the whole passengers on the platform. The Sheriff said conduct of this kind in a field was not very serious, but accused could see for himself that the same conduct at a railway station was very serious, because any commotion on a railway platform, where trains were coming in and going out, might lead to serious loss of life. He imposed a fine of 30s. or eighteen days’ imprisonment. 

– Linlithgowshire Gazette, Friday 26th February, 1904, p.5. 

   MAN INJURED ON THE RAILWAY. – About 12 o’clock on Saturday night a man named Tibias Macglinchey (63), labourer, was found lying on the Caledonian Railway a short distance from Old Blantyre Station. He had apparently taken a short cut to his son’s house in the Middle Row, Old Blantyre, where he resided, and in crossing the railway been knocked down by a train. Dr Gregor was summoned, and found the injured man suffering from five serious wounds on the head and face, and his left arm also seriously bruised. He was conveyed to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. 

– Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, Saturday 27th February, 1904, p.6. 

   The Great North of Scotland Railway Company are contemplating putting on a service of motor cars to accommodate out-lying districts along the course of their line. 


   FATAL ACCIDENT ON GLASGOW SUBWAY. – While Daniel Macintyre, fifty-four years of age, an engineer, residing at 28 Craigton Road, Goven, was standing on the platform of Govan Cross Subway Station about nine o’clock Saturday night, he staggered, and fell on to the inner circle line of rails. Unfortunately a car from Partick was due, and before the man could get up on to the platform, it had struck him, and knocked him down. The first carriage passed over him, injuring him very severely. He died almost immediately after being extricated from under the car. 

– Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, Monday 29th February, 1904, p.3. 


   Late on Saturday night a fireman, Andrew Moffat (31), residing in Wheatfield Road, Edinburgh, was run down and killed by a goods train near the west signal cabin at the Waverley Station. Moffat was in the act of climbing on to the engine, which was stationary, when he slipped and fell backwards on the line while a goods train was passing. He was terribly injured, and death was instantaneous. The body was removed to the Royal Infirmary in a railway ambulance waggon, where it could only be certified that life was extinct. Moffat belonged formerly to the K.O.S.B. [King’s Own Scottish Borderers], and took part in the Chitral campaign. For 18 months he was in the South African war, and took part altogether in about 20 engagements. He leaves a widow and two children. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Monday 29th February, 1904, p.2. 

   ACCIDENT AT GRAHAMSTON RAILWAY STATION. – About half-past seven o’clock on Saturday evening a man named William Murray, about twenty-eight years of age, a labourer, employed at the new docks, Grangemouth, met with a serious accident at Grahamston Railway Station. Murray and a companion were on the east platform, and amusing themselves with one of the luggage barrows. The barrow took an unexpected turn, and ran towards the edge of the platform, and Murray fell from the platform on to the line. Just at that moment a goods train, with two engines attached, entered the station from the east. The people on the platform gave the alarm, and attracted the attention of the drivers, who at once applied the brakes and drew-up their engines. Before the train could be brought to a standstill, however, the wheels of one of the engines had passed over the young man, almost severing his right leg above the ankle, cutting off part of his left foot, and lacerating and fracturing his left leg below the knee. When extricated from below the engine he was carried on a stretcher to one of the waiting-rooms, where his injuries were temporarily dressed, and he was then conveyed in an ambulance waggon to the Falkirk Cottage Hospital. 

– Scotsman, Monday 29th February, 1904, p.6. 

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