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May 1904

[Scottish Railway Incidents (1904) Contents]


   While walking between Callander Station and Callander Junction this morning, John Stewart, foreman platelayer, was struck by the engine of the 7.30 train to Glasgow. He sustained a severe bruise on one of his sholders, and his right leg was broken in two places. After being attended by Dr McLaren, he was taken to Stirling Royal Infirmary. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Thursday 5th May, 1904, p.5. 

   On Tuesday a porter named James Moffat was killed on the railway at Blairhill North British Railway Station. He had only been a day or two in the employment of the railway company. 


   A man, who was afterwards identified as James Dickson, plasterer, Ayr, was knocked down and killed at Newton-on-Ayr, Station by a train from Ayr on Thursday afternoon, while attempting to cross the line between the platforms. 

– Strathearn Herald, Saturday 7th May, 1904, p.2. 




   FULL details of the recent accident at the railway station involving the death of a young fireman named Herman Dow, who resided in Scott Street, Perth, were given to-day when an inquiry into the cause of the accident was conducted by Sheriff Sym. 

   John McFarlane, locomotive inspector, said he was going along to inspect the Crieff train about four o’clock on 22nd April when he noticed several men rushing towards the up central cabin. Witness also ran and found Dow lying in the four foot way of the centre road. He was unconscious and about 15 yards from the cabin he saw a pilot engine standing on the same set of rails. He suffered from fracture on the leg and arm, while his back was also injured. A stretcher was brought almost immediately and deceased was carried to the Infirmary. Deceased recovered consciousness on the way to the Infirmary. Dow seemed to feel a good deal of pain, but made no reference to the accident. Witness called at the Infirmary an hour or two later, and was not surprised to learn that Dow was dead. 

   Peter Russell, a shunter, residing at 25 Leonard Street, Perth, said he saw Dow standing near the up central cabin. Witness asked Dow if he was coming up for the pilot and he said he was. On looking round witness saw the pilot coming and said “here she comes.” They both stood for a little and watched the engine. Witness shifted the points to allow the engine to go into the yard for carriages. Dow was standing below the cabin when witness left him. Witness heard the engine whistle and on turning round he saw Dow stepping into a four foot way in front of the engine. Witness cried, but he was too late. He saw the engine go over Dow’s arm. 

   Geo. Henry Clayton, engine driver, stated that he was driving the pilot when the accident occurred and spoke to seeing Dow step in front of the engine. 

   Dr Keay, Resident Surgeon at the Infirmary, spoke to the serious nature of Dow’s injuries, and the jury returned a verdict according to the evidence. 


   LEVEL-CROSSING TRAGEDY. – An attempt on the part of the wife of John Smith, Blackbraes, Falkirk, to take away her life by swallowing a large dose of laudanum was frustrated on Tuesday, but on Wednesday the woman went to the level crossing at Blackbraes and threw herself in front of a passing train. Mrs Smith died in the course of three hours, her legs being both severed. 

– Perthshire Advertiser, Monday 9th May, 1904, p.3. 

   A NEST UNDER A RAILWAY CARRIAGE. – A train examiner at Perth last week discovered a bird’s nest, containing four eggs, under a North British Railway carriage. The train had done two runs between Edinburgh and Perth previous to the discovery, but the particular carriage had before that been undergoing repairs at Edinburgh, and it is supposed the nest had been built and the eggs laid during that time. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Monday 9th May, 1904, p.6.

   When is the Caledonian Railway Company going to raise the platforms at Cartsdyke Station? Perhaps the directors are waiting till somebody gets killed. Railway companies are proverbially slow to move, but this is a matter of no little importance to East-enders and others who frequently patronise the station, and one which calls for urgent attention. The footboard of the train is several feet higher than the platform, and one can easily imagine the difficulty many of the passengers, particularly elderly people, have in boarding or leaving a carriage. Yesterday morning, writes “Season,” a lady nearly had a perilous fall in negotiating the high step, and it wasn’t a case of entering the train while in motion. Fortunately an occupant of the compartment went to her assistance, and prevented what might have been a serious accident, as the lady had completely lost her balance, and was falling backwards, when the friendly hand was extended. Till such time as the desired improvement had been affected, the company might arrange for a supply of short ladders for Cartsdyke Station, which would enable passengers to enter and leave the train without being called upon to give an acrobatic display to the danger of life. 

– Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, Tuesday 10th May, 1904, p.3. 


   As the driver of a goods train for Berwick was passing over Barbachlaw Bridge, three-quarters of a mile to the east of Inveresk Station, about four o’clock this morning, he observed a man lying in the four feet way of the down line of rails. He stopped his train and went back with the Wallyford signalman to the spot, but life was found to be extinct. The body was that of a young man evidently of the collier class, and he apparently had been struck in the face by the engine of some passing train. The police were notified of the fact, and they had the body removed to the mortuary at Musselburgh for examination and identification. 

   In the course of the forenoon, the body was identified as that of Andrew Cornwall, a miner, residing at Wallyford. Deceased was 30 years of age, and is said to have been a married man. How he came to be on the line is not known. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Wednesday 11th May, 1904, p.2. 

   HOW THREE BOYS DERAILED A TRAIN. – The Dalkeith police are investigating the circumstances connected with an occurrence on the railway at Hardengreen on Sunday week, by which, it seems, three lads belonging to Bonnyrigg were the cause of nearly bringing about a serious accident. The lads entered some carriages that were standing on the lie at Hardengreen Station and afterwards took the brakes off the vans with the result that the carriages ran down the incline for a distance of 250 yards and on reaching the points were thrown off the rails. At this time a theatrical express train from Hawick to Edinburgh was just about due, and it was evident that if it ran up to time it would be impossible to avert a serious accident as there were no means of stopping the train after it passed Heriot. With commendable promptitude Mr Kennedy, the stationmaster, telegraphed to Heriot, and was greatly relieved in a few minutes to receive back word that the express was running an hour late. A large squad of men who were employed about the place immediately started to clear the line, and by hard work they were just able to effect a passage before the arrival of the train. The lads will probably be dealt with by the Magistrates in due course. 

– Dalkeith Advertiser, Thursday 12th May, 1904, p.2. 

   FOUND ON THE RAILWAY. – Last Thursday night a woman named Mrs Darcy, Adams Rows, Newcraighall, was found lying on the railway near Millerhill by a signalman on his way to work. She was taken to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where it was found that she was suffering from a broken leg. The woman could give no account of the accident, and it is not known whether she had fallen from a train or had been walking on the railway and been run over. 

– Dalkeith Advertiser, Thursday 12th May, 1904, p.3. 

   RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – About seven o’clock on Wednesday morning a Polish miner, named Peter Bonges, aged 35 years, and residing at 90 Muirpark Rows, Uddingston, met with a somewhat serious accident by being knocked down by a passenger train while walking along the side of the down main line of the Caledonian Railway, about 35 yards west of the bride which spans the Uddingston and Bellshill public highway. The man had been out of work for some time on account of ill-health, and was on his way to Viewpark Colliery in search of employment. Observing the man on the line, the driver of the engine sounded his whistle and shut off steam, but before the train could be brought to a standstill the buffers of the engine struck the unfortunate man on the back, sending him over the embankment, which is 15 feet high at this point. On being picked up the man was found to be unconscious, having sustained a wound about three inches long on the right side of his face, as well as a severe bruise on the back. After being medically attended by Dr Sutherland, Bothwell, the injured man was conveyed to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary in the Uddingston ambulance waggon. 

– Hamilton Herald and Lanarkshire Weekly News, Friday 13th May, 1904, p.6. 

Accident Near Uddingston 

   On Wednesday morning while a man named Peter Anglese, residing at 99 Muirpark Rows, Uddingston, was walking along the Caledonian Edinburgh line, near Fallside, on his way to his work, he was struck by the engine of the 6.50 train. Motherwell via Bellshill, and thrown over the embankment, where he was found lying in an unconscious condition. Medical aid was at nce procured, when the unfortunate man was found to have sustained an ugly wound on the cheek and serious internal injuries. He was at once removed to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. The embankment is about 20 feet deep at this point, and his escape from instant death is marvellous. 

– Motherwell Times, Friday 13th May, 1904, p.2. 






   Alexandria, Saturday. – About half-past two o’clock this morning a destructive fire occurred at Balloch Station on the Dumbarton Joint Railway, situated at foot of Loch Lomond. The fire originated in the large engine shed at the north end of the up platform. On its being discovered the fire brigade from Levenbank Works, Jamestown, were sent for, but despite all their efforts, with the assistance of the railwaymen, the building was burned to the ground. The waiting room, which adjoins the engine shed, and the platform were also totally destroyed. As several of the railwaymen’s houses are in close proximity to the shed and waiting rooms it was feared that they, too, would also meet the same fate. The occupants removed their furniture, and after considerable difficulty these buildings were saved. 

   The damage amounts to a considerable sum. The origin of the outbreak is at present unknown. The fire is still smouldering. 

– Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, Saturday 14th May, 1904, p.2. 


   An engine was pushing a number of empty waggons along the line connecting Nuneaton with Wyken Colliery last night, when the moving train dashed into several stationary trucks. A dozen were derailed, blocking the line, and two trucks embedded themselves in cottages on either side of the railway. Fortunately the tenants were not in their homes at the time. Both cottages were partially demolished. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Tuesday 17th May, 1904, p.4. 

   BULLOCK KILLED ON THE RAILWAY. – A lot of bullocks, belonging to Mr Kerr, Broomton, was being trucked at Forres Station yesterday when one of them got loose and unmanageable, and ran along the line until it was met by the 3.20 p.m. train from Inverness to Forres, about a mile north of the railway viaduct crossing the Findhorn. The animal was killed, but luckily there was no further mishap, though the train was stopped. 

– Inverness Courier, Tuesday 17th May, 1904, p.4. 

   RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – The engine of the goods train due at Macduff from Aberdeen on Saturday morning left the rails when shunting near the engine shed. In a short time an accident van arrived from headquarters, and had the engine replaced on the metals. The frequency of serious railway accidents at Macduff calls for some serious notice. 

– Banffshire Journal and General Advertiser, Tuesday 17th May, 1904, p.8. 

   HURRYING TO CATCH A TRAIN. – William Paterson, engineer, Inverurie, after hurrying to the railway station on Saturday to catch an early morning train, dropped down dead as he was about to enter the train. Deceased was well known in the cricketing world, and acted as Secretary and Treasurer of the Aberdeenshire Association. 

– Strathearn Herald, Saturday 21st May, 1904, p,2. 

   ANOTHER RAILWAY OUTRAGE. – Another outrage of a character similar to that which occurred a short time ago is reported from Coupar Angus. While the 3.54 p.m. passenger train from Perth to Aberdeen was approaching the station, a stone or other missile was thrown at the train, completely shattering the glass of one of the windows. The compartment was occupied by Lady Kinloch, who was travelling to Alyth Junction, and while fortunately not struck by the stone, her Ladyship was greatly alarmed, and suffered from the shock. On the arrival of the train at Coupar Angus the incident was reported to Mr Bayne, the stationmaster, who immediately apprised the police. Inquiries are being made, and the hope may be expressed, in view of the recent outrage of a similar character, that detection will ensue. 

– Perthshire Advertiser, Friday 27th May, 1904, p.3. 

   THAT railway accidents like misfortunes of other varieties, seldom come singly, was proved once again on the short strip of line between Irvine and Springside, the distressing fatality of last Saturday morning by which an elderly miner named Craighead lost his life, occurring within a mile and a half of the point at which the lad Duff had his foot crushed by a goods train, and narrowly escaped with his life, a fortnight ago. 

– Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, Friday 27th May, 1904, p.8. 

   MEETING OF RAILWAY MEN AT HAWICK. – On Sunday afternoon a meeting of railway men was held under the auspices of the local branch of the A.S.R.S. in the Masonic Hall, Union Street, Hawick. A local railway man presided. Mr John G. Muir (organising secretary), in addressing the meeting, said that the Society had reduced the hours of labour of railwaymen to such an extent as to give employment to upwards of 11,000 more men since 1890-1, and during the same period the wage bill of the companies had gone up about £8,000,000. The Society had also been the means of saving 50 per cent. of fatal accidents to railway men, and had greatly increased the safety of railway work and travelling. The Society had about 58,000 members, and close on a quarter of a million in the funds, and was well worthy of the support of every railway man in this country. 

– Hawick News and Border Chronicle, Friday 27th May, 1904, p.2. 


   In the Dumbarton Sheriff Court yesterday – before Sheriff P. J. Blair – George Earl, lately signalman at Clydebank Central Station, was charged, at the instance of the North British Railway, with having been guilty of misconduct in wilfully and negligently deserting from his employment without giving any intimation to the Company, whereby the lives and limbs of passengers were endangered and trains obstructed or impeded. He pleaded guilty. Mr David Cockburn, writer, who prosecuted, said the Railway Company looked upon the offence as a very serious one. The stationmaster, on looking out of his window at seven o’clock in the morning, noticed the signals were not being altered, and, becoming alarmed, went down to the station, where he found a letter from the accused, dated the previous night, stating he had got another and more suitable situation, and must start to-morrow morning, otherwise it would be filled up. Under the rules of the Company, however, no servant was allowed to quit the service without giving notice, and in the case of a signalman one month’s notice was required. The Sheriff said the accused had pleaded guilty to what, in his opinion, and in the opinion of the public also, was a very serious charge. It involved breaches of trust and contract, and it was quite conceivable, by his neglect of duty and desertion of post, that a serious accident might have happened. Accused could not break his contract in the way he had done without serious consequences, and he must send him to prison for a period of twenty-one days. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Saturday 28th May, 1904, p.3. 

   The Duke of Sutherland, travelling in his private train from Dunrobin to Inverness yesterday, had a collision with a loaded bogie near Bonar Station. The bogie was smashed, the front of the engine was damaged, but no one was injured. 

– Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, Tuesday 31st May, 1904, p.3. 




   Yesterday forenoon Thomas Thomson, 16 years of age, an apprentice engineer, residing at London Road, Kilmarnock, was removed to Glasgow Royal Infirmary suffering from severe injuries sustained at the extensions to the Central Railway Station above the Broomielaw. Thomson was employed, along with John McGregor, also an engineer, fitting up a hydraulic hoist. The latter sent him to the bottom of the hoist to clean it out, while he himself went in search of a joiner to do some work. Thomson thereupon looked over a gate in order to see where the hoist was situated, and, without the slightest warning, it ascended to his level, lifting the gate and the youth along with it. Before he could get himself clear the lad was jammed against a crossbeam, and his head came against another beam which such force that he sustained a severe scalp wound. One of the beams had to be cut in order to extricate the poor fellow from his precarious position. He was speedily removed to the Royal Infirmary, and placed under the care of Dr Bruce, who found that, in addition to the scalp wound, several ribs on the right side were broken, and the body was otherwise severely bruised. Thomson was in the employment of Glenfield & Kennedy, Limited, engineers, Kilmarnock. No person was on the hoist at the time of the accident, and the police have received no explanation as to how the hoist was set in motion. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Tuesday 31st May, 1904, p.3. 

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