June 1904

[Scottish Railway Incidents (1904) Contents]



Old Man’s Tragic Death. 

   A distressing railway fatality occurred at Aberdeen Railway Station this morning, about half-past eight o’clock. A labourer named James Linton was crossing the main line under Guild Street Bridge as a train from the north was entering the station, and Linton was in the act of stepping on to the platform when he was struck by the first step of the tender of the engine, and was knocked down between the platform and the rails. In falling his legs landed on one of the rails, and the wheels of the tender passed over them. He was removed to the Royal Infirmary, and died shortly after admission. Deceased, who was abut 70 years of age, was married, and resided in John Street. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Wednesday 1st June, 1904, p.4. 

   BOYS BIRCHED FOR MALICIOUS MISCHIEF. – Before Sheriff Guy, in Edinburgh Summary Court on Friday, two boys named George Sibbald (12) and Hugh Jamieson (12), both residing at Lothian Street, Bonnyrigg, were charged with having maliciously set two railway carriages in motion on Sunday, the 1st May, at a railway siding in Hardengreen goods station, whereby the carriages run on to the main down line of the North British Railway leading from Hawick to Edinburgh. The Fiscal explained that boys were in the habit of going to the siding on Sundays. On the occasion in question the boys at the bar had got into the guard’s van, which was attached to several carriages, and unscrewed the brake which kept the carriages still. This resulted in the carriages going down the incline for a distance of over two hundred yards, and blocking the main line. At that time an express train from Carlisle was due, but fortunately it was an hour late, which enabled the railway people to get a number of men to clear the line before the express came along. The Sheriff said that was a very serious case of malicious mischief. The boys before him were old enough to know the danger they had created, and even if there had been no previous complaints regarding the conduct of the other boys at the same place, he would still have considered it a case to make an example of. The accused boys had to be taught that such behaviour would not be tolerated, and he therefore ordered them to receive ten stripes each with the birch rod. 

– Dalkeith Advertiser, Thursday 2nd June, 1904, p.3. 

   SCHOOL BOY KILLED ON THE RAILWAY. – At the Glasgow and South-Western Railway Station at Stevenston on Saturday afternoon, a school boy named Alexander Montgomery (10), residing with his mother at Arthur Street, Saltcoats, was knocked down by the 1-17 passenger train to Kilmarnock and killed while trying to cross the railway at the level crossing. 

– The Scotsman, Monday 6th June, 1904. 




   A SOMEWHAT exciting incident occurred before six o’clock this morning at the General Railway Station. The Royal Mail van was proceeding down the station road with the mails for the early train when the horse commenced to kick in a frantic manner, and in the course of its struggling one of the animal’s legs became entangled with one of the shafts. The vehicle looked like being precipitated on to the lines, but fortunately a few men who witnessed the accident had the presence of mind to seize hold of the wheels and so prevent a serious block on the line. 

   The van was so severely smashed that it had to be removed for r4epairs, and the mails are now being conveyed to the station in a parcel van. 

– Perthshire Advertiser, Wednesday 8th June, 1904, p.5. 

   AN HISTORIC BUILDING DESTROYED. – One of the most destructive fires which has taken place in Fochaber for a long number of years occurred in Fort-William on Saturday afternoon in a large block belonging to the North British Railway Company. A historical interest attaches to the structure destroyed inasmuch as it formed one of the original buildings of the old fort, and it was from this, or one of the adjacent houses, that the order was issued in 1692 for the massacre of the Glencoe Macdonalds. The loss, including property and effects, is estimated at £2000. 

– Southern Reporter, Thursday 9th June, 1904, p.4. 

   TRESPASSING ON THE RAILWAY. – A short time ago the Railway Company, in order to put a stop to workmen crossing the main line of rails at Trees Junction when going to and from Torbane and Torbanehill Pits, of Northrigg Collieries, had their official policemen and the local county police stationed at the junction, when 22 men were caught and summoned to the County Court, where they were fined 1s. each. The road having been travelled by the men since the collieries were established a long number of years ago, many believed that the action taken by the Railway Company was only to free them from responsibility should any accident happen to any of the trespassers, and gradually a number of them resumed the old road, especially those to whom the road cut off a mile of their journey. On Friday afternoon the police lay in wait for those who were still keeping up the practice of crossing the railway, but fortunately for the men danger was scented afar off, with the result that what might have proved a very expensive trip to Linlithgow was avoided by none coming into the policemen’s net. 

– Linlithgow Gazette, Friday 10th June, 1904, p.5. 




   A sad railway accident took place about twelve o’clock last night at the Caledonian Railway Station, Coatbridge. Just after the 8 p.m. express train from Aberdeen, which is due at Coatbridge at 11.32, had left the station a man was found on the line with is legs terribly crushed, he was taken back to the station, where he was found to be James Bradley, sleeping car attendant of the train in question. 

   How the accident occurred is not known, but it is thought that Bradley noticed something wrong with the door of his car, and as he was putting it right his legs got crushed between the footboard and a low string girder. Dr Andrew was in attendance, and had the injured man removed to Alexander Hospital, where he died this morning. Bradley resided in London, and has a brother a stationmaster at Tring. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Saturday 11th June, 1904, p.3. 

   ACCIDENT. – On Thursday morning, while the local hirers were at Dunning Station waiting for the 8.13 train from Glasgow to Perth, the driver of one of these proceeded up to the loading bank with his machine, and drawing the same aside, dismounted to lend a hand in loading some timber, and while engaged at same the horse got startled, wheeled about, and ran towards the station, knocking over Mr. Wm. Mailer, coal agent, who happened to be in its way. The horse then continued it mad career towards Dunning, and, making up to a machine in advance, soon brought the runaway to a stand, and fortunately sustained little damage. Mr Mailer made a miraculous escape from serious injury, and although severely shaken, together with a few bruises from the knock-over – the machine going over him – is, so far as we can learn, otherwise uninjured, but had to leave his duties for home. The accident, taking into consideration the situation and vicinity of its occurrence, might, however, have had a rather serious termination. 

– Strathearn Herald, Saturday 11th June, 1904, p.5. 






   A serious accident occurred at Leuchars Old Station this forenoon, by which Alexander Sime, about 9 years of age, whose parents reside at Rires Farm, was seriously injured about the head. The gates of the level crossing across the main street of the village were closed for the forenoon goods train, and instead of using the bridge the little fellow obtained access to the station by an open gate, and attempted to cross the line just as the train was being drawn up. The accident was unobserved, except by a man standing in the station, and his shout of warning came too late to avert the disaster. 

   The poor child was struck on the head by the approaching engine, and thrown four or five yards on to the four-footway, being thrown clear of the wheels. In this manner the injuries were confined to the head, where he was first struck, but these, it is feared, may prove serious. After being attended to by Dr Constable, Leuchars, he was removed to Dundee Royal Infirmary. When the accident became known prompt measures were taken at the station to do all that was possible, and the fast train was stopped at the junction to expedite the departure of the injured boy to Dundee. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Thursday 16th June, 1904, p.3. 

   Casualty at Uphall Station. – On Saturday night the signalman at Uphall Station, with several others, noticed a man walking by the railway. He appeared to be suffering, and on going to his assistance they discovered that he had had an arm almost severed from his body. Mr Colin Cameron, stationmaster, wired to Bathgate for an engine and van, and the unfortunate victim was conveyed to Edinburgh Infirmary. He was not able to give an account of himself, from the train, he laid down to rest by the rails, and was injured by a passing train. He is believed to have been a labourer from Bangour. 

– West Lothian Courier, Friday 17th June, 1904, p.8. 

   RAILWAY ACCIDENT TO A NONAGENARIAN. – On the arrival at Alloa on Thursday morning of the 9.25 train from Dunfermline, Andrew Nicol (who gave his age to the police at 97) stepped out on the wrong side of the carriage and fell on the rails, fracturing the ankle of his right leg. The town’s ambulance van was at once procured, and the unfortunate old man was conveyed to the County Hospital, where his injuries were attended to by Dr Dyer. 

– Alloa Advertiser, Saturday 18th June, 1904, p.2. 


   In connection with the great alterations at the Central Station, Glasgow, now approaching completion, the most important piece of engineering work is the new bridge across the Clyde, one of the broadest and most substantial viaducts in the country. It is 810 feet in length and 120 feet in average breadth, and is supported upon eight steel caissons sunk under compressed air. The depth of the foundations is, in the case of the land piers, about 60 feet below the surfaces of the quays, and in the case of the river piers from 66 to 70 feet below high water level. The principal spans of the bridge are 160 feet, 200 feet, and 178 feet. The trains will run on the tops of the girders. Greater space will thus be available, and it will be possible to have points, crossings, connections, and junctions of all kinds on the bridge – an important achievement. The works have4 been carried out under the direction of the company’s engineer in chief, Mr D. A. Matheson. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Monday 20th June, 1904, p.2. 

   TAMPERING WITH RAILWAY POINTS. – At Falkirk Sheriff Court yesterday a schoolboy named Thomas Needham, residing in the village of Standburn, was sentenced to receive ten stripes with the birch rod for tampering with the points on a mineral railway near Polmont, causing some of the waggons of a mineral train to be thrown off the line. It was stated that the boy not only shifted the points but put a stone under them to keep them stationary. Had it not been for the fact that the mineral train was going very slowly at the time and that the guard had noticed there was something wrong, serious loss of life and damage to property might have been caused. 

– Scotsman, Wednesday 22nd June, 1904, p.8. 

   ALARMING OCCURRENCE IN GREENOCK. – Yesterday afternoon an engine, with tender attached, was proceeding down the incline in the woodyard of Messrs Scott & Co., shipbuilders, East Hamilton Street, when the wheels failed to grip on account of the rain. Gathering speed as it went, the engine crashed through the large gate of the yard, ran across the main street, and through another large gate into Messrs Scott’s shipbuilding premises, before it was brought to a stand. The gatekeeper, Robert Marshall, narrowly escaped being killed. 

   EDINBURGH MAN KILLED ON THE CALEDONIAN RAILWAY NEAR PEEBLES. – On the arrival of the 6.45 passenger train at the Caledonian Station, Peebles, yesterday evening, it was reported that a man had been killed on the railway near Manor Bridge, about two miles from Peebles. Later in the evening the remains were brought to Peebles. The deceased was James McFarlane, master blacksmith, of the firm of Keddie & McFarlane, Rose Street, Edinburgh. He had driven out to Peebles yesterday with his wife and a friend to see the possession and sports, and in the course of the afternoon had left his wife to take a walk up Tweedside. he had wandered on to the line, and the driver of the train gave warning of his approach, but the deceased failed to get clear, and was hurled a distance of thirty yards to the foot of the embankment. Death was instantaneous. 

– Scotsman, Saturday 25th June, 1904, p.8. 

   A Boy of eleven “lifts” a Bicycle. – In Elgin Police Court on Wednesday – before Baillie Norris – William Alexander Tennant (11), scholar, Bishopmill, pleaded guilty to the theft of a bicycle from the Great North of Scotland Railway Station at Elgin on Saturday last. On that day a lady travelling by an afternoon train left her bicycle unguarded in a waiting room. On returning the same evening she went to claim the bicycle, and found it had disappeared. The station buildings were closely scorched without avail. The owner complained to the police, and their inquiries resulted in the apprehension of the lad Tennant at Aberlour on Tuesday. He had the bicycle which was valued at £7, in his possession. The boy had been before the court previously, and the magistrate now ordered him to be detained in Rosie Reformatory, Montrose, for four years. 

– Banffshire Herald, Saturday 25th June, 1904, p.8. 

   FATAL ACCIDENT ON THE RAILWAY AT MARKINCH. – A distressing accident happened on Saturday at Messrs R. Tullis & Co.’s Paper Mills, whereby a man named John Williamson lost his life. Williamson had finished work for the day, and intended taking advantage of the mill goods train to Markinch Station as a short road home. Shunting operations were going on, and to escape the shock of a waggon which was approaching the one he was in he lay down in the waggon. The impact must have been rather severe, as his head got knocked against the end of the waggon, causing instant death. Deceased was 71 years of age, and leaves a widow and grown-up family, with whom much sympathy has been expressed. Sad to relate, his brother, Mr George Williamson, Pathhead, arrived by train in the afternoon with the view of spending a few hours with him, and was grieved to find, on entering the house, that his brother was dead. 

– Fife Free Press & Kirkcaldy Guardian, Saturday 25th June, 1904, p.4. 

   Passengers on Port-Glasgow Station platform the other day had a sixty-seconds’ thrill. A small dog got on the rails in the way of an incoming train, and all the entreaties of its owner could not move it. It jumped clear at the psychological moment, but the air of the train threw it over on its side, and only by kicking and struggling violently did it same itself from being sucked in among the wheels. 

– Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, Wednesday 29th June, 1904, p.3. 

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