July 1904

[Scottish Railway Incidents (1904) Contents]

   ACCIDENT. – On Wednesday night an accident of a somewhat peculiar nature occurred here. As the Edinburgh mail, leaving the Central at 6.55, was passing through Bellshill Caledonian Railway Station, William Brown, 87 Overdale Road, Langside, superintendent of the sorting department, overbalanced and fell from the train on to the platform. The mail was proceeding at a rapid rate, and Brown sustained severe injuries to his head, his right eye being badly injured. After being attended to by Dr Douglas, he was taken back to Glasgow in the train leaving Bellshill at 7.6, and was afterwards conveyed to the Royal Infirmary in the ambulance which was waiting for him at the Central. 

– Bellshill Speaker, Friday 1st July, 1904, p.3. 


   An accident occurred yesterday on the West Highland Railway at Shandon, whereby four persons were injured. It seems that the 7.13 a.m. train from Glasgow to Fort-William was drawn up at the home signal just outside Shandon Station in order that a horse-box, which was next the engine, might be detached. The engine with the horse-box went forward to the platform, but the brakes seem to have failed to work to the rest of the train, with the result that the train moved down the slight incline to the platform, a distance of about a quarter of a mile, increasing momentum until it gathered considerable speed near the station. The driver of the engine, while carrying out his shunting operations at the station, noticed the rest of his train hurtling along, and (says the “Daily Record and Mail”) without a moment’s delay decided on his course of action. To allow the train to proceed was to run a great risk of it coming to grief by jumping the metals and being hurled over an embankment, so he decided to bring his engine with the horse vehicle to a standstill and let them receive the shock. The collision between the rapidly moving carriages and the engine was severe, and led to the first carriage, a first-class saloon, being telescoped by the horse-box, but the other carriages kept the metals and came to a standstill. There were about 40 passengers, pretty equally divided between first and second-class fares, and the greater number suffered to some extent by the accident. For a time there was a scene of great confusion and distress. Fortunately, a couple of English doctors on tour were on the train, and rendered valuable assistance in attending to the injured, some of whom were seriously affected. The wife of an English Church dignitary, travelling with her husband and daughter, was completely prostrated by the shock. Councillor Sellars, of Helensburgh, was injured about the back. Mr John Williams had his mouth injured, and an Helensburgh workman named Ganning had his head cut. Most of the passengers, after having been attended to, proceeded by the train, which was delayed over an hour. Fortunately, the first-class saloon telescoped had had the fore part closely packed up with luggage, otherwise it might have been occupied by passengers and loss of life resulted. The passengers for the most part were English tourists bund for Fort-William. The wrecked saloon and horse-box were left in a siding at Shandon. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Saturday 2nd July, 1904, p.7. 







   A number of mishaps occurred in Dundee and district during Saturday and Sunday, the most tragic of these being a fatal accident on the railway at Broughty Ferry. The affair took place on the Dundee and Arbroath Joint Line, a short distance to the east of Orchar Park, ant the train involved was a special which was being run towards Dundee. While approaching Broughty Junction the train overtook and ran down a man who was walking on the line. The driver reported the affair at Broughty Ferry, and Mr Lamb, stationmaster, Inspector Soutar, Chief Constable Brechin, with Dr Gowans, proceeded to the spot. The body was terribly mutilated, the head and legs being cut off. A stretcher was procured, and the remains were removed to the Mortuary. No one was able to identify the remains. The pockets being searched, a return ticket dated the 3d inst. between Dundee and Broughty Ferry was found, together with 4s 2½d in cash. 


   It is presumed that deceased was a Dundee man, and had been travelling up the line, probably from the camps, to get the train at Broughty Ferry. it is stated that two other men saw the danger deceased was in when the train was approaching, and shouted to him, but he evidently did not hear them, nor realise his danger. 

   The deceased was dressed in a blue serge corded suit, buttons and hanger on jacket, there being black silk lining in the jacket and striped lining in the sleeves, grey woollen drawers, heather-coloured socks, white linen shirt outside Kirkcaldy striped shirt, grey flannel shirt with red binding round neck, black and white silk tie, and black felt hat. The Lorne shoes had been soled, while in his pockets were found a handkerchief, wooden pipe, check key, 4s 2½d in money, half-return railway ticket, Broughty Ferry to Dundee, of 3s inst. 






   Traffic at the Dundee stations was exceedingly heavy on Saturday, and several exciting scenes took place. On account of the cricket match at Forthill there was a huge volume of traffic at Dundee West and East Stations. In the evening, while the excursionists were leaving Dundee they were very boisterous, and minor disturbances, promptly quelled by the railway officials, were of frequent occurrence. An exciting affair occurred at the departure of the 9.30 p.m. excursion train from the West Station, when a man had a miraculous escape from serious injury. The train was heavily freighted, and there were a large number of people on the platform. As the train was moving off a man attempted to board it, but slipped and fell between the footboard and the platform. He was dragged along the platform for a considerable distance, while several railway officials kept hold of him. On the train being stopped the man was removed from his dangerous position, and was found to have sustained little injury. 

– Dundee Courier, Monday 4th July, 1904, p.5. 

   RAILWAY FATALITY IN EDINBURGH. – Early yesterday morning a man named Robert Laing (40), a quarryman, residing at Blackhall, Mid-Lothian, was admitted to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary suffering from severe injuries. About three o’clock in the morning, he was found on the railway line near Craigleith Station with one of his legs cut off below the knee and the other severely crushed above the knee. On his arrival at the Infirmary he was quite conscious, but could not recollect how he had got on to the line. The unfortunate man died a few hours after admission. 

– Scotsman, Wednesday 6th July, 1904, p.8. 

   Yesterday afternoon David Keay (17), engine-cleaner at Caledonian sheds, Perth, belonging to Alyth, had his right leg crushed between the buffers of two engines. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Saturday 9th July, 1904, p.5. 







Remarkable Escape. 

   A sensational affair took place at Perth General Station this forenoon shortly before twelve o’clock. 

   As the train from the north steamed rapidly into the main platform the numerous passengers awaiting the arrival of the 11.25 train were horrified to observe a respectably-dressed lady jump on to the rails in front of the approaching engine. The lady, who was accompanied by her husband and a little girl, alighted heavily in the four-footway, and cries of consternation and alarm were heard as the engine and four carriages passed over the place where she had fallen. 

   A number of station officials at once ran to the spot, and after the train had been brought to a standstill it was discovered that the lady had had a most miraculous escape, as the engine and the four carriages had passed over her without inflicting any serious injury. The force of the fall, however, caused several nasty bruises and cuts, but her escape from a horrible death is nothing less than providential. 


   At the time the lady jumped in front of the approaching engine her husband, who was standing by, made a desperate rush forward to save his wife, and it was only through the strenuous efforts of the railway officials that he was prevented from doing so. So great was his emotion that he swooned away as the huge engine and carriages passed over the spot. His relief at discovering that his wife had come to no serious injury was most marked, and he accompanied his wife to the Station Hotel, and afterwards to the Perth Royal Infirmary, where her injuries were attended to by Dr Kaye. 

   The lady appeared to have given way to a sudden uncontrollable impulse, and the affair naturally caused the greatest excitement among the many people who crowded the station platform at the time. 

   On inquiry it was learned that the lady’s name is Mrs Scrymgeour, Lothian Street, Edinburgh. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Wednesday 6th July, 1904, p.4. 




   Patrick Boyle, surfaceman, John Street, met his death under distressing circumstances on Saturday afternoon. About two o’clock he was examining the line on the Glasgow and South-Western Railway a little to the east of Lynedoch Station when he was run over by a passenger train. His right foot was cut off by the wheels. The injured man was conveyed to the Infirmary, where he died soon after admission. 

– Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, Monday 11th July, 1904, p.2. 



   William Duncan, shunter, 39 Gilcommon Steps, Aberdeen, was yesterday, while engaged in shunting at the Denburn Junction, on the Great North Railway, near the Joint Station, fell in front of a carriage, the wheels of which passed over his legs, breaking one of them and inflicting such injuries on the other which necessitated its amputation. He died in the Royal Infirmary last night. 

– Dundee Courier, Tuesday 12th July, 1904, p.6. 

   ACCIDENT ON THE RAILWAY. – Yesterday morning, shortly before six o’clock, Mary Stevenson, millworker, residing in Darnick, met with a rather serious accident on the railway near the Red Bridge, a short distance south of Selkirk junction. A number of millworkers who reside in Darnick and work at Netherdale Mill are in the habit of walking along the railway, which is a short cut to the mill. Stevenson, who suffers from rheumatics, had started before her companions, and was knocked down by the Pullman train due at Galashiels from London at 6 o’clock. The driver reported the affair at Galashiels, and a pilot engine was sent to the scene of the accident, but the injured woman in the interval had been discovered by her companions and carried home. Her arm was badly torn, and four of her ribs were broken. 

– Southern Reporter, Thursday 14th July, 1904, p.3. 



(Before Hon. Sheriff Jamieson). 

   The Finding of an Infant Child at Queensferry. – Amy Kerr McIntosh or Donaldson, wife of a railway porter, employed on the Highland Railway, at Inverness, was examined on a charge of having exposed and deserted an infant child at Dalmeny Railway Station, on the night of Tuesday of last week. It was said at the time that the woman was travelling with a privilege ticket from Edinburgh, whereas the woman who did leave the child came off a Glasgow train, and the officials were in consequence thrown off the track of the woman. By means of an advertisement offering a reward of £5 for information of the woman who left the child, she was apprehended in Inverness on Tuesday, by the Inverness police. On Wednesday she was brought to Linlithgow, by Inspector Simpson, Queensferry. After emitting a declaration before Hon. Sheriff Jamieson yesterday, she was committed to prison for trial. 

– West Lothian Courier, Friday 15th July, 1904, p.8. 




   An extraordinary railway fatality was reported to the Lanark police yesterday evening. As the 3.32 express passenger train from Carlisle to Glasgow was passing the 58¼ mile post on the down main line of the Caledonian Railway near Abington Station, two platelayers saw a man fall from one of the compartments near the centre of the train. He was hurled 30 yards along the embankment, and was picked up quite dead, with his skull and left arm completely shattered. The Abington stationmaster was informed, and Dr Newbigging examined the body, which was removed to the waiting-room. In one of the pockets was found a single ticket from Cardiff to Glasgow, also several letters addressed “George Palmer, chief engineer, s.s. St. Ninian,” a silver hunting watch, gold albert, gold badge, having engraved on one side the inscription – “G.J.F.A. Won by Linthouse F.C., 1889. George Palmer.” 

   Later on the body was identified by Peter Grant, spirit merchant, Govan, as that of his brother-in-law, George Palmer, who was in the employment of Messrs Mackay & Co., shipowners, West Regent Street, Glasgow. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Friday 15th July, 1904, p..4. 

   PLUCK AND PRESENCE OF MIND. – Mr William Miller of Burnfoot, Fairlie, has been awarded the silver medal of the St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association for rescuing, at imminent risk to himself, Mr Archie Woodside at Fairlie railway station on 11th June last. Mr Woodside had got down on to the line from the off side of his train to recover his ticket, when another train emerged from the tunnel about fifty yards distant. As he was making for the platform again, Mr Woodside stumbled and fell, when, without a moment’s hesitation, Mr Miller jumped down from the platform and dragged him to the six-foot way between the two sets of metals where he lay in safety. 

   DEATH FROM AN INJURED TOE. – Joseph Wilden, residing at 198 New Kippochhill Road, Glasgow, died yesterday morning in his house from the effects of injury sustained to his big toe on the 5th inst. while at his employment in the locomotive works of the North British Railway Company. 

– Scotsman, Saturday 16th July, 1904, p.8. 



   Yesterday afternoon, a locomotive and guard’s van were thrown over an embankment on the Canal Line near Elderslie, but happily without serious injury to anyone. The driver had been shunting on a siding, and it is believed at rather high speed, with the result that the engine came upon the buffers with too great force and was thrown down the adjoining embankment. Traffic was not impeded, and the railway servants concerned have had a narrow escape. 

– Paisley & Renfrewshire Gazette, Saturday 16th July, 1904, p.4. 



   About 12 o’clock last night, while Ralph Morris and Alexander McVean, railway porters, Perth, were engaged putting gas into a railway carriage at Perth General Station, they met with serious injuries to their faces and hands. the pipe with which they were inserting the gas was leaking, with the result that when Morris approached with a lighted lamp the gas ignited and exploded about them. They were removed to the infirmary. Their faces were terribly burned, and nearly beyond recognition. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Tuesday 19th July, 1904, p.4. 



   Francis Walker, surfaceman, 65 Powis Place, Aberdeen, while working along with other four men in the Schoolhill tunnel of the Great North of Scotland Railway yesterday afternoon, was knocked down by the tender of an engine proceeding from the Joint Station to Kittybrewster and severely injured. Information was at once sent to the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, close at hand, and assistance was soon procured. On being taken into the infirmary the man had his injuries attended to by Dr Johnston. Those injuries were found to be of a serious nature. His skull was fractured, and his back was also injured. He remained unconscious till half-past six, when he succumbed to the injuries. Walker was 51 years of age. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Wednesday 20th July, 1904, p.4. 

   MAN KILLED ON THE RAILWAY. – On Friday morning the driver of an engine proceeding on the point between Overtoun and Wishaw South Station, observed an object lying on the permanent way. He reported the matter, and on the police proceeding to the spot they found the terribly mangled remains of a man lying on the up line. The body was identified as that of John Gilligan, miner, who resided at Wishaw. For the last twelve months, it appears, his mind had been a little unhinged. He seemed to have wandered on to the railway and been run down. 

– Southern Reporter, Thursday 21st July, 1904, p.4. 

   SUDDEN DEATH OF A MUSSELBURGH MAN IN GLASGOW. – On Monday afternoon, a man, who was afterwards identified as James Hughes, 45 years of age, and who resided at 144 High Street, Musselburgh, died very suddenly at Cowlairs Station of the North British Railway. He left Musselburgh by the forenoon train, and then travelled by the 2.5 train to Glasgow from the Waverley Station, Edinburgh. Arriving at Cowlairs shortly after three o’clock, h there left the train, and five minutes later he was found by a railway employee lying unconscious on the floor of the lavatory. He was removed to the platform, where he expired almost immediately. Heart disease is supposed to have been the cause of death. 

– Musselburgh News, Friday 22nd July, p.4. 

Found Dead on the Line. 

   A gruesome discovery was made yesterday morning by the driver of a pilot engine near Springside Railway Station, Irvine. 

   Lying on the line was the mangled body of Alexander Grant (48), miner, Plain Row, Kilmaurs. It is believed that Grant was killed by one of the late trains the previous night. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Saturday 23rd July, 1904, p.7. 

   FATAL ACCIDENT. – John Foster, an engine-driver, 29 years of age, and residing at West High Street, Buckhaven, met his death, on Monday night, on the mineral railway that runs between Buckhaven Railway Station and Muiredge Colliery. About ten minutes past six, and at a spot 150 yards north of the station, the driver of a light engine belonging to Messrs Bowman & Company, coalmasters, felt his engine bump, as though running over something. He drew up and examined the four-foot way, where he found Foster lying, the unfortunate man’s legs being severed from above the knees. Dr Dawson was summoned and Foster removed home, but the injuries sustained were so serious that the patient died about nine o’clock the same night. The only relative of the deceased in the district is his mother. 

– Fife Free Press, & Kirkcaldy Guardian, Saturday 23rd July, 1904, p.3. 

   On Wednesday a waggon in one of the sidings at the railway station at Elliot caught fire from a passing engine, and considerable damage was done. 

– Montrose, Arbroath and Brechin Review; and Forfar and Kincardineshire Advertiser, Friday 29th July, 1904, p.3.






   Shortly after seven o’clock this morning a serious collision took place at Motherwell Railway Station, on the Caledonian Railway. An English train had arrived, and the front portion had been dispatched to Glasgow, leaving the carriages for the north portion still standing. Another train came crashing into the rear of the standing carriages. 

   The guard’s van was smashed into atoms, and the compartment next to it was pierced by the van. Six passengers from England were injured. They were carried into the waiting-room and attended to by several doctors, but none are in a dangerous condition. 

   The down line is blocked by the wreckage, but the traffic is being worked on the single line. The cause, though not known, is believed to be that either the signalman or the engine-driver made a mistake. 


   The following are reported as injured:- 

   John R. Wishart, 49 Union Street, Walsall, bruised ribs and shock. 

   Mrs A. Stevens, 73 Wheeler Street, Birmingham, shock. 

   Peter Martin, 23 Stroude Road, Wolverhampton, scalp wound; and his wife, 

   Mrs Martin, slight injuries and shock. 

   Harry Moore West, bruises and shock. 

   Miss Forbes, Elibank, Woodside, Aberdeen, right ear and cheek bruised, and shocked. 

   After being attended to all were able to proceed on their journey by a later train. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Saturday 30th July, 1904, p.3. 


   Yesterday afternoon an accident, which resulted fatally, occurred on the Edinburgh and Leith branch of the North British Railway, James Brown, 19 years of age, who resided at 10 Bath Road, Leith, stoker on the 5.15 train from Leith Central Station, being the victim. While the train was drawing near the bridge near Lochend Road which carries the Caledonian Railway over the North British line, Brown had gone on to the tender of his engine for the purpose of getting a lamp. his head was brought into violent contact with the bridge when the train passed under, and he sustained a compound fracture of the skull. Brown was at once conveyed to the Royal Infirmary, where he died a little after seven o’clock. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Saturday 30th July, 1904, p.2. 

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