Site icon Random Scottish History

December 1904

[Scottish Railway Incidents (1904) Contents]

   SEVERE ACCIDENTS DURING SHUNTING OPERATIONS. – In two cases this week serious accidents took place during the dangerous operation of shunting waggons. On Monday, Wm. Melville, a shunter in the employment of the N.B.R. Company. residing at South Street, Innerleven, while engaged in shunting operations at Methil Dock, met with a serious accident to his right hand. It appears that an engine and bogey were being shunted to draw out some loaded waggons, and when using the coupling pole it slipped, with the result that Melville’s hand slipped and jammed between the buffers of the bogey and waggons. He was attended to by Dr Caskie, who ordered his removal to Kirkcaldy Cottage Hospital. It is feared several of his fingers will have to be amputated. A little to the east another painful accident took place next day. Thomas Gordon, a shunter in the employ of the Fife Coal Company, was in the morning arranging a train of empty waggons at Innerleven siding. He joined together the waggons the engine was to take, and uncoupled others which were to be left in the siding. the work done, he jumped on to the buffer of the last waggon in his train and was giving the signal to the engine driver to start when, unobserved by him, another engine entered the siding from the opposite end, pushed up the waggons and jammed his foot between the buffers. Gordon’s foot and leg were both injured and he was conveyed home. Here Dr Templeton gave him immediate attention. It is stated several bones in the foot are broken. 

– Leven Advertiser & Wemyss Gazette, Thursday 1st December, 1904, p.3. 





Supposed Fall from a train. 




   An accident of an extraordinary nature was reported to the authorities at Dundee Tay Bridge Station last night. 

   About eight o’clock, while the watchman on duty at the Tay Bridge was patrolling the structure, he heard groans, which seemed to emanate from a man in great pain. At the time the watchman was approaching the high girders, and searching the railway track with the aid of his lamp he came across a man lying in the six-foot way. The man was in a serious state, his right leg being bruised and smashed close to the ankle, while the foot was badly crushed. 

   Communication was obtained with the authorities at Dundee, and the local train due at the Tay Bridge Station at 8.30 was stopped at the place where the accident occurred, the injured man being taken on board, and conveyed to Dundee. The ambulance van was in waiting, and he was taken to Dundee Infirmary. The injured man’s name was given as James Dewar, aged about 60, and residing in South Road, Cupar. 

   The precise manner in which he came to be on the Tay Bridge is unknown, but it is thought that he was a passenger by the 6.25 p.m. train from the Tay Bridge Station, and while the train was crossing the bridge he had fallen out, and alighted on the six-foot way. A train must have passed over his foot, and from the time of the accident to the discovery he must have suffered great agony. 

– Dundee Courier, Thursday 1st December, 1904, p.4. 

   HARDENGREEN GUARD FATALLY INJURED. – On Monday evening a serious accident occurred to David Whyte who resides at 22 Westfield Park, and who is employed as second guard on the Galashiels to Edinburgh goods train. The train left Galashiels at 2.10 p.m. At Pomathorn Station the train was shunted into a siding to allow of the running of the passenger train to Edinburgh, due at Pomathorn at 5.48. The train proved too long for the one siding, and the engine and six waggons were detached with a view to their entering a second siding, and Whyte was in the act of stepping from the engine after the waggons had been uncoupled, when his foot slipped on the snow, and the wheels of the engine passed over his legs. At the spot where the accident happened the snow is very deep – indeed, the line would have been completely blocked the previous Monday but for the running of the snow plough. Immediate assistance was given to the injured man by, among others, Mr James Jardine, Lecturer at the Heriot-Watt College, and a medical student who happened to be in the passenger train. The goods engine was detached, and the injured man placed in the passenger van and conveyed to the Waverley Station and thence to the Royal Infirmary, where he died about two hours later. Whyte’s father was first guard on the train, and assisted to remove his son after the accident. The family are well known at Westfield, and much sympathy is being expressed for the bereaved parents. 

– Dalkeith Advertiser, Thursday 1st December, 1904, p.2. 

   NARROW ESCAPE FROM DEATH ON THE RAILWAY. – A serious accident occurred on Monday night outside the Railway Station where the Forfar Direct line branches off from the branch to Bridge of Dun. It appears that George Aitken, a farm servant, residing at Brae of Pert, had spent the day at Edzell market, and on his return by some means had got on the line. About 6.15 the Forfar Direct train from Brechin came up, and caught him in the back. The engine-driver, having observed the man, and fearing that an accident had happened, apprised the signalman at the north box, who telephoned to Brechin, and several of the porters went up, when Aitken was found lying on the north side of the line, the impact having thrown him clear of the rails. He was at once taken to Brechin Infirmary, where he was attended by Dr Landsborough, who found that he was suffering from shock, but, fortunately, no bones were broken. 

– Montrose Standard, Friday 2nd December, 1904, p.6. 


   Late on Saturday night, whilst the Devon Valley goods train was leaving Sauchie Station, the driver felt the engine go over something. A search was made, and a man was discovered lying on the line, the train having passed over one leg below the knee, and crushed his other foot. He was taken to the Alloa Accident Hospital, where he now lies in a precarious condition. He is James Gray Reid, miner, Devon Square. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Monday 5th December, 1904, p.3. 






   The D. and A. Joint Railway was the scene of a fatal accident this morning, the victim being Alexander Edmunds, platelayer, who resided in St Vigeans Road, Arbroath. 

   Edmunds was proceeding to his work, which was a short distance past Elliot Station, when he was overtaken by the 6.20 express from Aberdeen, and from the nature of the injuries, death would appear to have been instantaneous. Edmunds, whose body was shockingly mutilated, was almost sixty years of age, and leaves a widow and family. 

   It may be mentioned that only last summer a son of deceased met his death by falling over the cliffs at Arbroath. 

   It appears that deceased, along with several others, was about to commence work, and that he had his hammer in hand when the fatality occurred. The train dashed upon Edmunds before he had time to get out of the way, and when picked up by the other workmen the body was minus the head and an arm, while the abdomen was terribly smashed. 

   The mutilated corpse was taken to Elliot Station, and it is understood that before being taken to Arbroath it will be coffined. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Monday 5th December, 1904, p.2. 

   SERIOUS RAILWAY ACCIDENT TO A BOY. – On Saturday a serious accident befel a boy named Henry Inglis, who was employed as a lamp lad at the Waverley Station, Edinburgh. Inglis, who is fourteen years of age, had been at work on the top of a carriage, which was one of a line about to be shunted. Whether he was knocked off by the train starting or whether he lost his hold in climbing down is not known. After the train had been run forward a good distance he was found lying between the metals. He had been severely crushed by the wheels, and when he was discovered one of his legs and one of his arm were found still across the rail. He was removed to the Royal Infirmary, where the injured limbs were amputated. 

– Scotsman, Monday 5th December, 1904, p.6. 

   FATAL ACCIDENT ON THE HIGHLAND RAILWAY. – Early this morning a distressing fatal accident occurred on the Highland Railway at Brodie Station, whereby William Dick, employed on the night-staff, lost his life. It appears that the 11 p.m. goods train from Inverness to Perth was engaged in shunting at Brodie Station. Dick was crossing from the signal cabin to the up platform shortly before the shunting had been completed, when he was accidentally knocked down by the train and run over and instantaneously killed. The deceased was for a considerable number of years in the employment of the Highland Railway Company at Brodie Station. 

– Northern Chronicle and General Advertiser for the North of Scotland, Wednesday 7th December, 1904, p.4. 

   MAN DECAPITATED NEAR LONGNIDDRY. – Early yesterday morning the body of a labourer named George Watt, belonging to Musselburgh, was found near Cantyhall, Longniddry, on the railway in a dreadfully mutilated condition, the head and arms being severed from the trunk. Deceased had evidently been run down by one of the London trains. 


   WOMAN FOUND DEAD ON THE RAILWAY. – Early yesterday morning, while a porter was walking along the Glasgow and South-Western Railway from Canal to Paisley West Station, he discovered the body of a woman lying on the down line, the left foot being severed from the leg, and the head bruised. She was identified as Mary Anderson or McKie, seventy-three years of age, an inmate of Abbey Poorhouse. She got out on Tuesday morning, and did not return. 

– Scotsman, Thursday 8th December, 1904, p.4. 

   MAN KILLED NEAR ELLIOT. – On Monday morning a sad accident occurred on the Dundee and Arbroath Joint Railway by which a wayman named Alexander Edmonds, residing at 28 St Vigeans Road, was instantaneously killed. It appears that about ten minutes to eight Edmonds, along with a man named Geo. Kydd, who is also employed by the Joint Railway Company, left the wayman’s hut at Elliot. Both men proceeded along the down line westward. When they were about 300 yards west of the station the 6.20 a.m. express train from Aberdeen to London came up late. Kydd, who had continued walking on the down line and who was aware that the train was late, was horrified, when the train had passed, to see Edmonds’ body lying on the up line mangled and mutilated. He was not aware that Edmonds had left off walking behind him. It is thought that Edmonds had stopped to tighten a nut on the down line and that, owing to the direction of a strong wind that prevailed, he had not heard the express approach. Kydd states he was unaware of the approach of the train. He at once returned to the wayman’s hut with the sad news. Mr Carnegie, the stationmaster, conveyed information of the occurrence to Sergeant Alexander of the County Constabulary at Arbroath. The Sergeant at once proceeded to the spot and had the body conveyed on a stretcher to the waiting-room at the station. Deceased was 58 years of age and leaves a widow and large family. A sad circumstance connected with the unfortunate family is that on the first Sunday in May last one of the deceased’s sons – a boy of about 9 years of age – was killed by falling over the cliffs. In connection with Monday’s fatality, it may be stated that neither the driver nor fireman of the engine had run down anybody until they were informed of the fact on reaching Edinburgh. The Scotsman of Tuesday states that when the train reached Dundee a small fir tree about six feet in length was found fixed amongst the piping of the engine. The tree had been blown on to the rails by the strong gale and had been picked up by the engine. 

– Arbroath Herald and Advertiser for the Montrose Burghs, Thursday 8th December, 1904, p.5. 


   ON Monday morning an unfortunate accident occurred at No. 22 Pit, Fergushill, Kilwinning, whereby a young man named David Edgar lost his life. Edgar was second guard on the mineral train which left Ardrossan at 6.30 a.m. to supply Fergushill pits with waggons, and while performing shunting operations he fell in front of the train, the engine and five waggons passing over the body, severing an arm and both legs. He lived about two hours after the accident. Deceased was unmarried, and belonged to Ireland. 

– Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, Friday 9th December, 1904, p.5. 

   ACCIDENT TO A JOINER. – On Wednesday as Zerubbabble Mann, joiner, 14 Trinity Street, Hawick, was engaged roofing a new engine-shed at Riccarton railway junction, his foot slipped, owing to the frost, and he fell over the gable, a height of about nineteen feet. His fall was broken by a scaffolding, but two of his ribs were broken, and he was otherwise injured. 

– Hawick Express, Friday 9th December, 1904, p.3. 

   RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – Yesterday afternoon a lad named John Morris (15), residing at 82 Buchanan Street, met with an accident while playing with some companions on the Glasgow and Coatbridge branch of the Caledonian Railway, opposite the show-ground in Buchanan Street. He was knocked down by the engine of a passing train, and sustained somewhat serious injuries to the head and slight bruises on the back. He was removed home and attended by Dr Mowat. 

– Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, Saturday 10th December, 1904, p.5. 


   Late on Saturday night a man named Robert Brown, a plumber, who resides at Pumpherston, was found lying on the railway at Cauburns midway between Broxburn and Uphall Station, having apparently been run down by a passing train. His right foot had been severed above the ankle, while he had received other slight injuries. The man, it is said, had missed the 8.50 train, and had started to walk home by the railway. After being medically attended to, he was removed by special train to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Monday 12th December, 1904, p.3. 



   Last night as an engine with over 30 waggons of coal from Wemyss Colliery was proceeding to Methil Dock, the engine driver lost control of the train owing to the slippery state of the rails. 

   At the den behind Dunbeath Colliery there is a steep gradient, and coming down that portion the weight of the waggons behind sent the engine skidding down the rails. 

   It ran into five empty waggons standing on a lye, and sent these crashing over the embankment. 

   The engine also toppled over, and the tender was left sticking in the air immediately above it. 

   The engine driver, named Barrie, and the fireman had jumped off when they saw they were powerless to avert the accident. 

   The guard had immediately before that also jumped off in order to apply the brakes on several of the waggons, but in this he failed. 

   No one was injured, but there was considerable damage to stock. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Friday 16th December, 1904, p.4. 

   SERIOUS ACCIDENT. – On Saturday night, between 10 and 11 o’clock, a man named Wm. Brown, living at No. 158 Pumpherston, was walking along the N.B. railway line, a short distance to the west of Cawburn Works, when he was overtaken by a west-bound goods train and knocked down, his right foot being cut off above the ankle. Information of the accident was at once sent to Drumshoreland Station, and the officials were promptly on the spot, rendering first aid to the injured man. Dr Scott, Broxburn, arrived at the scene of the mishap soon afterward, and dressed the injured limb, after which an engine and guard’s van were requisitioned to convey Brown to the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh. Here it was found necessary to amputate more of the crushed limb, and the injured man is now doing very well. Brown is employed as a plumber in the oil works at Pumpherston, and is a married man with five children. 

– Linlithgowshire Gazette, Friday 16th December, 1904, p.5. 


   The report of Major Pringle to the Board of trade upon the collision which occurred on the night of September 18 outside St Enoch Station, Glasgow, on the Glasgow and South-Western Railway between a light engine and passenger train was issued to-day. Some of the derailed vehicles fouled the adjoining down line, with the result that a secondary collision ensued between another passenger train and rerailed the vehicles. Nineteen passengers suffered from injury or shock, and a fireman was also injured. The inspector says it is clear the immediate cause of the light engine past a signal when it was in the danger position. His conclusion is that Driver Glover, of the light engine, has not succeeded in exonerating himself from responsibility for the collision. At the same time he thinks there are some extenuating circumstances in his favour, and that blame attaches to him not for disregard of signals, but for want of caution and alertness. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Tuesday 20th December, 1904, p.4. 



Another Mishap at Wemyss. 

   This morning another accident took place on the Wemyss Mineral Railway. 

   A train of empty waggons was coming from Methil, and in Wemyss Den, near Wemyss Castle Station, it collided with an engine proceeding from the collieries. 

   Several waggons were thrown off the rails and damaged. 

   A shunter, who was on one of the engines, was injured about the head. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Tuesday 20th December, 1904, p.5. 

   RAILWAY ACCIDENT AT FALKIRK. – Yesterday morning a somewhat serious accident occurred at Grahamston railway station, Falkirk. A foreman surfaceman, named Robert Weatherton, about thirty years of age, residing in Falkirk, was engaged, a few hundred yards west of the station, in putting a pair of bogie wheels on the line. He had not observed the approach of a pilot engine, which knocked him down, and one of the wheels of the engine going over his right arm, it was out off near the shoulder. He was conveyed in the ambulance waggon to the Falkirk Infirmary. 

   GIRL KILLED ON THE RAILWAY. – A child named Bella Hay, eleven years of age, daughter of a miner living at Smithy Row, Gartgill, was killed on the North British Railway main down line, about 25 yards north of the home signal, Gartsherrie, on Tuesday evening. The girl, along with her sister, aged thirteen, had been gathering coal on the line, and by stepping out of the way of a mineral train, was caught by a passenger train that was passing on the other line of rails, and was dragged some distance along. Death ensued shortly after. 

– Scotsman, Thursday 22nd December, 1904, p.4. 




   The story of a railway guard’s painful experience comes from Perth. Peter Macgregor, residing at Craigie, Perth, was in charge of the train which left Perth General Station on Tuesday afternoon at four o’clock for London, and at some part of the journey a box containing heavy pieces of machinery which was being conveyed in the van fell on top of him, pinning him to the floor of the van. In this position Macgregor lay for over an hour, until at Carnforth Station, near Preston, the attention of some of the railway officials was directed to the guard’s van by the barking of a dog which was also being conveyed south. 

   The unfortunate guard was then released from his perilous position, and medically attended to at the station. he was conveyed to Perth, and taken to his home at Craigie. Dr Stirling was called, and attended to the somewhat serious injuries of Mr Macgregor, who has been engaged on the railway for over forty years. 

– Dundee Courier, Thursday 22nd December, 1904, p.3. 

   ACCIDENT ON A GLASGOW SUBURBAN LINE. – In the early hours of Saturday morning a young man named John Donnelly was found by a brakesman in an unconscious condition at the foot of an embankment on the Cathcart Circle Railway, near Mount Florida Station, Glasgow. It is supposed that Donnelly had been walking along the line, and in the darkness had fallen over the embankment, which is forty feet high. He was conveyed to the Royal Infirmary, suffering from severe injuries. 


   ENGINE-DRIVER KILLED AT COATBRIDGE. – Late on Saturday night an engine-driver named James Paton (35), unmarried, and residing at Ayr Street, Springburn, Glasgow, was found lying on the North British main line at Springside, Coatbridge, with both his legs run over. He is supposed to have fallen off his engine, which was attached to a mineral train. The unfortunate man was taken into the Alexander Hospital near by, and died shortly afterwards. 

– Scotsman, Monday 26th December, 1904, p.4. 





   A distressing fatality occurred last night on the Deeside Railway at Aberdeen, the decapitated body of a man having been found on the metals on the railway bridge over Whinhill Road, Ferryhill. While the 6.15 p.m. suburban train from Aberdeen to Culter was nearing the bridge, the driver became aware of the engine striking something on the line. On the arrival of the train at Holburn Street Station, he reported the matter to the station agent, and a clerk was sent along the line to ascertain what was wrong. The clerk, on reaching the bridge, found the body of a man lying on the metals, the head being almost severed from the body. the police authorities were informed of the occurrence, and the remains were removed to the Police Mortuary. Later in the evening the body was identified as that of John Spark (33), joiner, residing in lodgings at 200 Rosemount Place, Aberdeen. How the unfortunate man came to be on the line is unknown. Deceased, who was unmarried, was a very respectable and intelligent man. He was an enthusiastic volunteer, and was a colour-sergeant in the 1st V.B. Gordon Highlanders. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Tuesday 27th December, 1904, p.4. 

   WOMAN’S DEATH ON THE RAILWAY. – A shocking affair, resulting in the death of a middle-aged woman, whose body has not yet been identified, occurred last night on the railway between Tayport and Newport. The woman joined a local train leaving the Tay Bridge Station, but on the train reaching Tayport the compartment in which she had been seated was empty, and the door was swinging open. As her behaviour at Tay Bridge Station excited suspicion, a search was made along the line, and the body was discovered a short distance from Tayport. The body was badly cut, and it is surmised that the woman, opening the door while the train was in motion, was dashed against the heavy rock cutting about five yards from the station, and rebounded on to the line. the woman apparently belonged to the mill-working class. 

– Scotsman, Thursday 27th December, 1904, p.4. 

   THE RAILWAY FATALITY AT TAYPORT. – The body of the woman who was killed on Monday night by falling from a train near Tayport station was yesterday identified as that of Christina Burke (36), 4 James Street, Dundee. 

– Scotsman, Wednesday 28th December, 1904, p.4. 

   A RAILWAY guard named Adam Currie was killed at Port Eglinton, Glasgow, on Friday, while endeavouring to spragg a waggon. 


   A YOUNG man, named George Mackay, employed on the railway, was killed near Greenhill Station, Falkirk, on Saturday morning, having been overtaken by an express from Carlisle. 

– Southern Reporter, Thursday 29th December, 1904, p.4. 

   A RAILWAY INCIDENT. – Just as the 12 o’clock train was leaving the platform on Monday, an incident of an interesting nature occurred, which created a precedent for Gorebridge. A steam locomotive wagon to remove four or five tons of flour to the store, puffed smartly into the goods siding among the trucks, being skilfully handled. At first sight it seemed as if the moving training was to be cut in two. Mr Neillands’ alarm found vent in an ejaculation of surprise at the prospect of an accident, accompanied by broken bones, &c. The new arrival looked like an engine run amuck, and the station master’s mind was greatly relieved by an immediate examination of the up-to-date machine. It left the station as gracefully with its load as a horse would have done with an empty cart. 

– Dalkeith Advertiser, Thursday 29th December, 1904, p.3. 




   A pathetic accident occurred at Townhill yesterday evening, whereby a schoolboy of nine years of age, named James Ross, son of James Ross, miner, New Street, had a foot cut off by a train. It appears that he had been amusing himself sailing a small boat in the town loch, and was on his way home. He was crossing the mineral railway of the West of Fife Coal Company, and owing to the hurricane of wind blowing he failed to hear a mineral train approaching. He tried to get out of the way, but his foot was caught by one of the front wheels of the engine and literally cut off, the booted foot being left lying on the railway, while the unfortunate lad was knocked down the embankment a distance of twenty feet. he was taken to the Dunfermline Cottage Hospital, and Dr Dalgleish found it necessary to amputate another part of the leg. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Friday 20th December, 1904, p.4. 

   A GREAT sensation was caused at the station on Saturday night owing to an accident which occurred to little Johnnie Kerr of Fergushill. It appears that about 10 o’clock, a time when the platform is always crowded, a family found themselves in the wrong train, and endeavoured to leave it as it started. In this foolish and unfortunate attempt, Johnnie Kerr, aged five years, a handsome and bright little fellow, fell between the platform and the footboard. Amid the shrieks of women and cries of men, luckily, the officials kept their heads, and the train was brought to a standstill before it had ran half a carriage length. The child was found, to the relief of all, to have escaped with its life. On examination it was discovered that one foot was injured. Much credit is due the officials, especially the engine driver. 

– Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, Friday 30th December, 1904, p.8. 

   ENGINE FIREMAN KILLED. – Early on Saturday morning a young man named George McKay, 19 years of age, employed as an engine fireman with the Caledonian Railway Company, and residing at Upper Greenhill, Bonnybridge, was killed on the railway at Greenhill. McKay was in the act of crossing the main line, on his way to the engine-shed for the purpose of procuring a hammer, when the mail train from Carlisle dashed up and knocked him down. Death was instantaneous, his body being fearfully mangled. His remains were subsequently conveyed to the Toll, Grangemouth, where his parents reside. Deceased had only been employed at Greenhill for about a fortnight. 

– Kilsyth Chronicle, Friday 30th December, 1904, p.3. 

   A Unique Record. – The Highland Railway, in one respect, occupies a unique position in British railway history. It has, in fact, a remarkable record. Although the first portion of the system was incorporated so long ago as 1856, not a single passenger, says the “Railway Magazine,” was killed until 1894. The first portion was opened in 1858, so that for a period of 36 years not a solitary passenger lost his life in a train accident, and although over ten years have elapsed since the fatality, and many millions of passengers have, during the period, travelled over the system, the total of fatal train accidents to passengers yet remains at one, and may it long continue to do so. 

   Seasonable Gifts. – Mr Duff of Drummuir has presented the Great North of Scotland Railway guards stationed at Keith with a seasonable present of rabbits. 

Banffshire Herald, Saturday 31st December, 1904, p.4. 

Exit mobile version