February 1905

[Scottish Railway Incidents (1905) Contents]

   The fact that some of our railway directors have been laying down the law anent Sunday travelling, reminds a contemporary that whatever railway facilities we do enjoy on the Sabbath were in great measure due to the late Mr Joseph Locke, the engineer who surveyed the Caledonian Railway. Mr Locke failed completely to appreciate Scottish Sabbatarianism, and in his agitation to break down the prejudice against Sunday travelling was wont to relate a somewhat amusing, and, at the same time painful, incident, which illustrates the narrow views of our countrymen in the West of Scotland fify years ago. One Saturday a Cambusnethan lady met with a carriage accident, and a noted Glasgow medical practitioner was summoned by special train to her assistance. After attending to the lady, the doctor left for the city; but just as Holytown Station – now styled Mossend – was reached, the engine-driver stopped and refused to proceed, declaring that as it was after midnight, it was now Sunday morning, and that the Garnkirk Company, which at that time ran the line, forbade Sabbath trains. In spite of all the entreaties and threats of the medical gent, the driver refused to budge, and in the end the doctor had to bundle out, and to hunt about the village for a horse vehicle to carry him home to the city. 

– Wishaw Press, Friday 3rd February, 1905, p.2. 

Railway Accident 

   About 10.30 p.m. on Friday last, David Phin, 23 years of age, locomotive fireman on the Caledonian Railway, and residing at 53 Park Street, Motherwell, met with an accident while at work relieving the brakes of a loaded mineral train between Salsburgh and Bellside. He was knocked down, and a wheel of the waggon passed over his left arm and bruised it severely. He was afterwards removed to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, where the arm was amputated. 

– Motherwell Times, Friday 3rd February, 1905, p.2. 



   Yesterday afternoon Thomas Gaitens (18), son of Charles Gaitens, tobacconist, Fore Street, Port-Glasgow, had a narrow escape from being killed at the railway station there. He had come from Greenock, and while the train was steaming into the station he made to jump off, when he fell between the footboard and the platform. he was carried along some distance, and when picked up was found to have escaped with slight bruises. The incident created no little excitement among those on the station at the time. 

– Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, Saturday 4th February, 1905, p.2. 

   ON Friday a shocking accident occurred on the Caledonian Railway near Motherwell Station. A boy named David Henderson, an engine-driver, was on the way to his work, and was crossing the main line, when he [was] run down by an express train from Perth, and instantly killed. The body was mangled in a most shocking manner. 

– Strathearn Herald, Saturday 4th February, 1905, p.2. 






   A shocking accident occurred at Granton at an early hour this morning on the Caledonian Railway near the Breakwater Junction Signal Box, resulting in the death of one man and the serious injury of another. The two were employed at the gasworks and were proceeding to their work along the railway line when they were overtaken by an engine and two fish waggons. 

   The train passed over both. It appears that they had crossed from one line to escape an oncoming train and stepped in front of the other. On being picked up it was found that one of the men had been killed instantly. The whole back part of his head and scalp was carried away. The other man had a foot severely crushed. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Saturday 4th February, 1905, p.4. 




   Between six and seven o’clock on Saturday morning a Caledonian Railway goods train was being shunted at the east end of the tunnel leading from the Dundee and Arbroath Station to the Tay Bridge Station, when, it is supposed, one of the couplings snapped, with the result that part of the train ran down the slight incline into the tunnel. A signalman, however, managed to switch the waggons off the main line, but they dashed with terrific force into the wall. The guard on the runaway portion managed in time to jump from the van, which was smashed. Had he remained on board, he undoubtedly would have been seriously injured. The waggons were derailed, and, as stated, the van was smashed. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Monday 6th February, 1905, p.4. 






   The second railway accident within a week occurred this morning in the tunnel between Dundee East and Tay Bridge Stations, when part of the permanent way was torn up by a goods train. The 1 a.m. goods train left Dundee East as usual, and, after running some distance in the tunnel, a pair of wheels of one of the waggons became detached. 

   This, however, was not discovered until the train was proceeding up the incline some two hundred yards farther on, when a dragging was felt, and the train having been brought to a standstill, the cause was found. the waggon was quickly repaired, and the train proceeded on its journey. 

   The permanent way was considerably damaged by the dragging waggon, and the traffic had to be carried on one set of rails, a considerable delay being caused. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Tuesday 7th February, 1905, p.2. 




   What might have been a serious railway accident took place this morning at Dunbar, a driver mistaking his signals in the fog and running his engine into a number of passenger carriages. The impact was so severe that three of the carriages were smashed. Fortunately the train was an empty one. The driver escaped with a severe shaking. 

– Dundee Evening Post, Monday 13th February, 1905, p.3. 




   On Saturday, Alexander Mason (15), son of Alexander Mason, stonecutter, 44 Duthie Terrace, was run over by a North British train at Craiginches, Aberdeen, and killed on the spot. Along with a companion, Mason had gone through a culvert, and had been returning over the railway when he was knocked down by the train. An engine and ambulance men were sent to the place where the accident occurred and the body was brought to the Joint Station. A boy named Simpson, who was along with Mason, stated that they had been playing together, and when they came to the culvert beneath the railway at Tullos Hill, Mason went in at the south side and was going to come out at the other side. Simpson followed him for some distance, but he turned and crossed over the line in order to see his companion at the other side. When he went there, however, he could not see him. He then went on the line and beheld the mangled remains on the railway. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Monday 13th February, 1905, p.4. 

   On Thursday, a waggon checker at Portobello, named James Telfer, was run over by a goods train. His left leg was badly crushed, and he was otherwise hurt. 


   A TERRIFIC explosion of gas took place at the Central Station, Glasgow, on Thursday, by which sixty feet of the platform were torn up and four men injured, though not seriously. 

   WILLIAM FORSYTH, a Carlisle man, on Friday jumped out of a train at Troon before it stopped. He fell, and the wheels of a carriage passed over his legs, almost severing both feet. 


   WHILE a signalman named David Beattie was crossing the railway at Dumfries on Saturday he was knocked down by an engine, which went over both legs. they were so badly mutilated that both had to be amputated. 


   A LARGE shed at Portobello, belonging to the North British Railway Co., and which contained from 150 to 200 tons of hay and straw, was completely destroyed by fire early on Sunday morning. The loss is estimated at £1000. 

– Southern Reporter, Thursday 16th February, 1905, p.4. 



   At eight o’clock on Thursday morning, Wm. Forsyth, foreman of a squad of engineers from Messrs Holden and Sheldon, Carlisle, at present putting up a new 50-ton crane at Troon Harbour, met with a serious accident on the harbour branch of the G. and S.-W. Railway. A train of 30 empty waggons was coming from the harbour, and he had got on near the rear to go for his breakfast. About one hundred yards on the harbour side of the breakwater level-crossing, while the train was running at seven or eight miles an hour, he attempted to get off, but stumbled, and the wheels of the last waggon went over both his legs, practically severing them. After being attended to by Dr. Roxburgh, he was conveyed to Ayr Hospital. The unfortunate man belongs to Carlisle, and has ten of a family. His wife was expected in Troon the same night on a visit. 

– Milngavie and Bearsden Herald, Friday 17th February, 1905, p.7. 




   An unfortunate railway accident occurred at Cults Station yesterday afternoon. An Aberdeen student joined at Aberdeen the 3.20 Deeside train, which does not stop at Cults, the first stopping place being Culter. When the train reached Cults, and did not stop, the young man, it seems, had opened the door of the carriage and jumped out, with the result that he fell heavily on the platform. He was picked up in an unconscious condition, and was entrained for Aberdeen. He was conveyed to the Royal Infirmary, where it was found that he had received a severe scalp wound. On inquiry at the Infirmary late last night, it was ascertained that the young man had not regained consciousness. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Saturday 18th February, 1905, p.4. 

   BLOCK ON THE NORTH BRITISH RAILWAY. – On Wednesday forenoon an awkward block occurred on the North British Railway at Stepends, between Plains and Caldercruix. It appears that a train of several waggons laden with whinstone setts was coming west, and had come round the bend at this part of the line to find that some of the rails were up and the line under repair. Before the driver could shut off steam the engine had run through the defective portion of the line and landed in the embankment, the waggons coming pell-mell on the top, and being more or less badly upset. Both lines of the railway were blocked, and as the midday Edinburgh trains were due going east and west they were detained for about an hour. The breakdown quad with a powerful crane from Kipps were speedily on the scene, and the traffic was resumed on the single-line about one o’clock. The clearing of the rest of the obstruction, however, occupied the greater part of the afternoon. 

– Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, Saturday 18th February, 1905, p.4. 

   CALEDONIAN RAILWAY COMPANY PAY DAMAGES. – In the Court of Session on Tuesday Lord Dundas was informed of the settlement of an action, in which Thomas Crow Darling, solicitor, Stirling, sued the Caledonian Railway Company for £250 damages. The pursuer averred that he was assaulted by a servant of the Company, who endeavoured at Bridge of Allan Station to eject him from a train, shown on the defenders’ time-tables as carrying passengers from Bridge of Allan to Stirling, on the ground that local passengers were not entitled to travel by the train. The defenders averred that their servant asked the pursuer where he was going, and when he said Stirling told him he was not entitled to travel by that train. When the pursuer insisted, they stated that the official merely collected his ticket and left. The defenders admitted that the pursuer held a ticket and was entitled to travel by the train. The defenders have paid the pursuer a sum in name of damages, and also the expenses of the action. Mr Thomas Darling is the elder son of Mr Darling, Westpark. 

– St. Andrews Citizen, Saturday 25th February, 1905, p.5. 




   A terrible accident occurred at Camelon Junction, near Larbert, which resulted fatally to a six-year-old boy named Archibald Allan, who fell from the 1.55 express from Queen Street, Glasgow. The lad was travelling with his father and mother, along with seven other members of the family, to Tillicoultry, where the father had obtained employment as a miner. The child was leaning against the door of the carriage, which had been insecurely fastened, and a sudden swerve of the train threw him violently against it, when it burst open, and precipitated him on to the line. 

   The father tugged frantically at the communication cord, but in the meantime the accident was noticed by the signalman, who carried him to the box, but the child expired within ten minutes, having sustained fearful injuries. His head was severely smashed, while his right leg was broken in several places, and his right hand crushed to a jelly by the wheels of the train. 

   The body was conveyed to Larbert Station on a special engine, while the railwaymen subscribed towards the expenses, providing the coffin and presenting the father, who is in rather poor circumstances, with a sum of money in addition. 

– Dundee Courier, Tuesday 28th February, 1905, p.4. 

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