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July 1905

[Scottish Railway Incidents (1905) Contents]


   Mr Alexander Hildersley, sanitary engineer, Belfast, has patented a contrivance by which the driver of a locomotive controls the opening of the carriage doors. The inventor claims that if the train is at a standstill in the station, with any or all doors closed, no person can open them but the guard or the driver, the former being independent of the latter in that he will carry a key. If a train is stopped on the line or delayed, no person can leave it unless the doors are thrown open by the driver or opened singly by the guard. This, it is claimed, will prevent accidents, and also obviate against the often fatal custom of opening carriage doors while trains are in motion. The driver, with a half turn of a lever, can, it is said, by steam, air, or vacuum, throw open every door in the train. Thus, before leaving a station the doors are automatically locked, and there will be no temptation to rush the carriages. Mr Hildersley is an Edinburgh boy, and formerly resided at Grove Street, Fountainbridge. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Thursday 6th July, 1905, p.2. 

   MAN KILLED ON HIGHLAND RAILWAY. – A fatal accident occurred on the Highland Railway at Dalnaspidal on Tuesday, a tramp being run down and killed by a night train. Deceased was observed walking on the line, and though the driver sounded his whistle he was unable to attract attention or pull up in time. The unfortunate man, who was badly injured, was picked up unconscious. He expired shortly afterwards. His remains have not been identified. Deceased was aged about 50. He carried a bundle strapped over his shoulder and hawked wire toasters. 

– Elgin Courant, and Morayshire Advertiser, Friday 7th July, 1905, p.5. 


   A sad railway tragedy is reported from the Markinch district, a goods guard named Robert Wise (46), in the employment of the North British Railway Company, having been killed on Saturday afternoon during shunting operations on the Auchmuty Branch Railway, in the vicinity of Auchmuty Paper Mill. After having uncoupled the waggons it was supposed he had jumped on the buffer end and overbalanced himself and fallen in front of the waggons, several of which passed over his body. He was killed instantaneously. 

– Fife free Press, & Kirkcaldy Guardian, Saturday 8th July, 1905, p.6. 

Shocking Fatalities at Palace Colliery. 




   Two fatalities of a shocking character occurred on the railway at Hamilton Palace Colliery yesterday – both victims meeting their fate by being run down by the same engine, within a hundred yards of each other. 

   The first accident occurred about mid-day, when a little child named Edith Mary Hardie, the 14-months-old daughter of George Hardie, police constable, residing at Hill Place, Palace Colliery Rows, was run over by an engine and waggons, which were engaged in shunting operations on the siding leading into the colliery. It appears that the child had been playing at the door of her father’s house, which stands by the side of the railway, and had wandered unobserved through the open gate on to the lye. A few minutes later she was observed by an elder sister lying on the rails in a shockingly mutilated condition, having evidently been run over by the mineral train, which had just passed. The injured child was attended by Dr. Macpherson, Bothwell, who found that the left foot and the right leg above the knee had been completely severed from the body. The little girl was speedily removed to the Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, in the Hamilton ambulance waggon. Recovery was, however, hopeless, and the child succumbed to her injuries within four hours of the time the accident happened. 

   Less than 100 yards from the same spot, about seven o’clock last night, an orphan lad named Joseph Jardine, 16 years of age, a miner residing at Clyde Place, Palace Colliery Rows, was instantaneously killed by being crushed between the buffers of two waggons loaded with coal, which were being shunted by the same engine. It appears that the young man was on his way to the Public Park for the purpose of engaging in a game of bowls. As a short-cut, he jumped over the railway fence, and crossed the line, but while he was in the act of passing between two waggons his head was shockingly crushed between the buffers. The body was removed to deceased’s lodgings at Clyde Place, where it was examined by Dr. Macpherson, who was of opinion that death must have been instantaneous. Deceased, who was an orphan, leaves no friends in this district – indeed, his only known relative is an elder sister, who is supposed to be a school-teacher somewhere in England. 

– Hamilton Herald and Lanarkshire Weekly News, Saturday 8th July, 1905, p.5. 

   SERIOUS ACCIDENT TO A BOY. – On Tuesday afternoon a boy of ten named John Honeyman, residing with his father, William Honeyman, Old Bridge Street, was admitted to the County Accidents Hospital suffering from serious injuries sustained by a fall. It appears that the boy had scaled the parapet of the bridge crossing the railway line at the passenger station and leading to Greenfield, and thence reached the roof of the Station. The glass, however, which forms a considerable part of the roofing, did not sustain his weight, with the result that he was precipitated on to the flagstones of the platform, eighteen feet beneath. Dr Low was at hand and immediately ordered the boy’s removal to the Hospital. There he was found to be suffering from a fractured skull and injuries to other parts of the body. His condition was at one time critical, but he is now understood to be progressing. 

– Alloa Advertiser, Saturday 8th July, 1905, p.2. 

   FATAL ACCIDENT AT ALEXANDRIA. – Yesterday morning a shocking fatality occurred on the Dumbarton and Balloch Joint Railway line, two hundred yards from Alexandria Station. A squad of surfacemen were at work on the up line, near the bridge at North Street, when, on seeing the 8.48 A.M. train from Balloch to Glasgow approaching, they made to cross the down line. Unfortunately, they failed to notice the North British express, 8.24, from Glasgow to Balloch approaching, and Robert Muir (34) was knocked down by the express, death being instantaneous. 

– Scotsman, Wednesday 12th July, 1905, p.8. 

   MAN KILLED ON THE RAILWAY. – The dead body of a man was found on the north-going line of rails ¼ mile south of Portlethen Station at 1 a.m. on Wednesday morning. He appeared a man between 30 and 40 years of age, about 5 ft. 6in., dark hair and slight moustache, wearing a dark grey check jacket suit, overcoat nearly the same colour; light check single peaked cap, light lacing boots well worn, coloured shirt. He had a note book with card on which were the words Debt Recovery Coy., 40 Union Terrace, Aberdeen. He is supposed to have been killed by a north-going goods train about 11 o’clock the previous evening, and has since been identified as George Duncan, Clerk, 9 Langstane Place, Aberdeen. 

– Stonehaven Journal, Thursday 13th July, 1905, p.2. 

   ALARMING MISHAP. – The Railway Station [Anstruther] was the scene on Saturday afternoon last of what might easily have been a fatal accident. A girl of about 18 years of age, while a train was in motion, was being assisted into a carriage. In doing so she lost her footing, and slipped down between the platform and the footboard of the carriage. Although signalled to stop the train continued moving, and before the girl could be extricated from her dangerous position she had been turned round several times. When pulled out her injuries were found to be severe bruises on hands and face, and her dress much torn. She suffered severely from shock. 

– Kinross-shire Advertiser, Saturday 15th July, 1905, p.2. 

    A Bridge of Weir gentleman had a rather exciting experience the other day in travelling from Glasgow. He reached the long platform at St. Enoch’s Station as the train moved out, and made a desperate rush for it. A railway porter tried to prevent him, but the Bridge of Weir man sprang on the footboard and made to open the door. A porter sprinted after the train, got up beside him, and implored him to come off; but by this time the train had acquired such speed that it was dangerous to make the attempt. And then the unwelcome truth was revealed that the carriage door was locked! The experienced porter had just time to jump back to the platform, but left his carriage door key with the reckless traveller. The shouting attracted the attention of all the other passengers in the train, and out of every window excited spectators yelled instructions as the Bridge of Weir passenger held grimly on with one hand while he tried to unlock the door with the key in the other. It was an express train, first stop Canal-street, Paisley. His attempts to unlock the door proved futile, and he was the observed of all observers as the train thundered through Eglinton-street Station, Shields-road, and the other stations on the line. 


   He was advised to “get in at the window,” a harlequin task he was unfitted for, and another Samaritan suggested that he should walk along the footboard to the next carriage – all the doors of which were open – but he did not care to risk striding over the intervening space between the carriages, as they were rocking too wildly now that they were at full speed. He continued to try that door, and to smile acknowledgments to his friendly advisers, to whose counsel he paid no heed. At length, just as the train reached Canal-street Station, he succeeded in opening the door, and he got into the compartment, much to everybody’s relief. Interviewed, the hero admits it was an exciting ride, but he was the coolest man on that train. He complains now that it was rather a dusty ride, and that he had not yet got the “stour” out of his throat. His experience, he thinks, will fit him to travel on a motor car, without goggles – but all the same he does not wish to have another journey of the same kind. 

– Paisley & Renfrewshire Gazette, Saturday 15tyh July, 1905, p.6. 

   BOY’S NARROW ESCAPE. – A boy of six years of age, who was travelling with his parents on Saturday from Edinburgh to Dundee, had a narrow escape from being killed as the train entered the Tay Bridge Station. The train was slowing up, when the people on the platform noticed a carriage door burst open and a boy fall on to the footboard. the boy rolled off the footboard and fell between the platform and the slowly moving carriages. His right arm alighted on the rail, and the train came to a standstill just as one of the wheels touched his clothing. Had the train moved another inch the boy would have lost his arm. 

– Dundee Courier, Monday 17th July, 1905, p.7. 

   The general report to the Board of Trade on railway accidents in 1904 stated that the danger of railway travelling has been reduced to such a point that last year the chances against a passenger being killed in a train accident in the course of a given journey were more than two hundred million to one. 

– Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, Tuesday 18th July, 1905, p.3. 





   An alarming railway accident occurred near Falkirk High Station yesterday. While conducting some shunting operation on the siding lines near the viaduct, two mineral trains pitched into one another, and waggons were knocked about all ways, some being broken. 

   The 9.5 a.m. passenger train from Edinburgh, with a heavy complement, had a narrow escape. Passing Falkirk (High) at its usual speed, it was only drawn up luckily within a few yards of the debris by one of the guards having the presence of mind to make off towards the signal-box with his red flag in hand. 

– Dundee Courier, Wednesday 19th July, 1905, p.6. 

   The return of the Engineers from Troon was marked by a somewhat humorous incident, at least to those who were not affected by it. The railway companies had arranged that Airdrie, Rutherglen, and Shettleston companies should be accommodated in one train, the Rutherglen company detraining at Rutherglen Station and Shettleston Company at Carmyle. The other companies were to be sent direct to Coatbridge, and the train was then to proceed to Mossend and Motherwell. Somehow there was a curious mix up for it was the train with the Coatbridge companies which stopped at Rutherglen, while the other train containing the Rutherglen Company, rushed past on its way for Coatbridge. When this mistake was discovered the communication cord was pulled and the train stopped. It was past the block, however, and had to proceed to Carmyle where the member of the Rutherglen Company detrained and then wearily marched back to Rutherglen. 

– Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, Saturday 22nd July, 1905, p.4. 


   Shortly after eleven o’clock on Saturday night a waggon number-taker named Wm. Smith, in the employment of the G. and S.-W. Railway Company, and residing at 73 Ann Street, was found by Stewart Bates, engine-driver, lying on the railway siding at the back of Princes Pier Station, with his left foot severed at the ankle. He was removed in the carriage ambulance to the Infirmary. it appears that while shunting operations were being carried on at Princes Pier Station, Smith was observed on the steps of an engine lighting his lamp, but nothing was seen of him again till he was found by Mr Bates. 

– Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, Monday 24th July, 1905, p.2. 

   CARTER KILLED AT DINGWALL STATION. – A sad accident occurred at Dingwall Railway Station yesterday afternoon, whereby Alexander Craighead, carter with Messrs Wordie & Co., lost his life. Deceased was engaged loading scrap iron in a waggon. He was standing in the waggon, into which he had either only entered or was about to leave, when, after the usual warning had been given, some waggons were shunted into the siding where he was employed. With the impact, Craighead lost his balance, and, falling over the end of the waggon on to the rails, two waggons passed over his neck. Dr Adam was early on the scene, but deceased was beyond medical aid, death being instantaneous. The sad intelligence was conveyed to the bereaved widow by Rev. R. Macdonald, U.F. minister. Craighead is survived by a grown up family. He was about 50 years of age, and well known as an intelligent and highly respected workman. he came to Ross-shire a few years ago, and for some time was employed as grieve at Ryefield. A native of Aberdeenshire, he belonged to the parish of Rathen, and for several years was employed in Rosehearty. 

– Inverness Courier, Tuesday 25th July, 1905, p.4. 


   Considerable alarm was occasioned on the Joint Railway line yesterday by the discovery of a pool of blood at Camperdown Crossing. Shortly after the London to Aberdeen express had passed one of the workers had occasion to cross the line when he came upon the blood-stains. Thinking that perhaps someone had been run over, a thorough search was made along the line. Their suspicions were soon put to rest, for not far distant they found the headless body of a bulldog terrier. 

– Dundee Courier, Tuesday 25th July, 1905, p.4. 

Downfield Engineer’s Sad Death. 

   Three fatal accident inquiries were held at Cupar to-day before Sheriff Armour and a jury. 


   The first had reference to the death of Robert Wyse, railway guard, Markinch, who was killed on the branch line at Auchmuty Paper Mill, Markinch, on 1st July. john White, engine-driver, Thornton, stated in answer to the Depute Fiscal (Mr J. K. Tasker), the on the afternoon in question he left Markinch Station with a train consisting of six waggons for Rothes and Auchmuty Paper Mills. Wyse was the guard and James Constable was the fireman. on getting clear of the waggons they ran into the sale house at Auchmuty to lift four waggons. Three of the waggons were loaded with paper and one was empty. Wyse coupled the waggons together and waived his hand that all was ready for getting the train on to the main line for Markinch. the four waggons were in front of the engine. About 1.35 p.m. Wyse waved his hand for him to start on the main branch line. When the train came up, Wyse jumped on to the buffer of the first waggon, and in doing so evidently lost his balance and fell in between the waggons. He did not see the accident happen, but Constable, who was on the same side of the engine as Wyse shouted to him to stop the train as “Bob had fallen off the waggons.” He at once stopped the train and jumped off the engine. He found him lying between the rails and two waggons had passed over him. He was dead. His left arm was badly bruised and the left side of his face was terribly cut. He was of the opinion that the flange of the first wheel of the first waggon had run over his shoulders and face, and he had been thrown clear of the rest of the waggons, otherwise he would have been cut to pieces. Wyse had always been in the habit of getting on to the buffer or into a waggon, and sometimes he came back to the engine and stepped on to it. James Constable, fireman, said he saw Wyse jump on to the buffer at the sale house door. He lost his balance and tumbled a somersault and fell in front of the waggons. Angus McDonald, head mechanic at Auchmuty Mills, said that seeing it was Markinch games Wyse might have been a little excited in his hurry to get finished. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Tuesday 25th July, 1905, p.4. 

   THE HOLE AT HAMILTON CENTRAL. – On Sunday last a start was made with the work of filling up the “Hole” outside Hamilton Central (C.R.) Station. The Hole, which is due to mineral subsidence, had latterly become so serious a source of danger in the way of derailing trains and entailing damage to railway plant, that the Company were compelled to apply for Parliamentary powers in order to provide a remedy. These included the removal of the bridges at Park Road and Orchard Street, the construction of new streets between Quarry Street and Auchincampbell and Union Street and Bent Road, and the erection of a bridge at Auchincampbell and a footbridge over Park Road. These works being completed, on Sunday a staff of over 200 men started to raise the line, others with locomotives and powerful cranes being at the same time employed in removing the girders of the demolished bridges. The line at this point has to be raised 13ft. 6ins., in the filling up of which it is estimated that 2000 waggon-loads, or 100,000 tons of material will be required. The operations were continued all night and were resumed on Monday, and were watched by large crowds. Meanwhile, the traffic is being conducted under considerable difficulty, the usual signals all being done away with, and hand signals and detonators being substituted. The trains are also drawn up before approaching the station, and moved slowly into the platform. Every effort is being made to minimise the inconvenience to the travelling community. 

– Hamilton Herald and Lanarkshire Weekly News, Wednesday 26th July, 1905, p.4. 



Lady Falls on Rails. 



   An alarming incident occurred at Inverkeithing Station yesterday. A party of ladies travelled from Edinburgh, intending to alight at North Queensferry, but were carried on to Inverkeithing. At the latter station they were proceeding to the bridge to reach the opposite platform to get a train back to North Queensferry, when one of the young ladies, named Miss Horne, inadvertently stepped too near the edge of the platform in her excitement, and, losing her balance, fell on to the railway just as an express train dashed past. 

   Fortunately she was able to keep clear of the flying train, and a lamentable accident was narrowly averted. Though stunned and bruised Miss Horne was able to resume her journey. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Thursday 27th July, 1905, p.4. 

   DEATH AT RAILWAY STATION. – David Buchanan, dairyman, Douglas Street, Stirling, died suddenly on the platform of Stirling Railway Station, on Saturday. Accompanied by his son, he was waiting on a train for Kippen games, where he was going to take part in the quoiting tournament. After speaking to a railway servant, Buchanan suddenly pitched forward on his face on the platform, and was picked up dead. 

– Kirkintilloch Gazette, Friday 28th July, 1905, p.3. 

   MAN’S MIRACULOUS ESCAPE AT STIRLING STATION. – A passenger by the train from the north, arriving at Stirling Station at 5.8, had a miraculous escape from death or injury on Tuesday afternoon. Seizing the opportunity provided by the stoppage of the train at Stirling, he left his compartment for the refreshment room, in which he remained a few minutes. The train had just started, but was moving slowly, when the man, who was quite sober, emerged from the refreshment room, and made a run and a spring to get into his compartment. Instead of getting in, however, he by some means slipped between the platform and the footboard of the carriage, and remained suspended there, his body being on the platform and his legs dangling over the edge of it. The accident was at once noticed, and the train promptly stopped, but so tightly were the man’s limbs wedged between the footboard and the platform that a saw had to be procured and the footboard out before he could be released. Whilst this was being done, and in order to facilitate the work, he had to be supported in an upright position, as his feet, though dangling over the platform, were not touching the ground at the side of the rails. When released, it was found that the man was not hurt in the least, and he resumed his journey looking as if he felt – what everybody thought who saw what happened – that he had experienced a miraculous escape. 

– Falkirk Herald, Saturday 29th July, 1905, p.3. 


   When the train leaving the Waverley Station at 9.10 this morning for the North was crossing the Forth Bridge the passengers were startled by something striking the side of the train with great force. Several windows were smashed, some brass rods twisted, and woodwork somewhat damaged. A projection from a passing train is thought to have caused the mishap. One passenger was slightly cut by broken glass. 



  About nine o’clock this morning, William Tait, farmer, Braefoot farm, Caldercruix, was instantaneously killed near Plains Station. He was crossing the North British Railway line, when the express train from Glasgow to Edinburgh approached. Another express train from Edinburgh to Glasgow was passing at the time, and he crossed the line just at the rear of this train, only to be knocked down, and terribly mutilated by the express train going east. Deceased’s body was cut up almost beyond recognition. Deceased, who belongs to Biggar, was working cut a lease of Braefoot farm, Caldercruix, and was on his way to catch the train for Biggar, to spend the week-end in his native place. 



   John Tinlin, surfaceman, Hawick, was this morning struck by the step of a passing engine near Stobs military station, his leg being broken below the knee. He was conveyed to Hawick Cottage Hospital. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Saturday 29th July, 1905, p.3. 

   ACCIDENT TO A RAILWAY PORTER. – Yesterday while a horse was being put into a railway carriage at the Station the animal becoming restive kicked open the door of the compartment, which, coming into contact with the left foot of John Mackay, porter, 5 Castle Street, broke several bones in the instep. Mackay was attended to by Dr Nicolson, assistant to Dr Kerr. 

– Highland News, Saturday 29th July, 1905, p.4. 

   RAILWAY COLLISION AT LOCHEARNHEAD. – On Saturday evening the train which runs between Balquhidder and Lochearnhead with passengers from the West Highland Railway met with a slight accident when entering the latter station. The driver applied the brakes, but owing to the greasy condition of the rails these would not act, and the train went past the signal. A goods train was standing in the station, and the passenger train ran into it. Several passengers received severe shakings, one girl sustaining a wound on the forehead, and the guard of the train was knocked down by the sudden impact. 

Perthshire Advertiser, Monday 31st July, 1905, p.2. 

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