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August 1905

[Scottish Railway Incidents (1905) Contents]







   An accident of an alarming nature occurred at the level crossing at the foot of Golf Street, Carnoustie, yesterday afternoon. 

   It appears that Robert Fyffe, a carter in the employment of James S. Hood & Co., was returning from Links Parade with a cart, and when approaching the railway he observed a train coming from Carnoustie, and waited until it passed, when he crossed the railway. He had just got behind the west-going train when he observed another coming from Dundee. He fortunately had the presence of mind to touch his horse up, and managed to clear himself when the train struck the back of his cart, carrying the half of it completely away. Fortunately Fyffe and his horse were uninjured. The engine, however, was damaged, and had to be uncoupled at Carnoustie. 

– Dundee Courier, Wednesday 2nd August, 1905, p.4. 

   SERIOUS ACCIDENT AT STOBS CAMP STATION. – On Saturday morning a rather serious accident occurred on the North British Railway near Stobs Camp Station. Surfacemen were working on the line, and as the morning express from Stobs to Hawick and Edinburgh came past, the footplate of the engine struck a hammer at the side of the line, and tossed it with great force, striking John Tinline, surfaceman, Hawick, on the left leg. The leg below the knee was literally smashed. After receiving attention from the staff of the field hospital at hand, Tinline was conveyed by special train to Hawick, and taken to the Cottage Hospital, where it was found necessary to amputate the limb. 

– Southern Reporter, Thursday 3rd August, 1905, p.3. 

   SERIOUS ACCIDENT TO A RAILWAY PORTER. – A man named Martin Kilker, a railway porter on the North British Railway at Coatdyke, has been admitted to the Alexander Hospital suffering from serious injuries sustained by being run over on the railway at Coatdyke Station. He had crossed the line as the late train came in for the purpose of collecting the tickets at the gate, when he was knocked down by the engine and run over. His left leg was seriously crushed and lacerated, and had to be immediately amputated, while he also received three scalp wounds. 


   RAILWAY FATALITY AT MOTHERWELL. – Last night the body of an ironworker, apparently about forty years of age, was found lying on the Caledonian Railway Company’s main line to the north near the point where it crosses the south Calder water. The body was removed to the Motherwell mortuary, where it awaits identification. Deceased is supposed to belong to Mossend, and it is thought that he was knocked down by a passing engine while walking along the line to his work at Motherwell. 

– Scotsman, Saturday 5th August, 1905, p.8. 


   This morning a fatal accident occurred at Achnasheen Railway Station, Ross-shire, resulting in the death of Donald Chisholm, ticket collector, aged 18, a native of the West Coast. It appears that Chisholm was taking the tablet from the driver of the early train from Kyle of Lochalsh to Dingwall, when he accidentally fell between the engine tender and the platform, receiving serious injuries. He was conveyed to Dingwall Hospital, where he died shortly afterwards. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Tuesday 8th August, 1905, p.2. 




   Traffic to and from Hamilton was considerably impeded yesterday owing to a train, consisting of the engine and eight waggons, having the rails at the subsidence now being filled up between the Station and Park Road. The engine and empty waggons were passing from Motherwell to Hamilton, about 4.25, the most unfortunate time of the day, when the mishap occurred. Fortunately, there was a large squad of men on the spot, and Mr Dibbs, the station-master, soon had all hands together for the work of clearing the line. By 6.20 p.m., one line was clear, and by nine o’clock matters were so far rectified that the traffic had resumed its normal condition. 

   The engine escaped without injury; but the waggons were somewhat damaged. 

   Owing to the mishap, the 5.13 train from Glasgow to Lesmahagow was run via Motherwell. The Hamilton passengers got out of Newton, and were taken to Hamilton West by the low level train leaving Glasgow Central at 5.14. They were left at Hamilton West, and thence made their way to their respective homes without much inconvenience or loss of time. 

It is very creditable to all concerned that this is the only mishap that has occurred during the present extensive alteration operations. 

– Hamilton Herald and Lanarkshire Weekly News, Wednesday 9th August, 1905, p.4. 

   MAN KILLED. – The body of a labourer found on the Caledonian Railway between Motherwell and Mossend on Thursday night last has been identified as that of Thomas Meeken, aged about 50, who resided in the Workmen’s Home at Mossend. When travelling from his work he had been run down and killed by a passing train. Meeken is said to have relations in Dalkeith. 

– Bellshill Speaker, Friday 11th August, 1905, p.2. 

   FIRE AT ROSLIN STATION. – The shed where the engine is kept during the night at Roslin Station was discovered yesterday morning to be on fire, and although every effort was made to check the outbreak the shed was burned down completely, and great damage was done to the engine. A wooden house at the rear was saved. The damage amounts to at least £300. 

– Scotsman, Friday 11th August, 1905, p.4. 

   SAD ACCIDENT TO ENGINEER. – Alexander Campbell, an engineer, well known in the Lanark district, who resided at Lintmill, Carnwath, has been run over by a traction engine and instantly killed on the public road opposite Clydeville House, Kirkfieldbank. When looking back to the driver of the engine to speak with him his foot caught a stone, which caused him to fall in front of the engine, one of the wheels of which passed over his body. Campbell’s engagement with the proprietor of the engine had ceased at Lanark, but he volunteered to see it through Kirkfieldbank, and had almost reached the point at which he intended to go no further when the accident occurred. 

– Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, Saturday 12th August, 1905, p.6. 


   This morning, while working at the Caledonian Goods Station, an old employee named John McLeish was knocked down by an engine, and sustained serious injuries, both his legs being fractured. He was removed to the Infirmary. 

– Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, Saturday 12th August, 1905, p.2. 


   About 11 o’clock last night, a yardsman, named John Smith, residing in Bain’s Land, Brandon Street, Motherwell, met with a shocking death. He had stepped out of a signal cabin in front of a light engine and was knocked down and shockingly mutilated, death being instantaneous. Deceased is survived by a widow and grown-up family. 



   At Jedburgh Sheriff Court to-day, before Hon. Sheriff Richardson, John Graham, railway telegraph linesman, Brandfield Street, Edinburgh, was sentenced to 21 days’ imprisonment without the option, for having on 3d August at St Boswells Railway Station, maliciously damaged a telegraph instrument in the telegraph room by twisting the sounders and bending the needle at Ravenswood down distant signal, causing the wires of the Edinburgh to Carlisle and Dundee to Liverpool telegraph lines to come in contact by tying them together with a piece of wire, and also, between Ravenswood signal cabin and the village of Newstead, cut two wires of the Edinburgh and Carlisle telegraph circuit. He pleaded guilty, his excuse being that he was the worse of drink, and thought he was being followed. To prevent this, he cut the wires. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Saturday 12th August, 1905, p.3. 

   THE ATTEMPTED SUICIDE AT WAVERLEY BRIDGE. – Before Bailie McMichael at the Edinburgh City Police Court on Saturday, Martin Mitchell (26), a porter, residing at 1 King’s Stables Road, pleaded guilty to a charge of on 5th July last having attempted to commit suicide by throwing himself from the parapet of the Waverley Bridge to the railway beneath. It was explained that accused was seen to jump on to the parapet and fall over. He alighted on a moving train, and was carried eighty yards before he rolled off the roof of the carriage. He had a marvellous escape. Accused, who appeared in Court with the support of crutches, said he did not remember anything about the affair. Bailie McMichael allowed Mitchell to go with an admonition. 


   RUNAWAY WAGGON AT GREENOCK. – An alarming accident, which might have had serious results, happened in Rue-end Street, Greenock, on Saturday night. Through the breaking of a coupling a railway waggon laden with iron plates ran down the steep incline of Dellingburn Street, and smashed into an electric tramcar. Fortunately the people on the car had time to escape before the crash took place. 


   FATAL ACCIDENT AT GREENOCK. – On Saturday afternoon, Matthew Bell, a shunter, was getting off an engine at Boyston siding, Greenock, when he fell on to the line. The wheels of the engine passed over his leg, almost severing the limb. He was taken to the Infirmary, where he died some hours later. 

– Scotsman, Monday 14th August, 1905, p.4. 

   OLD WOMAN’S DEATH ON THE RAILWAY. – Yesterday afternoon an aged woman, named Smith, wife of a platelayer, residing at Drumclog Station, was accidentally killed by the 12.55 passenger train from Darvel to Strathaven. The old woman had called at Strathaven Central Station asking her way home, and was cautioned against walking on the line, and it is not known how she gained access to the line. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, 15th August, 1905, p.4. 

   SURFACEMAN KILLED. – Last night a distressing fatal accident occurred on the Highland Railway, near Kildary Station. It appears that while George Urquhart, foreman surfaceman, was walking on the line about a mile north of the station, he was knocked down by the 4.55 p.m. passenger train from Inverness. Death appears to have been instantaneous. 

– Northern Chronicle and General Advertiser for the North of Scotland, Wednesday 16th August, 1905, p.4. 

   Last night a young man named John Crabb (17), employed as a railway porter at Stirling Station, met with a fatal accident there. He jumped down behind the 7.40 train from Glasgow, and slipped in front of an express train from Perth, being so badly injured about the head that he died in the Royal Infirmary an hour later. 

– Dundee Courier, Thursday 17th August, 1905, p.5. 


   On Saturday morning John McLeish, in the employment of the Caledonian Railway Co., and residing at Ingleston Street, Greenock, was knocked down by an engine, whereby both his legs were fractured, and he sustained a serious scalp wound. He was taken to Greenock Infirmary, where his injuries terminated fatally soon afterwards. Deceased was fifty-five years of age, and is survived by a widow and grown-up family. 

– Port-Glasgow Express, Friday 18th August, 1905, p.2. 

   Marvellous Escape. – Peggy Gillon, the four year old daughter of Mr C. E. Gillon, West Main Street, met with an accident at Edinburgh Waverley Station on Wednesday morning which might have had serious results. She along with her father, the precentor of the Established Church choir, her mother and brother accompanied the members of the choir to Roslin, and while waiting for the engine to be coupled to the carriages, Mrs Gillon lifted Peggie into a compartment. She however, remained on the platform with others of the company. A few minutes later the engine was brought back upon the carriages with such force that the little girl was thrown out of the open door and fell between the platform and the moving train. In a second, Mrs Gillon jumped after her and catching her by the hair of the head, the only hold she could get of her girl, she lifted her up a little and held her there until aid was received from Mr Robert Henderson who landed both safely on to the platform again. The girl received a severe knock on the forehead, but was otherwise uninjured. Mrs Gillon had her arm injured, but also fortunately escaped any serious hurt. 

– West Lothian Courier, Friday 18th August, 1905, p.5. 

   RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – Yesterday afternoon, about three o’clock, Edward Flanagan, residing at 14 Church Street and employed on the North British Railway, met with an accident at Sunnyside Station. Flanagan was engaged on the line, when he was knocked down by a goods train and cut about the head. He was attended to by Dr Cordiner, and afterwards removed to the Alexander Hospital. 

– Coatbridge Leader, Saturday 19th August, 1905, p.4. 


   An engine-driver, named Daniel Ferguson, in the employment of the Glasgow and South-Western Railway Company, was accidentally killed at St Enoch’s Station, Glasgow, on Saturday afternoon. Ferguson joined the 1.20 p.m. Barrhead to St Enoch’s train at Gorbals, and drove it to No. 8 platform at the terminus. The fireman did not observe him leaving the engine, but after the 1.52 train had left for Greenock his body was found in the four-feet way at No. 4 platform. The accident was unnoticed by any of the officials. A medical examination showed that death was caused by a rupture of both lungs, the wheels of some carriages having evidently passed over his chest from the left shoulder to the right arm-pit. Deceased was forty-four years of age. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Monday 21st August, 1905, p.2. 


   On Saturday morning George Wood (31), railway porter, 254 George Street, while crossing the rails in the east dock at Guild Street goods station, failed to notice the approach of an engine, and was knocked down between the rails. The engine caught Wood’s clothing, and dragged him a distance of twenty yards. He was cut on the head and injured on the back, and was removed to the Royal Infirmary. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Monday 21 August, 1905, p.4. 




   A young man named Robert Bothwell Robbie (26), groom, youngest son of Mr William Robbie, residing at 58 Ashvale Place, died yesterday morning as the result of injuries sustained on the 24th June at the aerial railway at the Aberdeen Bathing Station. Robbie, while travelling along the wire hanging from the crossbar, jerked the pulley out of position, and fell into the net, a distance of a few feet. He became sick, but was able to go home on a car. On his arrival home, however, he became worse, and Dr Farquhar, who was sent for, expressed the opinion that Robbie had ruptured an internal organ. He was removed to the Royal Infirmary, where he remained for seven weeks, suffering from serious internal injuries. Much sympathy is expressed for the deceased’s relatives under the distressing circumstances. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Tuesday 22nd August, 1905, p.4. 

   FATAL ACCIDENT. – A sad sequel to the Nairn games occurred at the Railway Station on Saturday night to a young woman named Louise Cameron, daughter of F. Cameron, foreman roadman, residing at Harbour Street, Nairn. It appears that the unfortunate woman went to the station to see some friends off to Inverness, per the 9.50 train, and as the train was moving away she slipped between one of the carriages and the platform.  By the time the train was stopped, the carriages had crushed her badly, whereby she received severe internal injuries. She was removed by Constable Tyrie, and conveyed to the Town and County Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries on Sunday evening. Quite a scene was witnessed at the station at the time of the accident, the platform being crowded with travellers. 

– Elgin Courant, and Morayshire Advertiser, Tuesday 22nd August, 1905, p.4. 

   RAILWAY ACCIDENT AT DUNDEE. – A railway accident occurred at Dundee yesterday, by which the main line on the North, was blocked for several hours. The 10.50 A.M. Caledonian goods train for the North passed through the Tay Bridge Station and Dock Street tunnel, and drew up on the incline leading from the eastern end of the tunnel to the Dundee and Arbroath joint line at Camperdown Junction. Several waggons were to be shunted to the harbour sidings, and these and the engine were disconnected, leaving the rear portion of the train, consisting of six waggons, laden with coal, and the guard’s van, standing on the main line. Shortly after the waggons that were to be shunted had been removed, the coal waggons began to move off, and dashing down the gradient at a high speed entered the tunnel. About sixty yards within the tunnel the guard’s van was caught by the catch points and thrown off the line, the succeeding waggons being also derailed. With the exception of the sixth waggon, all the derailed waggons were within the tunnel. The line to the North was entirely blocked, the rails being torn up and sleepers smashed. On being apprised of the mishap the officials at Tay Bridge Station took steps to carry on the passenger traffic to the North. A single line was worked, and the train from Glasgow and Edinburgh to Aberdeen got away with but little delay. The breakdown squads had the waggons replaced on the rails at two o’clock in the afternoon, and a few hours afterwards the line was open for traffic. 

– Scotsman, Friday 25th August, 1905, p.3. 

   Bathgate Branch A.S.R.S. – On Sunday evening, a meeting of the members of the Bathgate Branch of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants was held in the Workingmen’s Institute. Mr Bailie occupied the chair. Mr Muir organising secretary delivered a pithy address on similar lines to that delivered in the early part of the day in the Steelyard, a report of which is given on another column. The following resolution was moved by Mr Henderson, seconded by Mr Ritchie and unanimously agreed to:- “That this meeting of practical railwaymen consider that the larger engines, heavier trains, and other methods of working are causing greater mental and physical strain upon the men, and acting otherwise detrimental to their interests, therefore we consider that the time has now arrived for the men pushing on their claims upon the Companies for shorter hours of labour and increased wages. Further, we earnestly call upon all non-union railwaymen to join and remain members of the A.S.R.S., with a view of securing the same.” 

– West Lothian Courier, Friday 25th August, 1905, p.4. 

   ACCIDENT. – On Friday a fireman named Milligan was seriously injured at Bardowie Railway Station. While engaged in shunting operations his feet slipped on the plate of the engine. In his fall he struck against a signal post. The rebound cast his feet on the rails. Some of the toes of the left foot were severed and the right foot was cut off by the wheels. Milligan was removed with all speed to Glasgow Royal Infirmary for treatment. 

– Kirkintilloch Gazette, Friday 25th August, 1905, p.3. 

   ACCIDENT. – James McMillan, four years of age, residing with his parents at 154 Main Street, met with an accident while running down the stairs leading from Whifflet High Level Station. He missed his footing and fell to the bottom of the stair, receiving slight concussion to the brain. He was attended to be Dr Prentice, locum tenens to Dr Rennie, and afterwards removed home. 


   FATAL FALL OVER A BRIDGE. – The body of a man, named David Short, about 30 years of age, who resided with his sister in Rawyards, was found on Sunday morning lying on a line of railway underneath the bridge that carries the New Monkland road over the railway at Thrashbush Quarry. As there was a nasty wound on his forehead, it is supposed he had fallen from the bridge above, causing the injury to his head. the body was removed to the Airdrie Poorhouse mortuary, where a post-mortem examination of the body was made for the Procurator-Fiscal by Drs Kirkland and Milne. 


   FATAL RESULT OF AN ACCIDENT. – The injuries which were sustained by Edward Flanagan, surfaceman, at Sunnyside Station last Friday, as reported in our issue of last week, unfortunately terminated fatally. The deceased it appears, had failed to notice the approach of a goods train, with the result that he was struck on the head and otherwise hurt. His injuries, however, were not considered of a serious nature. On Saturday his condition became more serious, and he died on Sunday. The deceased, who was an old man, resided in Church Street, and had been in the employment of the railway company for some time. 

– Coatbridge Leader, Saturday 26th August, 1905, p.5. 

   SERIOUS ACCIDENT AT RAILWAY STATION. – TICKET COLLECTORS’ PROMPT ACTION. – About ten o’clock on Saturday evening an accident of a serious nature occurred at Kirkcaldy Railway Station, which, but for the prompt attention of Mr Peter Mitchell, ticket collector, assisted by Mr Alex. Cunningham, also a ticket collector, might have terminated fatally. William Cruickshanks, residing in Caledonian Place, Aberdeen, who was waiting the arrival of the train for the north, fell off the platform on to the rails, badly cutting his head, besides severing an artery. The blood was flowing freely from the artery, and the sight was a most alarming one. The station was crowded with passengers at the time, and the ticket collectors had him removed to the waiting-room, where their ambulance knowledge came in most useful. By compressing the cut artery the flow of blood was stemmed. Meanwhile medical aid was summoned, and Dr Mackay quickly appeared on the scene, and had the man’s wounds seen to, putting in several stitches. The unfortunate man proceeded on his way to Aberdeen by train, but it was found necessary to remove him at Dundee to the Royal Infirmary there. But for the experience in ambulance work of both ticket collectors, and their prompt action on the occasion, there is little doubt but that the man would have bled to death. The doctor complimented them on the prompt measure they took in connection with the accident. 

– Fife Free Press, & Kirkcaldy Guardian, Saturday 26th August, 1905, p.4. 



   Usually the traffic on the three miles of branch railway between Killin village and Killin Junction, on the Callander and Oban line, is of very modest proportions, and the light tank locomotive that performs the haulage is quite able to cope with it, despite the fact of there being an exceedingly steep incline between the village and the Junction. On one day of the year, however – the annual show of the Breadalbane Agricultural Association – the strength of the locomotive is taxed to its utmost capacity, and occasionally it is found wanting. This happened on Saturday, which was “show” day. People flocked to the exhibition from far and near, and whilst having a severe strain put upon it to prevent the heavily-laden trains running away going down the long incline to the village, the locomotive had equal difficulty going up to the Junction to avoid being run away with by the train. In the case of the 4.5 p.m. from Killin village the engine was unable to pull the train more than half-way up the incline, and after several attempts, which only resulted in the long line of carriages moving backward instead of forward, brakes were put hard on, and the whole train came to a standstill. The only thing to be done in the circumstances was to convert the train into two portions, and whilst the rear division was left standing on the line the engine proceeded with the front one to Killin Junction, a mile and a half away, afterwards returning for the second portion. During the interval that elapsed many passengers got out of their compartments and plucked branches of the luxuriant heather growing by the side of the line, as a souvenir of their little adventure. It is a testimony to the strength of the vacuum brake that the carriages remained standing quite immoveable on the steepest portion of a steep incline. Had the train begun to move backwards, nothing could have prevented it gathering speed and rushing on till it deposited itself and its passengers over the end of Killin pier into Loch Tay, two miles away. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Monday 28th August, 1905, p.2. 

   RAILWAY ACCIDENT IN ABINGTON. – A serious railway smash, resulting in much damage to rolling stock and the permanent way, occurred yesterday morning on the Caledonian main line north of Abington Station. A mineral train from Strathaven Junction to Lockerbie left the metals, and several trucks and vans were smashed and the line for about 200 yards was badly torn up. Traffic was for a time disorganised until the wreckage was partially cleared, and a single line used. 

– Scotsman, Tuesday 29th August, 1905, p.4. 

   A little boy, the son of a surfaceman, was run over and killed on the railway line between Callander and Strathyre stations on Saturday. 

– Falkirk Herald, Wednesday 30th August, 1905, p.5. 

   Our police officials are useful, not only as deterrents to crime, but in alluring the wayward out of their evil paths. A miner imbibed not wisely, but too well, on Saturday, and on Saturday night attempted to commit suicide by placing himself on the rails at the Uddingston Central Station, right in front of an Edinburgh express train. The express was within a few yards of him, when his wife dragged him out of its way. He was taken to the Police Office, and, when he had sobered on Sunday night, was liberated on bail. An eavesdropper states that the deservedly popular and thoughtful Sergt. Forbes, in liberating him, gave him some kindly, but practical advice, pointing out to him the danger of drink as applied to one of his constitution, which had more effect than the loss of the bail money. 

– Hamilton Herald and Lanarkshire Weekly News, Wednesday 30th August, 1905, p.6. 

   WHILE flying over the railway between Hawick and Riccarton a grouse was struck by a passing engine and killed. It fell on the small platform in front of the engine and was thus brought down to Hawick. 

– Southern Reporter, Thursday 31st August, 1905, p.1. 



A Danger to Railway Travellers. 

   Major Pringle, in his official report to the Board of Trade on the railway accident at Waverley Station, Edinburgh, on June 27, when a train ran into the buffer stops, says that the mishap was due to the continuous brake pipe being closed. 

   He says suspicion rests upon two railwaymen of having altered the position of one of the brake cocks. 

   The driver, however, was partly to blame, first by neglecting to test his continuous brake, and second by going at such a speed that he could not stop the train by the hand brake only. 

   Major Pringle says that the case proves the additional risk incurred by railway companies, even when the same type of continuous brake is used, by the varying details of brake equipment, there being no standard. 

   Twelve passengers and the guard were slightly injured in the collision. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Thursday 31st August, 1905, p.5. 

A BOY of two years of age, named Malcolm Robertson, son of Malcolm Robertson, surfaceman, was killed on the Callander and Oban Railway on Saturday forenoon by a special train from Edinburgh. 

– Southern Reporter, Thursday 31st August, 1905, p.4. 

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