Site icon Random Scottish History

November 1905

[Scottish Railway Incidents (1905) Contents]

   COLLISION ON THE DUMBARTONSHIRE AND BALLOCH JOINT RAILWAY. – Yesterday morning a collision occurred on the Dumbarton and Balloch Joint Railway Line, between Balloch and Balloch Pier. The 5.25 A.M. workmen’s train from Bridgeton Cross, Glasgow, was proceeding from Balloch to the pier, and when crossing over into the carriage siding, the Forth and Clyde train for Stirling, which was coming from the pier to Balloch, dashed into the end of the workmen’s train as it was crossing over to the carriage siding. Three of the carriages of the workmen’s train were badly damaged, while the guard’s van was telescoped, the carriages being knocked off the line, while the buffers of the Forth and Clyde engine were broken. The carriages were lifted during the day by means of the travelling crane. 

– Scotsman, Thursday 2nd November, 1905, p.4. 

   ACCIDENT AT STIRLING STATION. – About eleven o’clock on Wednesday night, while the mail train for the south was leaving Stirling Station, Matthew Marshall, auctioneer, Cuthbertson Street, Crosshill, Glasgow, fell between two of the carriages of the Edinburgh portion, and his right foot was run over at the ankle. He was removed to the Royal Infirmary, where it was found necessary to amputate the leg below the knee. 

– Scotsman, Friday 3rd November, 1905, p.5. 





   On Wednesday night Mathew Wallace (46), auctioneer, Glasgow, and a married man, got his right leg taken off by an accident at Stirling Station, and narrowly escaped with his life. He had been seeing some friends away with the 10.43 train to the North, and through some means had fallen unnoticed between the carriages on to the line. When the train moved off a porter noticed that the carriages were bumping, as if going over some obstruction, and on the train being stopped Wallace was discovered lying below the vehicles in the four-foot way and his right leg across one of the rails. He was taken to the Royal Infirmary, where the leg was amputated below the knee. 

– Dundee Courier, Friday 3rd November, 1905, p.5. 

   FATAL RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – A signal fitter, named David Christie, residing in Cowdenbeath, was killed at Kelty Station on Friday afternoon. The man had been sitting in the four-foot way of the Kinross lye at the station, and failing to observe the approach of a goods train he was struck by the axle of one of the waggons on the head. A companion of the deceased, who was 48 years of age, heard a cry, but before he reached Christie death had ensued, the neck having been dislocated. 

– Kinross-shire Advertiser, Saturday 4th November, 1905, p.2. 

   ACCIDENT. – About six o’clock on Monday night Michael Downie, 46 years of age, a puddler, residing in Coatbank Street, met with an accident while employed in the Clifton Iron Works, Main Street. Downie, it appears, failed to notice the approach of the pug engine, with the result that he was knocked down, and the engine passed over his right leg, almost severing it at the ankle. He was attended to by Dr Rennie at the works, and afterwards removed in the ambulance waggon to the Alexander Hospital, where it was found necessary to amputate the leg a little below the knee. 

– Coatbridge Leader, Saturday 4th November, 1905, p.5. 




   A Polish miner named Rice, was last night sent by his employer from Blantyre to Glasgow to fetch some explosives. In the train on the way back, the explosives ignited, and there was a series of explosions, which set the railway carriage on fire as it was entering Belgrove Station. Rice was badly burnt, but was able to get out of the burning carriage. He was taken to the Infirmary. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Tuesday 7th November, 1905, p.4. 

   FATAL HOIST ACCIDENT AT WAVERLEY STATION. – As a result of a hoist accident at Waverley Station a man, named George Baillie Malcolm, seventy-four years of age, died at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on Saturday afternoon. Deceased had been taking barrows from the main down platform to the suburban platform by way of a hoist and gangway, and it is thought that after he put the barrows on the hoist he went on himself and set the hoist in motion, but, standing too near the edge, he was knocked down by the protecting gate which descends as the hoist goes upward. Before he could rise he was caught and crushed. After the accident Malcolm was conveyed to the Infirmary, where he died an hour later from a fractured skull. Deceased had been in the employment of the North British Railway Company for forty-seven years, being for the major portion of the time signalman at Bonnington. He was recently transferred to Waverley, his failing eyesight rendering him unfit for signalman’s duty. 


   ADVENTURE ON A LOCOMOTIVE. – An extraordinary affair happened on the train leaving Airdrie (Caledonian Station) for Glasgow at 5.30 on Saturday afternoon. A young man named William Marshall, a boiler fireman, residing in Airdrie, while under the influence of drink, had left the train and gone forward to the engine between Airdrie and Calder stations, and boarded it. The engine-driver had stopped the train at a signal which stood at danger, and while the train was standing Marshall came along, without his jacket, vest, cap, or collar, and entered the cab of the engine, in spite of the driver’s remonstrances. He caught hold of the engine brake and other parts and shook them. The engine-driver seized him, but he struggled, and cursed and swore. With the help of the fireman he was held down on the floor of the cab till Calder Station was reached, and there the police were sent for, and they took him into custody. The accused appeared at Airdrie Justice of the Peace Court yesterday morning, and pleaded guilty. The Court emphasised the danger of the prisoner’s conduct, and fined him 40s., with the alternative of imprisonment for twenty days. 

– Scotsman, Tuesday 7th November, 1905, p..4. 

Singular Explosion in a Train. 




   The somewhat unusual spectacle of a railway carriage in flames was witnessed at about six o’clock on Monday night in the Bellgrove Station of the North British Railway. Before the train came to a standstill there jumped from the carriage a Pole, named George Rice, apparently suffering from burning injuries. 

   Rice, it appears, entered the train at Queen Street Station, having in his possession two bottles containing some explosive substance. In the carriage along with him were three other men, one of whom, it is supposed, accidentally set alight and caused the substance to explode by throwing away a lighted match. 

   The carriage immediately took fire, and, as already indicated, entered Bellgrove Station burning. In alighting from the train Rice fell and sustained a cut on the face. The burning vehicle was at once detached from the train, which thereafter proceeded on its journey. 

   Rice, who was removed to the infirmary for treatment, is 46 years of age, and resides at 14k Glenlee Street, Burnbank. He is employed as a labourer at Wm. Dixon & Co., Ltd.’s, colliery, Blantyre, and stated that he got the explosive for that firm, having often been sent on similar errands. He could not, however, say where he procured the stuff or what it was. 

   Further inquiry is being made into the affair. 

– Hamilton Herald and Lanarkshire Weekly News, Wednesday 8th November, 1905, p.5. 

   SCENE ON FIFE RAILWAY. – ENGINE DASHES INTO CATTLE. – An uncommon railway accident occurred in the Dunfermline district on Thursday. In the afternoon on the West Fife mineral railway a special engine was being driven along at a good speed, when it dashed into a herd of cattle. A number of the animals were terribly mutilated, and four were killed. The engine was covered with blood and pieces of flash, and the scene presented a horrible spectacle. 

– Fife Free Press, & Kirkcaldy Guardian, Saturday 11th November, 1905, p.4. 

   FIRES IN EDINBURGH AND PORTOBELLO. – Within little more than twelve hours Edinburgh Fire Brigade was called out no fewer than seven times on Saturday. Only one of the outbreaks was of a serious character. That was at Portobello, where damage estimated at about £2000 was done by the destruction of a “sow” of hay of about 500 tons capacity, belonging to the North British Railway Company, in a corner of Portobello old public park, near the railway line at Hope Lane. A shunter in the employment of the company conveyed the alarm of the outbreak to the police and the fire brigade station at Portobello shortly after eleven o’clock on Saturday night, and in response to a summons promptly dispatched a steamer was sent from the London Road Station, and another from the Central Station of Edinburgh Fire Brigade. It was found that the “sow,” which was well alight was quite close to a larger “sow” of hay, and that a rick of hay and a shed of straw were in dangerous proximity also. To prevent these getting involved was the object of the firemen. A part of the nearest fire plug broke, and the engines had to draw their water from High Street and St Mark’s Place, upwards of 350 and 250 yards away respectively. There was an abundance of hose, and a splendid water supply. All night the engines were kept at work. About midday yesterday the Central Station steamer was withdrawn, but it was stated by the firemen that it will possibly be a couple of days before their task is finished. The loss is covered by insurance. It is only a few months since there was a very destructive fire on a Saturday night at the same place. The cause of the outbreak is not known, but it is believed to be due either to a spark from the shunting yard, which is only a few yards away, or to tramps, who sometimes resort to the place. 

– Scotsman, Monday 13th November, 1905, p.6. 



   A fatal accident occurred at Haymarket Station, Edinburgh, yesterday morning. One of the boys employed at the bookstall named John Bennett Ure, 14, 12 Caledonian Place, was burning some waste paper at the end of one of the platforms and, while in the act of crossing the rails on his way back, he was struck by the engine attached to a train from Larbert, and dragged along the line for about twenty yards. His injuries were serious, and he was taken in the train to Waverley Station, and thence to the Royal Infirmary. Bennett died a few hours later in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Tuesday 14th November, 1905, p.7. 



Stirling Bravery Recognised. 

   In the Postmaster’s room at Stirling yesterday afternoon an interesting ceremony took place, when, in presence of Provost Thomson, Mr R. Reid, postmaster; Mr James Samuel, stationmaster; and other gentlemen connected with the railway and Post Office, Mr James D. Lang, district traffic superintendent, Perth, on behalf of the Caledonian Railway Company, presented Mr J. W. Thomson, a young Stirling postman, with a handsome gratuity as a recognition of his bravery in saving the life of a miner at Stirling Station on the night of Saturday, 21st October. 

   The man in question was lying across the rails when Thomson jumped to his rescue, not withstanding that there was an engine coming along only twenty yards away, and that another engine was passing in the other direction on the adjoining line. Mr Lang narrated the circumstances of the rescue, how Thomson, immediately he saw the man’s dangerous position, rushed to the spot, and at the risk of his own life succeeded in dragging him free of the train; and proceeded to say that the Caledonian Railway Company desired him to express to Mr Thomson their high appreciation of his action, and to present him with a small gratuity in recognition of the courage he had displayed. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Wednesday 15th November, 1905, p.4. 

   BUCKIE – FATAL ACCIDENT. – On Saturday evening a lamentable fatality took place at the Highland Railway Station, by which Mr Alexander Gordon, guard on the train between Portessie and Keith, and residing in Portessie, lost his life. The night was dark and stormy, and Gordon was engaged at the shunting of some waggons at the goods shed. He had given the signal by lamp to the engine-driver to back into the shed, and was leaning out to see that the train was all right when the back of his head came in contact with the side post of the entrance to the goods shed. The force of the blow inflicted a terrible wound on the skull, and from the first it was apparent that the injury was mortal. Several of the officials, however, rendered what aid could be given pending the arrival of Drs Duguid, sen. and jun., who came within a few minutes of being telephoned for. The injured man was, however, beyond medical skill, and he passed away within half an hour of receiving the blow. The tragedy caused a painful sensation, and much sympathy was expressed for the widow, who is left with six of a family, some of whom are grown up. Deceased was 44 years of age, a native of Glass, and had been on the Keith and Portessie line for six months, but during that time had endeared himself to all with whom he came in contact by his obliging and civil disposition. The body was taken home to Portessie by the last train, there being a crowd on the platform while it was being entrained. The funeral took place on Tuesday to Mortlach churchyard. Rev. Mr Ryves conducted the service in the house at Portessie. 

– Banffshire Advertiser, Thursday 16th November, 1905, p.5. 





   An alarming accident occurred on the new Kincardine Railway on Tuesday afternoon at a point opposite Blair Castle, Culross, where the line, which is single, takes a nasty curve. An engine, conveying 12 of the railway contractor’s employees, was proceeding to Kincardine when it ran into another engine, coming in the opposite direction, causing a violent collision. Both engine-drivers immediately shut off steam when it was seen that an accident was inevitable. Five of the men were more or less seriously injured, their injuries, caused by jumping off the train and by the force of the impact, consisting of severe bruises. Notwithstanding that one of the engine-drivers, Nicholas Turner, had his head knocked through one of the look-out windows, he was able to return to Culross, where he obtained the services of Dr Gordon. The doctor applied first aid to the injured men, one of whom, George Colvin, a labourer, was conveyed to the Dunfermliine Hospital. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Thursday 16th November, 1905, p.6. 

   ENGINE DRIVER KILLED. – David Watt (45), engine driver, Oban, met with a fatal accident at Callander Railway Station yesterday afternoon. The train of which he was driver was standing at the platform, and the deceased was engaged oiling the under parts of the engine when another engine coming up behind for the purpose of taking off some of the last carriages slightly pushed forward the train, causing a part of the machinery to enter his abdomen. He only lived about half an hour. He leaves a widow and seven children. 

– Dundee Courier, Thursday 16th November, 1905, p.5. 

   THEFTS FROM RAILWAY CARRIAGES. – In the Edinburgh City Police Court yesterday, a man named Hugh Macdonald was sentenced to sixty days’ imprisonment for stealing thirty-two lb. of hair and six woollen rugs from the Caledonian Railway Station at Slateford between the 24th and 28th October, and forty-eight lb. of hair from the Princes Street Station between the 30th October and 1st November. The Fiscal pointed out that the case was an aggravated one. The accused had cut open the seats of carriages and removed the stuffing from them, the value in one case being £5 and in the other 12s.; but apart from that, considerably more damage was done in the carriages. Accused was formerly employed as a cleaner. Sheriff Orphoot said the case was a serious one, and passed sentence as stated. 

– Scotsman, Wednesday 22nd November, 1905, p.8. 

   A THRILLING ESCAPE. – A chapter which took place in the life of a coal-trimmer, James Mackie, Aberhill, on Saturday afternoon, is one which he is not soon likely to forget. Accompanied by a dog, he was taking a walk down the mineral railway between Leven colliery and the dock, when the animal engaged in a fight with another dog. They were worrying at each other between the rails, when Mackie rushed to separate them. In the yelping of dogs and his own shouting at them he failed to hear the approach of a coal train. This was coming down the line, engine behind, and the first waggon, striking Mackie in the back, knocked him between the rails. He had the presence of mind to lie still, but as he recollected the engine with its low set firebox, and realised that it must sweep close to the sleepers, he became numb with terror. The train was moving at the ordinary speed, but to Mackie it appeared an eternity as he heard the heavy throb of the engine draw nearer. At last it passed, skirkting his body with little to spare. The driver was astounded to see the man rise from between the rails and to learn that the whole train of twenty-six waggons had passed over him. Mackie for a time suffered from the strain of the ordeal, but was able to resume work on Monday. 

– Leven Advertiser & Wemyss Gazette, Thursday 23rd November, 1905, p.3. 

   THEN AND NOW. – Once upon a time Mr Andrew Carnegie, the multi-millionaire ironmaster, being hungry and penniless, and at a distance from any place of refreshment, helped himself without invitation to the contents of a railway engine-driver’s dinner “pail.” He has now sent the enginedriver £200 by way of a reminder of the incident and in payment of the food. The delighted recipient, who had quite forgotten the matter, told a reporter that now he will take care never to be without a dinner pail with something in it in case other millionaires might “happen along.” 

– East of Fife Record, Friday 24th November, 1905, p.3. 

   FALL FROM AN ENGINE. – Peter Preston, a fireman, employed by the North British Railway Coy., met with a serious accident on Tuesday night by falling from an engine. Preston was acting as fireman on the engine of the passenger train that leaves Edinburgh at 4.13 p.m. for Glasgow. How he fell from the engine is not known, but his presence from the footplate was missed by the driver when the train approached Sunnyside Station. On a search along the line being made, Preston was found near to Greenhill Junction, between Kipps and Sunnyside Station. It was then found that one of his legs had been broken, and that he was badly cut about the head. He was removed in another passenger train to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. 

– Coatbridge Leader, Saturday 25th November, 1905, p.5. 

   ACCIDENTS TO DUNDEE BOYS. – Robert Macdougall (12), residing at 29 Brown Street, was admitted to Dundee Royal Infirmary yesterday suffering from slight concussion of the brain. He fell from the back of a lorry at Caledonian Railway Company’s goods station… 

– Dundee Courier, Saturday 25th November, 1905, p.6. 

   EDINBURGH BOY’S FOOLHARDY ACT. – A boy named James Greig, twelve years of age, was charged at the Edinburgh City Police Court on Saturday with lying down between the rails in front of an approaching train on the main up-line of the Caledonian Railway Leith branch, near Dalry middle junction, on the 11th inst. It was stated that the accused and another boy were discussing each other’s bravery. Greig’s companion eventually dared the accused to lie down between the rails and let a train pass over him, and bet a penny that he would not. Greig immediately lay down on the track in front of an approaching train, but, fortunately, the engine-driver noticed the lad and pulled up in time. The train was not going at full speed, owing to the signal being against it, otherwise the driver could not have drawn up. The Sheriff ordered Greig to receive four stripes with the birch rod. 

– Scotsman, Monday 27th November, 1905, p.6. 

   NARROW ESCAPE ON THE RAILWAY. – William Davidson, a surfaceman, who resides at 12 Westfield Park, had an almost miraculous escape on Monday afternoon while engaged at work on the down line a little to the south of Glenesk Junction. A goods train was coming in one direction and the Peebles passenger train in the other. Not being aware of the approach of the passenger train Davidson continued at work between the metals, and some others working about thirty yards distant noticing his danger shouted to him, but the warning was unheard. The engine, which was travelling at a speed of over ten miles an hour, was almost upon him, when Davidson’s attention was attracted by the clear buffer close behind him. Instantly he endeavoured to throw himself clear, but the buffer caught him on the body, and he was pitched against the retaining wall, some distance from the rails, with considerable force. The train was brought to a standstill, the driver and guard alighted and wanted to take the injured man to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, but he declined the offer. With the assistance of some companions he was able to walk to the signal cabin, and from there he was taken in a pilot to Hardengreen Station, where, pending the arrival of Dr Blackstock, he was attended by several members of the Dalkeith Ambulance Corps. Although severely bruised about the body, no bones are broken, and Mr Davidson is now happily making satisfactory progress towards recovery. 

– Dalkeith Advertiser, Thursday 30th November, 1905, p.2. 

Exit mobile version