May 1906

[Scottish Railway Incidents (1906) Contents]


   A surfaceman, named George Dryburgh Wilson (46), in the employment of the North British Railway Company, and residing at 25 Annfield, Newhaven, was instantaneously killed this morning in the tunnel between Junction Bridge and North Leith Stations, where he was knocked down and run over by an engine. It appears he had been at work on the metals with other three men. A great amount of smoke hung about the tunnel after a passenger train had gone through on the way to the Waverley, and they stopped work until it would clear away. It was thought the deceased, finding himself on the side opposite to his companions, was crossing over to join them. He was then knocked down by a light engine, which run over his abdomen, almost cutting the body in two. The deceased was unmarried. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Tuesday 1st May, 1906, p.2. 

   RAILWAY GUARD INJURED. – A somewhat mysterious railway accident occurred at Plains Station on Monday night. John Brown, railway passenger guard, 49 Ronald Street, was in charge of the 10 p.m. train leaving Sunnyside for Caldercruix on Monday. He gave the engine driver the signal at Caldercruix and the train steamed on to Plains where the passengers left the train. Here the engine driver waited in vain for the signal to start, and along with the station-master, proceeded to the guard’s van only to find that no guard was to be seen. They then looked along the line and discovered something dark lying at the end of the platform. On approaching the spot they discovered Brown in a suffering condition. He was assisted into the train and taken on to Sunnyside Station where medical aid was summoned by Mr Beaty, station-master. The man was found to be suffering from a cut on the back of the head, a cut below the chin, and bruises all over the body. Brown was then removed to the Alexander Hospital in the ambulance. It is not yet known how the man met with the accident. 

– Coatbridge Express, Wednesday 2nd May, 1906, p.2. 

   RAILWAY MISHAP NEAR PERTH. – A heavily-laden coal train broken down near Forgandenny Station yesterday morning, and caused considerable delay to traffic. When the train was proceeding to Perth from the South the coupling of a waggon slipped or snapped, with the result that the train broke into two portions. The driver stopped his engine with such promptitude that the second portion crashed into the first part of the train, derailing some five or six waggons. So forcibly did the waggons collide that two were smashed, while several others fell over the embankment. Both the up and down lines were blocked, but little damage was done to the permanent way. The London postal and tourist trains, along with others from the north and south of Perth, had to be run via Crieff Junction and Crieff and Perth lines. Mr J. D. Lang and Mr E. G. Moon, C.F., accompanied by a large staff of assistants, were early on the scene, and had the debris removed with all possible speed. 

– Perthshire Advertiser, Wednesday 2nd May, 1906, p.5. 


   A labourer named James Laird (26) was instantaneously killed under shocking circumstances this morning in Hyde Park Locomotive Works, of the North British Combine, Springburn, Glasgow. Deceased was assisting a neighbouring workman to stack railway chairs against a wall situated three feet from the railway. The men stood up to allow a pug engine and several waggons to pass. Afterwards Laird was found lying underneath a waggon wheel. His chest was terribly crushed, while his thigh was fractured. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Wednesday 2nd May, 1906, p.5. 

   An interesting “order” has been issued by the North British Railway directors to dispense with reserved compartments for lady travellers. Hitherto one or two of the compartments attached to a long-journey train have been labelled for “ladies only,” but the instructions now are to the effect that these are to be discontinued, and that when application is made to the guard of the train or to the stationmaster such reserved accommodation will be provided. The departure, it is stated, is the outcome of the poor patronage bestowed upon the special compartments; in fact, as one official informed a “Herald” representative, it is quite an every-day experience to observe more ladies travelling in the smoking compartments than in those specially reserved for them. The official was not prepared to admit that this preference was due to a general fondness for the smoke-laden atmosphere, but rather to the feeling of greater security in “mixed company.” Doubtless the new regulation will become general on all railway systems. 

– Kilmarnock Herald and North Ayrshire Gazette, Friday 4th May, 1906, p.6. 



   On Tue4sday evening, while walking along the North British Railway line at Hawthorn Street, Springburn, an engine cleaner named William Kerr was struck by the corner of the buffer beam of the engine of a Milngavie train. He was knocked down, and on being removed to the Royal Infirmary it was found that he had received a compound fracture of the skull. Kerr, who was on his way to his work at the cleaning sheds when the accident occurred, lies in the infirmary in a critical condition. 

– Milngavie and Bearsden Herald, Friday 4th May, 1906, p.4. 

   ACCIDENT. – A labourer named William Walker, sen., received severe injuries to the lower part of his body last Friday evening, while crossing the railway line in Pumpherston Oil Works. He failed to notice the approach of the locomotive, which moved some waggons, and he was caught between the buffers of two travelling tank waggons and received injuries as stated. He was conveyed home and attended to by Dr McLardy. 

– Linlithgowshire Gazette, Friday 4th May, 1906, p.5. 




   An unfortunate and serious accident happened on Monday to the Kirkcaldy to Edinburgh mail, due to leave Kirkcaldy by 11.14 a.m. train. Just as the train was entering the station, the mail bag slipped from the barrow on to the line in front of the approaching engine, which went over it. The bag was a very bulky one, and almost threw the engine off the line. A considerable portion of the correspondence, including newspapers and letters, was cut and damaged by the accident, and the whole mail missed despatch. After the train had left the station the bag was recovered, and taken back to the Post Office, where, so far as possible, the letters were put together, with the result that many of them were forwarded by the one o’clock mail. The letters which have suffered most severely are those for foreign places posted in Kirkcaldy between 6 a.m. and 10.30 a.m. on Monday morning, very many of which were cut into fragments, from which it was impossible for the postal authorities to identify either the senders of the letters or the parties to whom they were addressed. Any of our readers, therefore, who posted letters for abroad between the hours mentioned above, may be able to assist the Post office officials in their work of identification by calling at the Post Office, if they have not already been approached by the postal authorities. 

– Fife Free Press, & Kirkcaldy Guardian, Saturday 5th May, 1906, p.2. 

   James Johnstone Connor (26), son of the Rev. David Muir Connor, Govanhill United Free Church, Glasgow, was killed on Thursday on the Lanarkshire and Ayrshire Railway, about one mile east of Cambuslang. Connor, who was a civil engineer, residing in Glasgow, had been engaged surveying at the time of the occurrence, and failed to observe the approach of a train, while killed hits instantaneously. 

– Strathearn Herald, Saturday 5th May, 1906, p.2. 

   RAILWAYMEN’S DANGEROUS WORK. – The annual social meeting of the Tay Bridge Ambulance Corps was held in the Foresters’ Halls last night. there was a large attendance, and Mr A. B. Gilroy, who presided, expressed pleasure at hearing of so many railway men taking up ambulance work. As one who took a great interest in the Dundee Infirmary, he had always been a great believer in giving help at the earliest stage of illness or accident. They could not disguise the fact that railway employment more than any other called for the men studying ambulance work. They were engaged in a dangerous trade, and it was their duty not only to attend to the performance of their daily work, but also to be ready to render assistance to anyone who had the misfortune to be injured. Reviewing the work of the year, Mr Gilroy mentioned that in the instruction class two members had taken certificates, and seventeen had gained medallions. The winners of the competition among the seniors for the medals presented by Mr Gilroy and Mr W. Waldie, district superintendent, were D. Dickson, H. Arnott, and C. Mackie, and among the juniors, R. Yule and G. Rae, and to these Mr Gilroy presented their medals. Dr J. S. Y. Rogers, the medical instructor, was presented by Mr Gilroy, on behalf of the members of the corps, with an inkstand, and by Mr Waldie, on behalf of the members of the team which competed at Leith some time ago, with a cigarette case. A splendid musical programme was carried out. The vocalists were Miss Minnie Mackay, Miss Cathie Allan, Dr Rogers, and Mr J. Allan, while Violin solos were contributed by Mr F. Gray. At the dance which followed Mr David Dickson noted as M.C., and music was supplied by Mr F. Gray’s Quadrille Band. 

– Dundee Courier, Saturday 5th May, 1906, p.6. 





   Several railways have brought out bookmarkers, which passengers who read while travelling must find extremely useful. One of the best is issued by the Caledonian Railway, and it contains just the kind of information that delights the heart of “railwayacs,” and cannot fail to interest travellers on the Caledonian. On one side of the bookmarker is an excellent reproduction of the Grampian Express passing the Stonehaven golf course, while on the reverse is a gradient profile of the Caledonian Railway from Carlisle to Glasgow, showing the respective heights of Carlisle, Beattock Summit, and Glasgow above sea-level. A table to show speed of trains, method to calculate same, and particulars of the longest and fastest runs on the Caledonian Railway are also given. The traveller will naturally be interested to know at what speed the heavy train will ascend the formidable Beattock Bank, and by means of the speed table and his watch he will be able to find this out during the ascent. Unique advertising of this description cannot fail to have beneficial results. 

– Aberdeen, Banff, and Kincardine People’s Journal, Saturday 5th May, 1906. 

Example of a Caledonian Railway Bookmark from the RSH Collection.







   A railway accident, which but for attending lucky circumstances would have been fraught with very serious results, took place on Saturday night at East Pollokshields, Glasgow. A Caledonian Railway passenger train from Central, Glasgow, for Cathcart had just reached the entrance to Pollokshields East Station when the locomotive jumped the points and dragged the three foremost carriages off the rails. The first of the derailed carriages dashed through a dividing wall, and crashed into the foremost carriage of another Cathcart circle train inward bound. 

   Fortunately the city-bound train was at a standstill, otherwise disaster must have befallen it. As it was, the whole side of its first carriage was torn asunder, and the front carriages of both trains became locked. Miss Bessie Hill, a lady of twenty, and residing at Inzurar, Newlands, was badly crushed about the limbs by the broken framework of the carriages. She was medically treated, and removed home by her sister, who escaped without a scratch. Two young gentlemen, Robert Benson, jun., of 207 St George Road, Glasgow, and John Carruthers, of 8 Firbank Terrace, were also occupants of the carriage with Miss Hill. Their escape is classified as miraculous. The others in the adjoining compartments fortunately got off with a fright. The line was blocked for three hours. The accident happening on a busy Saturday night caused much disarrangement of traffic. 

– Dundee Courier, Monday 7th May, 1906, p.4. 



Accused’s Terrible Threat. 

   A case of railway fraud was heard in Perth Sheriff Court to-day before Sheriff Sym, the charge being against an Inverness man named George Clark, who, it was alleged, travelled from Glasgow to Perth by the 10 p.m. train on 3d May without having a ticket. 

   A ticket collector at the Perth General Station named Morgan spoke to having asked accused for his ticket, and the latter showed no pretence to produce one. Subsequently accused told witness he had taken out a single ticket from Glasgow to Inverness, which he had lost. Witness then said he would hand Clark over to the police, and the latter replied that before he would let them do that he would place his head on the rails and let an engine run over him. Clark attempted to get down on to the line, but, said witness smilingly, “there was no engine near by.” Clark was considerably the worse for drink at the time, and gave witness the name of Mackay, Inverness. 

   Detective Sergeant Macpherson spoke to having had accused searched in the county police office, Perth, and finding no ticket in his possession. 

   Accused in the witness-box said he purchased a ticket for Perth, and had it checked at Larbert and another station on his way north. The accused admitted having been convicted of a similar offence previously. 

   Sheriff Sym said he had once lost a ticket on the railway himself, but he did not give the wrong name and address, and he was sober. (Laughter.) Accused was fined 5s, with £1 17s of expenses, or eight days’ imprisonment. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Monday 7th May, 1906, p.2. 

   On Saturday night, about half-past six, James Sutherland (21), a lampman, in the employment of the Caledonian Railway Company, and residing in 50 Castle Street, Aberdeen, was found lying in an unconscious condition on the fish-loading bank at the company’s goods station. After being carried into the superintendent’s office, where it was found that he had a wound about an inch long on the back of his head, Sutherland was removed to the Royal Infirmary, where his wound was dressed. Sutherland had been placing lamps in the roof of a carriage, when he lost his balance and fell off the4 carriage. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Monday 7th May, 1906, p.4. 


   Lanark, Monday. – Whatever the cause, a strange fatality seems to hover round the railway in the Abington district. At comparatively short periods accidents occur often with fatal results, through people falling from the train in that district. On Saturday afternoon another took place, when Andrew Kerr, engine-fitter, 16 Stock Street, Paisley, was found by the stationmaster of Crawford and Elvanfoot leaning against the door of Stonyburn Cottage, between Elvanfoot and Crawford, situated on the up side of the Caledonian Railway, suffering from severe scalp wounds, fracture of left arm, and fracture of several ribs. He was at once conveyed to an adjoining farm. After being medically attended to, he was removed by rail to Paisley Infirmary. It appears that Kerr had been proceeding to Middlesborough for the purpose of attending to the steering gear of a ship while making her trials. He had been asleep, and knew nothing until the accident occurred. 

– Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, Tuesday 8th May, 1906, p.3. 

   I think it is about time the attention of the authorities was directed to a most dangerous pastime engaged in by the youngsters in the immediate vicinity of the playground. Having occasion to pass through Union Terrace Gardens every day, I have observed with considerable alarm and apprehension the spectacle of a number of lads, of from 8 to 11 years of age, climbing over the wall enclosing the railway, and crossing and recrossing the lines, to the great danger of their being run over by some passing train, and, perhaps, killed. The particular point at which the youngsters engage in this most reprehensible sport is where the platform is, and the distance from the top of the wall to the platform at one certain part is not more than four feet, the jumping over the wall here being easily accomplished. The getting out of the way of a passing train is another matter. It made my blood curdle to-day to see a youngster leaving the metals a few seconds before the arrival of an outgoing train. The matter should be seen to – and that at once – before an accident happens, which, I fear, will be the result if this dangerous practice continues. – I am, etc.,  

8th May, 1906.                                                                                                          UNCLE TOBY. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Thursday 10th May, 1906, p.7. 

   ACCIDENT AT CAMERON BRIDGE. – Yesterday, as the 10.3 A.M. train from Anstruther to Edinburgh was shunting at Cameron Bridge, the engine and a horse-box, backing to pick up a yeast van, missed the points and crashed into the passenger train. The first carriage canted up, and with the shock the fittings were damaged. Some of the passengers suffered from shock, and Mr Houston, of Windygates Hotel, was so much injured as to require medical attention. 

– Scotsman, Friday 11th May, 1906, p.4. 

   RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – An unfortunate accident occurred to a fireman named Moodie, living at Baldridgeburn, while engaged at his work at Kelty Station on Wednesday evening. by some cause he was struck by the side rod of a moving locomotive and his right arm was broken. He was conveyed to the Dunfermline and West of Fife Hospital in the ambulance van. 

– Dundee Courier, Friday 11th May, 1906, p.6. 

   ACCIDENT AT BROXBURN OIL WORKS. – A young man named Robert Munnoch, employed as a clerk in Broxburn Oil Works, and residing at Rosebank, Broxburn, met with a nasty accident about nine o’clock on Monday morning while engaged checking the contents of railway waggons in the works, sustaining a severe crushing of the right upper arm and other injuries. He had been removing a tarpaulin cover from a stationary waggon in the middle of a “rake,” and is supposed to have been resting his arm on the buffer when another train moved up to the rear of the stationary waggons. His arm was drawn against the buffer casement, and burst at the fleshy part. Munnoch, who is presently a pupil at an ambulance class conducted by Dr Kelso, averted further danger with great presence of mind and turned his ambulance knowledge to good account by getting control of the artery and stopping the bleeding, while he gave instructions to the guard who came to his assistance for the proper dressing of the wound. The guard and driver then coupled their engine to a break-van, and took the wounded man to Edinburgh with all possible speed, where he was detained in the Infirmary. It was found that no bones were broken, and we understand Munnoch is making satisfactory progress towards recovery. 

– West Lothian Courier, Friday 11th May, 1906, p.8. 


   William Macfarlane, engineer, residing at Wood Street, Motherwell, had a narrow escape with his life. On Saturday night he had been walking along the Caledonian Railway on the way home from his work at Clydesdale, and when near the viaduct he was run down by a train and thrown violently against the parapet. He was picked up unconscious, and was found to be suffering from fracture of the skull. 

– Motherwell Times, Friday 11th May, 1906, p.3. 

   SERIOUS ACCIDENT AT ALEXANDRIA. – At Alexandria Station, about ten o’clock last night, William Wilson Cross, Starksland, Oldkilpatrick, met with a serious accident. Cross had intended to travel by the 9.54 train from Alexandria, and while attempting to cross the rails to catch that train he was knocked down by the engine of a Rutherglen train. His skull was fractured, his right thigh broken, and his right arm was severed at the elbow. He was removed to the Western Infirmary, Glasgow. Cross is employed with the Clyde Trust at Dalmuir. 

– Scotsman, Thursday 17th May, 1906, p.6. 

   REMARKABLE ESCAPE OF A RUNAWAY CARRIAGE. – On Friday afternoon an incident connected with a runaway horse occurred here, which fortunately, had no serious consequences, but which might very simply have involved injury and loss to those immediately concerned, while it also threatened danger, and that from what might reasonably be considered a very unexpected quarter, to the travelling railway public. A horse and four-wheeled wagonette, belonging to Galashiels, were standing in front of the Hotel, and the only occupant for the time being was a boy of about twelve years of age, who was seated on the front. It is stated that he was observed to be playing himself with the reins and letting them fall on the horse’s back, but whatever was the cause, the horse started of its own accord, and turning the conveyance round itself went off at the gallop towards the station, about 400 yards distant. The road is not a straight one, but it covered the distance at full gallop and in safety, the boy holding on to his seat. After entering the large gateway, the horse essayed what no driver could possibly have done at the speed, viz., to go through the smaller gate leading to the platform. Thus the horse negotiated satisfactorily, but the nave of the right fore wheel caught upon the gate “stop,” which, giving way, afforded sufficient clearance for the hind wheels. the slight check thus received, however, saved the situation, for instead of the horse going straight forward and over on to the railway, as it otherwise must inevitably have done, it swerved towards the booking-office, and the same wheel came in contact with the corner of that building. The shock threw the boy from his seat, but he alighted on the platform out of harm’s way unhurt, and the ho5rse immediately came to a stand in a position parallel to the line in front of the clock. No time was lost by the few who saw the occurrence in getting the horse unyoked, as the express train which leaves Edinburgh at 2.35 had been signalled before the runaway put in an appearance, and was now supposed to be within three miles of the station. Luckily the horse was quite quiet, and was quickly led off the platform, and the conveyance was pushed back through the gateway, the posts of which it had grazed in entrance, but this had only been done when the train dashed through the station. Had the runaway reached the railway the consequences, after a clean drop of three feet from the platform, at the speed at which it was travelling, could not have failed to be disastrous, apart altogether from the element of danger involved in the fast approaching train. As it was, the damages were trifling, the most important being injury to the front springs of the vehicle. 

– Southern Reporter, Thursday 17th May, 1906, p.3. 




   The rainfall throughout Friday night and Saturday forenoon was the heaviest experienced at East Linton for many years. The embankment at what is known as Markle Cut, about a mile from East Linton, gave way, in consequence, it is supposed, of the great weight of water collected in a field above the embankment. The earth fell on to the up main line, and nothing was known of the slip till the approach of the 9.17 A.M. train from Edinburgh. But for the alertness of the driver, no doubt a most serious accident would have occurred. Noticing the obstruction from some distance, the driver applied the brakes, and managed to pull up the train when almost within a yard of it. Information of the accident was at once sent to Mr Tennant, station agent, East Linton, who lost no time in making arrangements for the working of the trains on the down line. The express leaving Edinburgh at 10 A.M. was the first train to go over the down line, it being about half-an-hour late, the following trains, however, being well up to scheduled time. A large squad of surfacemen were soon on the spot, and after a great deal of hard work the obstructed line was cleared again for traffic at 4.50 P.M. Subsequently the workmen proceeded to Cockburnspath, where a more serious subsidence had occurred. 

– Scotsman, Monday 21st May, 1906, p.7. 

   ACCIDENT AT BALLINDALLOCH STATION. – A young man named [William] McGillivray, platform porter at Ballindalloch Railway Station, was seriously hurt on Friday. He was engaged in shunting operations on the train which arrives from Craigellachie at 1.20 p.m. and on jumping off a waggon in motion slipped and fell, badly damaging his head and shoulder. He was conveyed to Aberdeen Infirmary in charge of Dr Skinner. 

– Banffshire Journal and General Advertiser, Tuesday 22nd May, 1906, p.7. 





   A somewhat serious railway accident is reported from Brechin. Last night two trains collided at the bridge immediately to the east of the station, much damage being done to a goods train. 

   The signal was given shortly after five o’clock for the Edzell passenger train to continue its journey, but it was not observed that a goods train was performing shunting operations. The two came into violent contact at the bridge, four trucks being telescoped and thrown off the rails. One truck was completely overturned, while another was carried into the air right on the top. Fortunately the speed of the train prevented what might have been a serious disaster. The speed is given at about ten miles an hour, and this undoubtedly saved the lives of the passengers. 

   As it was, they were tossed from one side to the other. One old man, Hugh Harris, belonging to Montrose, was on his way to Edzell Convalescent Home. He was thrown violently on to the floor, and suffered much from shock. When the passenger train had been taken back to Brechin Dr Anderson was summoned, and propped him up in the seat. After being attended to, he was placed under the care of an Edzell gentleman, and later conveyed to the Home. 


   In conversation with our representative, who was in the station at the time of the occurrence, several of the passengers declared that they thought the whole train had been wrecked, so great was the shock. they were dashed from side to side, and one woman said that when she regained consciousness her husband was lying on the seat, while she was lying on the floor. The buffers of the engine were completely smashed, while one of the lines was blocked for a considerable distance. Fortunately there was room to let other trains out and in, so that there was little delay in the traffic. 

   The sound of the meeting trains was heard from a long distance, and very quickly a large crowd congregated in the vicinity. there was much excitement among the spectators, who were anxious to know the full extent of the damage. 

   A breakdown gang was soon on the scene, and used their utmost efforts to have the debris cleared away. 

– Dundee Courier, Friday 25th May, 1906, p.5. 

   ALARMING OCCURRENCE AT DALMENY STATION. – A very serious, if not fatal accident, was narrowly averted at Dalmeny Station on Tuesday forenoon. On arrival of the 9.47 train from Edinburgh, an elderly man attempted to alight while the train was still in motion. The man stepped on to the platform in the opposite direction to that in which the train was moving. He was thrown down, and was falling between the train and the platform when an Edinburgh gentleman (Mr Thomas M. Tait, 29 Scotland Street) leaned out of the open door of the compartment and seized the man by the arm, and thus supported him till the train stopped. 

– Linlithgowshire Gazette, Friday 25th May, 1906, p.8. 

   MAN KILLED. – Early on Wednesday morning the body of a man was found on the Caledonian Railway about 200 yards west of Cleghorn Station. It is thought the deceased had been knocked down by the 9.8 express from Glasgow to Carlisle, as, when the train reached Carlisle, part of the man’s clothing was found on the front of the engine. The railway authorities at once commenced a search, and the body was found about 2 a.m. at the place mentioned. Deceased appears to have been between 30 and 40 years of age, and of the vagrant class. The body is terribly mangled and identification will be almost impossible. Four pawn-tickets were found in the deceased’s pocket, three issued at Hamilton in the month of February last, two bearing the name Hugh Kelly and the other Hugh Kennedy, and one issued at Armagh, with the name John Burns. 

– Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, Saturday 26th May, 1906, p.6. 

   COAL WAGGONS DAMAGED. – An accident occurred on Friday evening at Innerleven sidings, resulting in heavy damage to waggons. A train of 16 trucks, with an engine at the rear, was proceeding down the steep incline of the mineral line from Leven Pitt to the dock, when, owing to the slippery state of the metals caused by the rain, the engine failed to check the speed, and gathering momentum as it crossed the overhead bridge which spans the road between Methil and Innerleven, the train dashed with great force into loaded coal waggons in Innerleven siding, piling them one above the other, thirty feet high. Eight waggons were smashed and the coal strewn in all directions, besides damage to the line. The damage to rolling stock will amount to from £600 to £700. 

– Leven Advertiser & Wemyss Gazette, Thursday 31st May, 1906, p.3. 

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