June 1906

[Scottish Railway Incidents (1906) Contents]

   ACCIDENT. – Alexander Birse, carter, Queen Street, was working in the Caledonian Railway goods yard on Monday night, when he was caught between the horse-chain and the buffer of the waggon which his horse was drawing. Dr Connon found that two ribs had been broken, and ordered the injured man’s removal to the Infirmary. 

– Montrose, Arbroath and Brechin Review; & Forfar and Kincardineshire Advertiser, Friday 1st June, 1906, p.5. 



Caledonian Flyer at Dundee. 

   A new type of Caledonian Railway engine arrived at Dundee to-day with the Grampian train on its trial run from St Rollox Works, Glasgow. It is much larger than any engine that has ever previously been in the city, and exceeds in dimensions the engine which created such a sensation in the district two years ago. 

   It was designed by Mr J. F. McIntosh, the company’s chief mechanical engineer, and built on the Sir James Thompson principle. But the heating surface of the boiler has been very much increased, while the borings and running parts have also been considerably improved. One special feature that can be readily noticed is an ingenious alteration made on the driving wheels to enable the improvements to become as effective as possible. The boiler, being larger in diameter, has necessitated the funnel and domes being made even lower than those of the type just mentioned. 

   The engine is fitted with all the latest improvements, including the vacuum and the Company’s standard Westinghouse air brake, together with steam-reversing gear. The mechanism and levers are so arranged that the driver can manipulate them without leaving the position where his vigilance is most necessary. 

   The tender carries 5000 gallons of water and six tons of coal, enabling the engine to run very long distances without stopping. The ordinary Sir James Thompson type of engine covers about seventy miles an hour, but this latest type can exceed even that speed. 

   The engine was in charge of Mr R. P. Duncan, one of the Company’s inspectors, and was driven by Mr William Drummond, one of the most experienced men on the line. The engine reached Dundee shortly after midday, and there was a large crowd assembled at the station to see it. The trial proved highly satisfactory. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Monday 4th June, 1906, p.4. 


   Arbroath is not this year to be provided with a new railway station. A mistake has been committed by presenting a Provisional Order instead of a Private Bill, and the North British Railway Directors have resolved “reluctantly” to wait another year. Coming at a time when, on account of the summer traffic, the defects of the present building are daily being made more obvious, the announcement will give general disappointment. It means that for many weary months longer very serious inconvenience must be endured. Passenger trains, if more than a few carriages in length, must still be stopped twice in order that the4ir occupants may be safely landed on the narrow and dangerous platform, while men, women, and children will every day be crowded up and down precipitous stairs and huddled into inadequate waiting-rooms. The wonder is that the existing arrangements are sanctioned by Board of Trade officials. Any moment a serious accident may occur, and in that event it will be difficult to apportion the blame. By the travelling public the utmost patience has been exercised, but the delay is really becoming intolerable. A question or two in Parliament might not be without beneficial results. 

– Dundee Courier, Wednesday 6th June, 1906, p.4. 

   ON Saturday afternoon, Mrs Strachan, Lochhills, met with a rather serious accident while cycling along the Deer turnpike in the direction of Ellon. When descending a hill, and nearing the overline bridge on the Cruden Bay railway at a fairly good speed, she applied the back brake of her bicycle. It broke, and, on the impulse of the moment, she hurriedly applied the front brake, with the result that it also broke. Attempting to alight from her bicycle while under the railway bridge, she fell rather heavily on her head, and was rendered unconscious for some time, besides being severely cut about the face. Mr James Lawson, Mossnook, who was following close behind in a trap, conveyed her to Ellon, where her injuries were attended to by Dr Fowler. 

– Peterhead Sentinel and General Advertiser for Buchan District, Saturday 9th June, 1906, p.4. 

Savage Fight in the Station Walk. 

   There was considerable excitement throughout the burgh on Saturday night when the news began to spread that two respectable-looking men had been fighting each other with knives on the back road of the railway station leading to Highholm Avenue. The police were informed of the fight, and the two men were taken into custody. They were Robert McMillan, waiter, and George Black, engineer, both from Glasgow. The circumstances attending this encounter may not be followed too closely, but it may be said that jealousy was at the bottom of it. The two men were taken to jail, and liberated on payment of fifteen shillings each. 

– Port-Glasgow Express, Wednesday 13th June, 1906, p.2. 

   KILLED BY A PASSENGER TRAIN. – On Saturday afternoon James Henderson, 66 years of age, a miner, residing at New Row, Gartsherrie, was run down and killed by the 3.55 passenger train from Bathgate to Clydebank. It is supposed he had been coming down the embankment near Blairhill Station (N.B.R.), and had come with such momentum that he was unable to stop till he was caught by the passing train and run over, the body being almost cut in two by the wheels. 

– Coatbridge Express, Wednesday 13th June, 1906, p.2. 

   ACCIDENT AT HAWICK STATION. – A rather serious accident happened at Hawick railway station on Tuesday morning, when David Forrest, porter, sustained scalp wounds, and was severely injured in both legs, through being crushed against the side of the platform by a passing engine while he was crossing the line. He was conveyed to Hawick Cottage Hospital. 

– Southern Reporter, Thursday 14th June, 1906, p.3. 

   THROWING STONES AT TRAINS. – In connection with the reported narrow escape of Lord Aberdeen as the result of stones having been thrown at the train in which he was travelling to Aberdeen on Monday evening, the Aberdeen police have discovered that some small boys of from five to seven years had been throwing stones at the train from Rodger’s Walk, which skirts the Great North Railway between the two tunnels in Aberdeen. The stones were quite small, but the practice complained of is prevalent in other parts of the city, and cases of narrow escape from injury have several times been reported. 

– East of Fife Record, Friday 15th June, 1906, p.8. 








   A distressing fatality, involving the death of Leslie Nicoll (7), son of George Nicoll, a grocer in the employment of the Dundee Eastern Co-Operative Society, Ltd., and residing at 46 Peddie Street, occurred on the railway at Magdalen Green, Dundee, last evening. The sad affair was the result of the dangerous practice indulged in to a large extent not only by boys, but men and youths also, of getting access to the “Coup” by jumping the railway fence. 

   In company with a number of other boys, amongst whom, it was stated, was his younger brother, Nicoll was on his way to bathe in the open-air pond which is situated on the made-up ground at the Esplanade. The boys climbed over the paling, and Nicoll was first to proceed on the other side. When midway across the line he observed the train which leaves Dundee West for Blairgowrie at 5.35 coming round the bend at a rapid rate. At this point the unfortunate lad seemed to become unnerved. Had he kept on his course he would have managed to get clear before the train came up, but in hesitation he stood on the metals for an instant, and when he turned back it was to meet his heath. Coming from the west was the train which leaves Dundee at 5.3, proceeds as far as Longforgan, and returns, and, although the driver noticed the boy on the line, and did his best to stop the train, he was unable to do so before Nicoll had been struck on the back of the head by the buffer end of the engine. The poor lad’s head was terribly injured, and before the eyes of his young companions he was hurled clear of the metals by the force of the impact. 

   The alarm was immediately raised, and assistance was quickly forthcoming from Magdalen Green Station. Nicoll, however, died within a few minutes after the accident. His body was carried to the waiting-room at the station, and was afterwards removed to his father’s house in Peddie Street. 

   The sad fatality should serve to act as a warning against the practice of reaching the “Coup” via the railway fence. Those who indulge in it expose themselves to the ever-present danger of the passing trains, which, almost noiselessly, sweep round the corners, and it has to be pointed out that there is a bridge across the railway at Magdalen Green Station. It is perhaps unfortunate, however, that this bridge has been placed so far west, in view of the fact that the great majority of those who frequent the New Esplanade reach the Magdalen Green by the thoroughfares which lie a considerable distance to the east. 

– Dundee Courier, Saturday 16th June, 1906, p.5. 


   A distressing fatality occurred to-day at Eglinton Street Station of the Caledonian Railway. A workman named John McCrum, who resided at 1 Sharp Street, Govan, was crossing the rails to join a train for Motherwell, where he is employed, when he was struck on the head by the buffer of an engine which he failed to observe. Death was instantaneous. A sad aspect of the fatality is that the accident occurred in full view of his son, who had been walking in advance of his father. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Tuesday 19th June, 1906, p.4. 





   A sad accident occurred on the Caledonian Railway yesterday evening, when an employee of the company was run over, death being instantaneous. Robert Donald, foreman yardsman, residing at 21 Bank Street, was crossing the down line at a spot about 100 yards west of Cartsdyke signal box at five o’clock when he was knocked down and run over by an engine which was then on the way to Gourock. Donald was a man of about sixty years of age, and was a widower. He leaves a grown-up family. Deceased, who had been in the employ of the company about thirty years, was well known and respected in the town. 

– Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, Tuesday 19th June, 1906, p.2. 











   Last night a destructive fire, which threatened for a time to assume very alarming proportions destroyed a considerable amount of valuable property on the North Esplanade of the river Dee, between Victoria Bridge and Wellington Bridge. 



   Built against the wall of the new Ferryhill railway viaduct were two stacks of staves, which were piled to the level of the top of the parapet. These stacks burning fiercely, the flames and smoke were at times carried across the railway. Immediately above the burning stacks was a telegraph pole, carrying forty wires, and fears were entertained lest the pole should be burned through and the wires collapse. In the arches below the viaduct are stores, and there was a danger of the flames from the burning stacks finding their way through the windows into the arches. The Caledonian Railway Company officials despatched two locomotives to the spot, and hosepipes connected with the boilers played water upon the telegraph pole and on the wall of the viaduct, while a fireman with a hose poured water on the burning stacks from the yard below.  

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Wednesday 20th June, 1906, p.4. 

   ALARMING ACCIDENT ON THE CALEDONIAN RAILWAY. – Yesterday morning an alarming accident occurred at Beattock Summit, a high elevation on the Caledonian Railway, 1015 feet above sea level. Trains have to be assisted up the gradient by a pilot engine at the rear, which is uncoupled by means of a slip coupling when its assistance is no longer required. An excursion train from Moffat to Peebles, leaded with Sunday School children, was being assisted up the summit in that way when, nearing the top, it is alleged that the drivers exchanged signals, and that the rear engine was uncoupled, and the train proceeded; but the engine was uncoupled, and the train proceeded; but the engine of the excursion train requiring to take water, applied the brake for the purpose of stopping at the water column. The pilot engine coming on behind to get on to the up line ran into the stationary train, with the result that two carriages at the rear were derailed. The passengers were violently knocked about, and sustained more or less serious injury. Doctors proceeded at once from Moffat to the scene of the accident, when it was found that none of the injuries were so serious as to require removal of the sufferers to the Infirmary. They were conveyed back to Moffat, and taken in cabs to their homes. the more seriously injured numbered eight, there being two cases of slight concussion of the brain and one injury to the spine. the others suffered from cuts and bruises. The line was quickly cleared, there being very little delay. 

– Scotsman, Thursday 21st June, 1906, p.4. 


   PASSENGER traffic on the West Coast route was considerably delayed early on Tuesday morning by a fire in a Glasgow and South-Western goods train. The South-Western run over the Caledonian line from Gretna to Carlisle, and as the goods train, which left College Yard, Glasgow, at eight o’clock on Monday night, was passing Rockliffe, the station north of Carlisle about three o’clock on Tuesday morning it was seen that two waggons containing cotton were furiously ablaze. The train was promptly pulled up and the burning waggons separated from the other forty vehicles; but there being no water at the spot, nothing could be done to quench the flames, and the fire had to be left to burn itself out. The South-going trains were necessarily delayed until the waggons could be removed, while the expresses and goods train proceeding in the opposite direction were also “held up” by the flames. 

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, Friday 22nd June, 1906, p.4. 

   SAD FATAL ACCIDENT AT DALRY. – A railway accident having a fatal termination occurred at Dalry Station of Glasgow and South Western Railway Company, late last Tuesday night. Mrs Crawford, a widow woman about forty years of age, who resided in Courthill Street, had, it seems, after visiting her mother at Kilbirnie, been travelling with the train which leaves Glasgow at 9.15, arriving in Dalry an hour later. From what can be gathered, it appears the deceased had been in the act of alighting from the carriage before the train had stopped, and fell in some way between the platform and the moving train, getting very badly crushed. Assistance was at once rendered, and Mrs Crawford was conveyed to a retiring-room. Medical aid was summoned, but without avail, as she never recovered consciousness. What renders the case more sad is the fact that deceased has left four young children, who are now orphans, her husband having predeceased her a few years. She was a hard-working, industrious woman, and widespread regret is expressed at the sad occurrence. 

– Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, Friday 22nd June, 1906, p.5. 




   A serious accident occurred on the Caledonian Railway at Baillieston late last night. The train to which the accident occurred was the 8.10 from Aberdeen to Glasgow. It was composed of five passenger vehicles, a fish van, and a guard’s van. It left Aberdeen up to time, and all went well until within a few hundred yards of Baillieston Station, when the attention of the driver of the train was directed to a noise behind. Looking back he saw fire flying from under the train, and he at once applied the brakes. His prompt action was too late, however, to avert the accident. The fish van and four of the passenger vehicles had left the metals and were tearing along the permanent way. Before the train could be brought to a stand one of the vehicles, at the end of which was what is known as a coupee first-class compartment, crashed into a bridge which carries a roadway over the line, about 400 yards east of Baillieston Station. The first-class compartment of the carriage was smashed, and the only occupant, Mr N. A. Coote, was killed, his injuries being of a shocking nature. Fortunately the other vehicles derailed kept upright, else the accident must have been much more serious. Of the passengers in these vehicles only three were injured, although several ladies complained of shock, and all were naturally much alarmed. On learning of the accident, several officials proceeded at once from Glasgow to the scene, and made arrangements for having the passengers sent on to their destinations. 

   With the exception of the first-class compartment in which Mr Coote unfortunately met his death, the remainder of the train was undamaged. 

   The cause of the accident will be investigated, but the railway officials state that there is no question of any obstruction having been placed on the rails. The train was travelling at a moderate speed – between 20 and 30 miles an hour. 


   The following are the names of the killed and injured: 

   Killed. – Arthur Coote, 8 Kensington Park Gardens, London, W. 

   Injured. – William Kennedy, 137 Govan Street, Glasgow – injury to spine; Peter Flynch, Rose Street, Glasgow; Mrs Ferguson, 8 Pembroke Street, Glasgow. 

   On the arrival of the passengers at the Central Station at three o’clock this morning the passengers were met by their friends, among whom was the son of Mr Coote, who was residing at the Central Hotel. He was naturally much cut up at his father’s death. 

   Some of the passengers complained of slight injuries, but they were all able to proceed home, the majority of them in cabs which had been provided by the railway authorities. One young man who was in a third class compartment complained of injury to his leg. Another gentleman in the same compartment was struck by a stone which hurtled through the window. This was the first indication that anything was wrong. There was a grating sensation as the train was brought to a standstill, and on the passengers looking out of the window they saw the line strewn with fish which had been thrown from the fish van. The passengers arriving in Glasgow numbered between 20 and 30, and included several ladies. 

   The permanent way was not very much torn up, as the break-down squad managed to clear one of the lines about an hour later. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Saturday 23rd June, 1906, p.4. 

   CAMPBELTOWN EXPRESS IN DANGER. – On Tuesday morning of last week, a youth named Denis Clark, while amusing himself at the station with the platform barrows, caused one to run on to the rails. It appears that he was running down a slope in the yard on one of the barrows, and another being in his way he left the one in his possession at the gate giving entrance to the platform, in order to remove it. There being a slope on the platform at the point where he left the barrow, it began to descend the platform towards the rails, and before he became aware of its motion he was unable to stop its progress, with the result that it toppled over the edge of the platform on to the rails. At this moment the Campbeltown Express was rounding the corner, about half-a-mile from the station, and with the assistance of two men he endeavoured to remove the barrow, but without avail. On seeing that their efforts to remove the barrow were useless, they signalled to the driver of the express to stop; but at such a short distance he was unable to do so in time to save running into the barrow. The express dashed through the barrow at a reduced speed, smashing it to pieces, but without accident. The train came to a standstill about 100 yards further up, and on examining the wheels of the engine a piece of malable iron was found entangled in one of the front wheels and extracted. The express was then able to resume its journey without further delay. It was extremely fortunate that the affair was not attended with serious results. 

– Paisley & Renfrewshire Gazette, Saturday 23rd June, 1906, p.6. 

   CHILD KILLED ON THE RAILWAY. – On Saturday night the body of a child was found on the railway near Lenzie Station. The driver of a special train returning to Glasgow saw the body, and in passing indicated that something was wrong. A railwayman on going to the place found a child’s body from which the head had been severed on the Monkland branch close to the junction of Garngaber. the child was the son of John Darroch, foreman surfaceman, Garngaber, and was between two and three years of age. 


   MAN KILLED AT STEVENSTON. – On Saturday afternoon a fatal accident occurred at the Stevenston station of the Glasgow and South-Western Railway. A train from Saltcoats had reached Stevenston and come to a stand at the station. Robert Baird (25), who was going to Largs, was crossing the rails at the rear of the train, and failed to notice an express from Glasgow which came through the station. The express struck Baird on the side, throwing him twenty yards along clear of the line, and injuring him so severely that he died shortly after. 


   SURFACEMAN KILLED ON THE HIGHLAND LINE. – An accident occurred near Dalwhinnie Station, on the Highland Railway, on Saturday night, by which a surfaceman named John Stewart was fatally injured by the goods train from Perth, and had both legs cut off. He was removed to Perth Infirmary, where he died. Stewart was a native of Struan, and was about thirty-six years of age. 

– Scotsman, Monday 25th June, 1906, p.6. 





   A distressing railway accident occurred at the Perth Railway Station yesterday afternoon, the victim being Mr Matthew Strang, N.B. chief superintendent there. 

   Mr Strang was attending to his duties at the loading-bank when a bullock, which was about to be entrained, broke loose, and running off became jammed between a waggon and the loading-bank. Screw-jacks were brought into requisition to raise the waggon from the rails in order that the animal might be extricated, and Mr Strang and several other officials were underneath the waggon working at the screw-jacks. 

   Meantime an engine coupled to several waggons engaged in shunting dashed into the waggon while it was being raised. The result was that the vehicle fell back on to the rails, and before Mr Strang could clear himself two of the waggon wheels passed over both his legs. First aid was rendered to the unfortunate man by several of the N.B. Ambulance Corps, and he was afterwards removed to Perth Infirmary, where it was found he had sustained severe compound fracture to both legs. 

   Mr Strang, who succeeded Mr Yule, came to Perth only some six months ago from Inverkeithing. it is feared both limbs will require to be amputated. 

– Dundee Courier, Tuesday 26th June, 1906, p.7. 

   A PLUMBER, 18 years of age, named Charles Bogey [Begley], the son of a mason, was crossing the railway on Saturday at Bridge of Weir on his way to a villa at which a number of men were working, when he was overtaken by a train and cut to pieces on the line. 

– Banffshire Reporter, Wednesday 27th June, 1906, p.3. 

Glasgow Central. 

   The extension of the Caledonian’s Central Station in Glasgow is now completed, and is proving a boon. The 13 platforms do not appear too many, as every busy day they are fully occupied. The extra accommodation which is at the disposal of the officials will increase the facilities for allocating the 600 daily outgoing and incoming trains to particular platforms. Now that the great alterations and improvements at the Central have been completed, I wonder whether the “Caley” will begin similar improvements at their sheds in Buchanan Street? These great ugly white-washed buildings are a disgrace to Glasgow, and ought to be demolished forthwith. 


Cowlairs Incline. 

   On Saturday night and all day on Sunday the locomotive staff of the North British Railway were busily engaged between Queen Street Station, Glasgow, and Cowlairs taking out the old rope and replacing it with a new one. The new rope costs about £5000, and it is generally renewed every year. The rope is required to pull up all the trains from Queen Street to the top of the incline, and it measures when joined up about four miles. Many suggestions have been made tending to do away with this antiquated mode of working trains, but experts say the present arrangement is the most satisfactory and economical. In any case no alteration is likely to be made in the endless rope mode of traction until the Railway Company undertake the reconstruction of their Queen Street Station and the widening of their lines leading from Bishopbriggs to Glasgow. 

– Aberdeen People’s Journal, Saturday 30th June, 1906, p.7. 

One thought on “June 1906

  1. If Mr McMillan had been the line cook instead of the waiter he might have actually bested the engineer in a knife fight. Ah well, at least he held his own.

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