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November 1906

[Scottish Railway Incidents (1906) Contents]






   About 11 o’clock last night, the Scottish express, known as “The London Diner,” which left King’s Cross at 2.20 p.m., narrowly escaped disaster at East Fortune, owing to uncoupled waggons, which had been derailed, falling on the main line. At 7.15 a goods train left Glasgow for Berwick, and in the vicinity of East Fortune two waggons and a van became uncoupled and left the rails, and falling over, caused a block on the main line. These efforts, however, were not successful, and presently the express dashed up. Very fortunately, however, the express got past without serious injury, the rate at which it was going enabling it to brush the obstruction out of the way. Of course, the train did not escape, the carriages being more or less badly damaged through being in contact with the trucks. A great many of the windows were smashed, and the falling glass was responsible for one or two of the passengers sustaining cuts. One of the chefs on the train was also cut by the glass. The express was brought to a standstill, and when it became known how narrow the escape had been there were many fervent exclamations from passengers. The railway authorities at Edinburgh were at once notified of the occurrence, and a relief train was despatched to bring on the passengers to Edinburgh, where they arrived at one o’clock this morning – some two hours late. 


   Before information of the occurrence had reached Edinburgh, however, the 10.50 p.m. train from the Waverley to King’s Cross had started on its journey, and it had to be detained at East Fortune. It did not get away from Newcastle till about three o’clock this morning. When the time arrived for the departure of the 11.15 train there was no definite word as to whether it would get past the scene of the mishap without delay, and it was deemed advisable to send it by the Midland route to Carlisle and from there across to Newcastle, and thence on to London. It was midnight before it left the Waverley, and it was 3.13 before it steamed out of Newcastle, which in the ordinary course it was due to leave at 1.30. A gang of workmen had been early on the scene of the accident, and by 3.15 this morning one of the lines had been opened for traffic. The last of the derailed waggons was righted about five o’clock, and the other line was cleared by 8.30. There were, however, some repairs to be made, and at 10 o’clock this morning there was no official notice at the Waverley Station that it had been cleared. The morning trains coming in were not very much delayed, because of the single line being available, and the outgoing morning trains were run up to time. 

   Our East Linton correspondent wires to-day that the accident took place about a mile beyond that station. It appears the axle of a waggon attached to the 7.15 goods train from Glasgow to Berwick had snapped, resulting in two waggons and a van being derailed. The driver of the goods train uncoupled his engine, and was ordered forward to warn the driver of the express. But for this action the result of the collision would have been terrible. The express dashed against the side of one of the trucks, but the driver was able to pull up the train before the latter half of the carriages reached the fallen trucks. The first half of the carriages of the express were badly damaged. There were a goodly number of passengers in the express, but fortunately no one was seriously injured. 



   Dr Thatcher one of the passengers in the “diner,” had a remarkable escape. A representative of the “Evening News” called on the Doctor at his house in Melville Crescent, Edinburgh, this morning, and found him resting after his unpleasant experience. Dr Thatcher related the story of his escape. “It is perfectly marvellous,” he declared, “I can’t see how it was I wasn’t killed.” The accident, he stated, occurred exactly at twenty-five minutes past ten. He was seated in a half reclining position on the seat of the dining saloon, immediately beside where the accident occurred, with his head against the corner partition, and to the strength of that partition he attributes the fact that he was not killed outright. He was half asleep at the time, but was awakened by the noise. “It was a most terrific smash,” he said, “and I was thrown out of my seat, but I can’t say where. I had no idea what had happened.” Finding himself only bruised, Dr Thatcher rose to find the side of the saloon completely smashed. The saloon was full of splinters, and pieces of broken glass. The lights of the carriage, however, had not been extinguished. There were only one or two other passengers in the saloon at the time – a good number having left the train at Newcastle – and they also escaped without any serious injury, though one of them, a lady was bruised by one of the flying splinters. 


   On leaving the saloon, Dr Thatcher found that nearly all the train had been more or less damaged, but the front part had got off rather lightly. The derailed waggons were off the rails, and were standing partly on the main line. One corner protruded more than the others, and it was against this that the train struck. The dining room had sustained much more damage than any other part of the train. Dr Thatcher thinks this may have been accounted for by the fact that “diners” are usually broader that the ordinary carriages, but he is not positive that that was the case with that particular one. There were not a great number of people in the train, very slightly injured. The almost total absence of serious injury to the passengers may, Dr Thatcher thinks, be explained by the presence of corridors along the side of the compartments. As soon as possible the front part of the train, consisting of a composite van and a few carriages, was taken to East Fortune Station, and the passengers remained there until twenty minutes to one, when they got away with the relief train. Dr Thatcher had his hand cut, and he was rather badly shaken, but no ill effects remain this morning. He says the train attendants deserve every credit for the prompt and willing assistance they rendered to the passengers. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Friday 2nd November, 1906, p.2. 

   FATALITY ON THE RAILWAY. – The authorities at Fort-William were notified on Thursday last of the death, by accident, on the West Highland Railway near Corrour, of a man whose body could not be identified. On enquiries being made, it would appear that the man, who is of the navvy type, and apparently between 30 and 40 years of age, had been walking along the line on the edge of the sleepers, and being overtaken at a sharp curve by the morning train from Fort-William to Glasgow, had been caught by the fore part of the engine and pitched forcibly down the line side. Death doubtless was instantaneous, as the body was badly crushed and numerous bones broken. The remains were interred by the authorities. 

– Inverness Courier, Friday 2nd November, 1906, p.6. 

Port-Glasgow Man Killed on the Railway. 




   A sad fatal accident occurred on the railway near the Goods Station this morning. William Thomas, a surfaceman, and who resided with old John McCormick in Lyons Lane, was run down by the Express train leaving the Central at 8.30 and instantaneously killed. 

   When the body was found it was so terribly mutilated that it was quite beyond recognition, and the remains were conveyed to the Burgh Mortuary. Deceased was 31 years of age and a native of the North of Ireland. He had only been five weeks employed with the Railway Company. 

– Port-Glasgow Express, Friday 2nd November, 1906, p.2. 

   RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – Guard’s Narrow Escape. – A goods train guard, named William Young (26), 8 Livingstone Place, Portobello, employed by the North British Railway Company, met with an unfortunate accident on Saturday. He had been engaged shunting waggons at Ramsay Pit siding, near Loanhead, and when he had finished, he coupled a waggon of coals to the engine, meaning to proceed to Loanhead Station. He jumped on to the side of the waggon, holding on with his right hand and carrying the coupling pole in his left. The pole caught in the brake, and the sudden jerk caused him to lose his grip of the waggon. He kept his hold of the pole, and was dragged along the ground some distance. He was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where it was found necessary to amputate his left hand, the injury having apparently been caused through one of the wheels of the waggon passing over his wrist. 

– Midlothian Advertiser, Saturday 3rd November, 1906, p.5. 

   FATAL ACCIDENT AT GOODS YARD. – On Saturday about mid-day David Scott, goods guard, Portobello, at the Goods Yard, Bathgate Upper Railway Station, had his left leg severed below the knee. He was in the act, it is reported, of signalling up-waggons, and it is surmised that he had been standing with his left leg across the rail on which another set of waggons were shunting, and to which his back was turned, when several waggons passed over the leg, with the result as stated. Scott was taken to Edinburgh Infirmary by special train, where he later in the day succumbed to his injuries. 

– West Lothian Courier, Friday 9th November, 1906, p.7. 

   ACCIDENT TO A KIRKCALDY ENGINEER. – Mr Andrew Bryce, engineer, Dunnikier Road, met with an accident at Paisley on Thursday. It seems that he left Kirkcaldy with the afternoon train for the purpose of inspecting two boilers at Paisley, and when stepping from one boiler to another he slipped and fell, breaking his leg between the ankle and knee. 

– Fife Free Press, & Kirkcaldy Guardian, Saturday 10th November, 1906, p.4. 

   A sad affair took place on the railway at Ardler, a platelayer named Alex. Ross being run down by a train from Blairgowrie and instantaneously killed. 


   On Saturday the body of Robert Richardson, platelayer, Railway Cottages, East Plean, was found lying at the side of the railway. He had evidently been knocked down and killed by a passenger train. Deceased was 36 years of age. 

– Forfar Herald, Friday 16th November, 1906, p.2. 


   A man not yet identified, but apparently a working miner, about 45, was killed at Stirling Station last night. He had evidently been crossing the line by creeping underneath the waggons of a goods train, when it moved off, and he was run over. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Friday 16th November, 1906, p.2. 

   PECULIAR ACCIDENT. – An accident occurred on Tuesday morning at the Railway Station which might have been attended with serious consequences. Whilst an engine was shunting, a horse attached to a dairy van took fright, and backed the van into the moving train with the result that the van was completely destroyed. Fortunately no one was in the van at the time and the horse emerged unscathed, it having a very narrow escape. 

– Carluke and Lanark Gazette, Saturday 17th November, 1906, p.3. 

   RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – Railway porter, named Robert Cummings, residing in Rutherglen, was knocked down by a milk train at Rutherglen station yesterday, and received serious injury, and had a foot cut off. He was removed to the Royal Infirmary. 

– Scotsman, Saturday 17th November, 1906, p.12. 





   A shocking fatality is reported as having occurred on the railway between Kinross and Ladybank last night. 

   As the driver of the 6.37 p.m. passenger train from Kinross was passing the Plains crossing he felt a shock as of having run over something, and on examination of his engine at the junction he found it besmeared with blood. On the return journey with the 7.42 train from Ladybank the driver stopped near the spot, and found a body lying close to the rails. 

   The body, from the indications afforded, had been dragged for nearly half a mile. The head was terribly smashed, and an arm had been cut off. On arrival at Auchtermuchty the driver reported the matter, and the police and station officials had the body removed. Up to a late hour last night the remains had not been identified. 

– Dundee Courier, Saturday 17th November, 1906, p.5. 



   Yesterday morning a rather alarming subsidence occurred on the North British Railway a little to the west of Millerhill Station. The particular spot may be described as near the bridge at Adam’s Row and there the railway passes over a raised embankment. The part which subsided was directly above an old pit, worked probably about a century ago and the hole left by the subsidence was from 12 to 15 feet in diameter. Fortunately no serious accident occurred, but most alarming rumours as to the experiences of passengers by the early Midland express were afloat in the forenoon. A squad of men were at once dispatched to the spot and no great disturbance of traffic was occasioned, the trains during the day having only to slow down whilst passing over the part affected. 

– Mid-Lothian Journal, Friday 23rd November, 1906, p.4. 

   FATAL ACCIDENT AT CARRON IRONWORKS. – About midday on Tuesday a man named Robert Menzies (nineteen), surfaceman, was killed in an accident which occurred at Carron Ironworks, near Falkirk. He was crossing the railway inside the works, when he was run down by a locomotive and instantly killed. The engine passed over the lower part of his body, and virtually cut him in two. The body was at once coffined, and removed to deceased’s home in Larbert. A pathetic incident in connection with the fatality was that deceased’s father, under whom he was working, was standing a few yards off, and witnessed the accident. 

– Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, Saturday 24th November, 1906, p.6. 

   BOARDING A MOVING TRAIN. – An accident which might have had serious results occurred at Aberdour Railway Station on Thursday night. A man named Bruce Bain, a wood-turner, residing at Appin Crescent, attempted to enter a moving train, but lost his footing. While he kept hold of the carriage, he was dragged along for several yards between the moving vehicles and the platform. He was rather severely bruised about the body, although no bones were broken, and had to be conveyed to the Dunfermline and West of Fife Hospital. 

– Dundee Courier, 24th November, 1906, p.6. 





   A distressing accident happened about noon on Tuesday in Carron Works, and resulted in the death of a surfaceman named Robert Menzies, who resided with his father at Lowtown, Larbert. The deceased was at work near the Railway Gate, West Carron, repairing the railway lines, when he had occasion to cross the railway in order to get a railway chair. At the moment a locomotive returning to the works with a “ladle,” after having emptied a load of molten slag, came forward at a good speed, estimated at ten miles an hour, and knocked Menzies down. The wheels of the engine passed over the lower part of his body, and virtually cut him in two. He was at once attended by Messrs Halley, Carrol, and Scott, of Carron Ambulance Corps, but life was extinct, death having been almost instantaneous. The body was put into a coffin and conveyed to the deceased’s home. 

   A pathetic incident in connection with the affair was the fact that the deceased’s father was standing a few yards off at the time of the accident, and was an eyewitness of the sad occurrence. 

   The deceased had not been long in the employment of Carron Company, and though he was engaged as a surfaceman, to trade he was a gratefitter. He was of a quiet disposition, and was highly respected by those who knew him. He was a member of the Howe Mission, and played in the Gospel Brass Band. 

   The funeral, which was public, took place on Thursday, and the members of the band turned out and followed the remains of their comrade to the Larbert Cemetery. An impressive service was conducted at the grave. 

– Falkirk Herald, Saturday 24th November, 1906, p.6. 





   A boy named David Westwater, aged 13, son of John Westwater, Henderson’s Land, Tayport, died in Dundee Infirmary yesterday afternoon as the result of a railway accident which occurred near Tayport. 

   It appears that the boy had been endeavouring to cross the line just as the one o’clock train from St Andrews was approaching Tayport. In the high wind that prevailed he had not heard the approach of the train. He was struck on the head by the engine and thrown clear of the line. The train was stopped, and the lad, being taken on board, was conveyed to Tayport. Here the boy was examined by Dr Orr, who ordered his removal to Dundee Infirmary. His injuries were of such a character, however, as to render recovery hopeless, and he died as the result of a fractured skull half-an-hour after admission. 

– Dundee Courier, Saturday 24th November, 1906, p.4. 





   A sad railway accident occurred at the Carron Docks in the death of a workman named Henry Chalmers, who resided at 34 Kerse Road. 

   Chalmers, who was in the employment of the North British Railway Company as an assistant yardsman, while in pursuit of his ordinary duties at the south side of the Carron Dock, about two o’clock in the morning, was accidentally knocked down by an N.B.R. special mineral train passing. Dr McGowan was summoned, and was in attendance shortly after the accident occurred. On examination he found that the left leg was almost severed between the knee and the hip joints, and the left hand severely crushed. The doctor ordered his removal to the Falkirk Infirmary, and to prevent delay, telephone messages were despatched along the line and traffic stopped. Accompanied by the doctor, he was placed in a van and conveyed to Grahamston Station, where, on arrival, he succumbed to his injuries about an hour after the accident happened. His body was taken immediately back to his home in Grangemouth. 

   Deceased, who was 66 years of age, was for about forty years employed on the railway at Grangemouth, during which time he had been employed by the North British Railway Company, with the exception of twelve years’ service, when the companies were joint. He was the oldest employee in the company’s service, and was held in high esteem by his fellow-workmen. He was a very faithful servant, and most devoted and attentive to his duties. As a townsman, he was well known and highly respected, his genial disposition securing for him the admiration of all with whom he came into contact. Even in his advanced years his smartness and activity was remarkable, but a few weeks ago he had expressed his intention of leaving the service. Twice prior to this occurrence he had been injured, the last occasion being a few years ago. He is survived by a widow and grown-up family, for whom much sympathy is felt. 

   The funeral takes place this afternoon to Grandsable Cemetery. The employees of the Caledonian and North British Railways have subscribed for a handsome wreath as a token of their respect for the deceased. 

– Falkirk Herald, Saturday 24th November, 1906, p.6. 


   Early this morning a collision occurred just outside Neath Railway Station between a coal train and a pilot engine. The tenders of both engines came into contact. They were badly damaged, and several trucks were thrown off the line, which was blocked for some time. It is understood that no blame attaches to the drivers, the accident, it is said, being caused by one of the signals failing to act. 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Wednesday 28th November, 1906, p.5. 







   The railway line at Magdalen Green, Dundee, has again been the scene of a shocking fatality, a young man, who has not yet been identified, meeting a fearful death close to the station there late yesterday afternoon. 

   As the five o’clock train from Dundee West Station to Longforgan was about two hundred yards from Magdalen Green Station the driver felt the brakes suddenly applied. The train was brought to a standstill, and on the driver making an investigation of the cause he found that the air pipe in front of the engine was punctured. Closer inspection showed that the front of the locomotive was bespattered with blood, and, fearing that someone had been knocked down by the train, the driver proceeded along the line. A shocking sight met his gaze as he approached the end of the train. Under the front wheel of the last carriage, pinned across the rails, was a body terribly mutilated and only held together by the clothing. 

   The engine was moved forward, when it was found that the body had been cut in two. The body was taken to Magdalen Green Station, where it was seen to be that of a young man of between eighteen and twenty years. He was five feet seven inches in height, of respectable appearance, and was attired in a dark tweed suit. Afterwards the body was removed to the Mortuary. 

   How the young man came to be on the line is not definitely known, but it is supposed he was attempting to cross the railway, when he was struck. The point at which the fatality occurred is a favourite if unauthorised crossing-place, and it was almost at the spot where an accident of as distressing a character occurred not long ago. Trespassing on the line at this particular section is so common as to become in the view of the railway officials a public nuisance. They state that this is particularly the case when football matches are being played on the Coup, and for one person that crosses by the bridge at Magdalen Green Station fifty climb the fence and cross by the railway line. To such serious proportions indeed has this form of trespass grown that a conference was held lately between representatives of the Town Council and the Caledonian Railway Company with a view to minimising the danger, but so far nothing tangible has evolved from the meeting. 






   A young man, apparently a farm servant, also met his death under tragic circumstances on the railway at Elliot Junction, near Arbroath, last night, and his body has not yet been identified. 

   The mangled body was discovered shortly after seven o’clock by a platelayer named George Kidd [or Kydd] lying on the four-foot way on the south of Elliot Junction, and though fatally injured the man was seen to breathe once or twice. Mr Carnegie, stationmaster, immediately sent for Dr Duncan, but before he arrived the unfortunate man had expired. 

   How he met his death is a mystery, but from the position in which he was found it is surmised he must have walked along the line, probably in the direction leading from Arbroath to the junction. Dr Duncan’s investigations went to show that the deceased had been knocked over by a passing train, most likely the North British express from Aberdeen. He was badly mangled about the shoulders, while numerous cuts and bruises were found on different parts of the body, showing that he must have been instantly rendered unconscious. 

   The deceased was attired in a dark grey tweed suit and cap. He was of heavy build, with a slight moustache, and in age would be about twenty-two years. The body was removed to one of the waiting-rooms, and there awaits identification. 

– Dundee Courier, Thursday 29th November, 1906, p.4. 

   STRANGE DEATH. – Lenzie was last week end shocked by the news that a well known resident, Mr Walker Drew Dodds, solicitor, who resided at Glenbank Terrrace, and carried on business at 219 Hope Street, Glasgow, had been found decapitated on the railway opposite the end of the footpath known as the Lady’s Mile. Mr Dodds was confined to the house on Thursday and part of Friday with an influenza cold, but left for Glasgow by the 2.30 train on Friday afternoon, travelling with a Lenzie gentleman. Mr Dodds got out at Cowlairs, and no further trace of his movements had been got. About eight o’clock the guard of a goods train being shunted van first at the Cadder yard was aware that the van gave a lurch in crossing from the north to the south line. On inspection he found the body of Mr Dodds lying in the six foot way between the main lines and the head a short distance off between the metals of the north line. Constable Hillis had the body taken to deceased’s home in Lenzie. Mr Dodds, who was 33 years of age, is survived by Mrs Dodds. 

– Kirkintilloch Gazette, Friday 30 November 1906, p.3. 


   A VERY tragic accident took place at the General Station yesterday afternoon, as the result of which a shunter named Robert Kerr, residing at Cherrybank, sustained terrible injuries. Kerr, who is a young man, was engaged in shunting operations in the vicinity of the North British Railway Company’s locomotive sheds during the greater part of the afternoons. Between four and five o’clock he had occasion to uncouple a van which was to be run on to a different set of rails from the engine to which it was attached, and when he was in the act of detaching the couplings he slipped and fell in front of the van. Ere he could get clear the wheels of the van passed over both his legs, which were terribly mutilated. 

   An engine-driver named Andrew Webster, and John McFarlane, gasman, at once ran to his assistance, and after rendering first aid had him removed to the Royal Infirmary, where it was found that his injuries were of such a nature that amputation would be necessary. Accordingly both legs were amputated above the knee. 

   A sad circumstance in connection with the affair is that the man was only married about a year ago. 

   On inquiry at the Infirmary this afternoon we learn that Kerr still lingers, though he is in a critical condition. 

– Perthshire Advertiser, Friday 30th November, 1906, p.3. 


   Mr Buchan, H.M. Inspector of Factories, Dundee, appeared to-day in a fatal accident inquiry at Dunfermline in which a female brickworker had been killed at Bowhill during shunting operations at a railway siding. At the close of the evidence, Mr Buchan drew attention to a regulation issued by the Home Secretary to come into force on January 1, 1907, to the following effect: “That, where a locomotive pushes more than one waggon and risk of injury may thereby be caused to persons employed, a man shall, wherever it is safe and reasonably practicable, accompany or precede the front waggon, or other efficient means shall be taken to avoid that risk.” 

– Edinburgh Evening News, Friday 30th November, 1906, p.2. 

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