February 1907

[Scottish Railway Incidents (1907) Contents]

   WOMAN KILLED ON THE RAILWAY. – On Saturday the body of a woman named Elizabeth McPheat, 45 years of age, wife of Jas. McPheat, colliery engineer, Nimmo’s Rows, Longriggend, was found lying on the North British Railway, almost directly in front of her abode, having been run over by a train about 7 a.m. The occurrence happened a little to the east of the platform at Longriggend Station. She had left her home only ten minutes before. 

– Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, Saturday 2nd February, 1907, p.6. 







   The Highland Railway Company, which has for a considerable time been immune from accidents, experienced a series of mishaps in the Badenoch district yesterday. 

   Following an outbreak of fire at Kingussie Station early in the day, whereby a considerable portion of the wooden buildings with their contents on the south going platform were destroyed, another accident of a more serious character befel the 12.25 p.m. coal train from Perth to Inverness. A short distance beyond Newtonmore Station, owing to some of the couplings having snapped, the train broke in parts, three of the waggons leaving the metals. Both the brakesman and guard received severe scalp and facial injuries, and had to be conveyed by special engine to Kingussie, where they were attended to by Dr Orchard. 

   The brakesman, seeing what happened, had the presence of mind to jump clear of his van, which immediately afterwards was practically telescoped by the impact caused by the rear part of the disconnected train. 

   The 3.50 p.m. mail train from Inverness was delayed for two hours at Kingussie. 

– Dundee Courier, Saturday 2nd February, 1907, p.4. 

   A painful fatality occurred on Sunday evening on the Caledonian Railway at a point about 200 yards west of Uddingston Passenger Station. The victim was a young man named Joseph [previously James] Green, sixteen years of age, a miner residing at Montgomery Place, Newton, whose body was discovered shortly after six o’clock lying by the side of the line at the east end of the new viaduct which carries the railway across the river Clyde. The unfortunate lad, it is supposed, had been walking along the line in the direction of Newton, when he was knocked down by a passing passenger train. Dr Thomson, Uddingston, who examined the body, gave it as his opinion that death, which was due to fracture of the skull, had been instantaneous. 

– Coatbridge Leader, Saturday 2nd February, 1907, p.2. 

   ACCIDENT. – David Scott, 76 years of age, a store manager, residing at Unthank Farm, Mossend, met with an accident on the railway near to the Caledonian Station on Thursday forenoon. Scott, it appears, was making for Summerlee Works’ offices, and was proceeding by a lye which leads from the Caledonian Station to the works, when he was struck by an engine and knocked down. He was attended to by Dr Rennie, who found him suffering from shock, and had him removed to the Alexander Hospital. 

– Coatbridge Leader, Saturday 2nd February, 1907, p.5. 

   LABOURER KILLED ON RAILWAY. – Andrew Oliver, labourer, was accidentally killed on the Highland Railway near Moy Station on Saturday. Oliver, who was a quiet, industrious fellow, journeyed by train to Moy on Saturday evening. After conversing with a gentleman on the platform he set out along the line for his lodgings, near the railway. It is supposed that he was tripped and fell so heavily that he was rendered unconscious. Some time afterwards a goods train passed over him. The remains were found on the line on Sunday. Deceased was forty years of age and unmarried. 

– Inverness Courier, Tuesday 5th February, 1907, p.4. 





An Exciting Incident. 

   A sensational incident occurred at Pitlochry Railway Station last night. 

   A passenger crossing the line to the north platform apparently failed to observe the approach of the 9.22 train, and to the horror of the onlookers it seemed as if nothing could avert a terrible tragedy. 

   When the train was only a few yards distant the man’s dangerous position was noticed by Mr William MacDonald, a night man. Rushing up, MacDonald seized hold of him, and in the nick of time threw him to a place of safety. Another few seconds and it would have been too late. Even as it was the engine caught MacDonald’s foot, throwing him to the ground, but fortunately causing no injury. 

   MacDonald’s brave action was warmly commended. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Wednesday 6th February, 1907, p.2. 

   RAILWAY ACCIDENT AT TYNEHEAD. – An accident happened to the 8.10 p.m. goods train from Carlisle when passing Tynehead Station at 1 a.m. on Friday. A wagon coupling had given way somewhere between Falahill and Tynehead, unobserved by the men in charge of the train. When passing Tynehead, the driver applied his brake, which slowed the first portion of the train. The van portion overtaking it, a very serious collision resulted. The driver was pitched among the coals, and, in less time than it takes to describe it, 10 wagons of various kinds were piled in a heap across both lines. A large quantity of valuable goods were scattered about in great confusion. There were several tons of paper, some of the bales lying in a ditch of water, iron castings, and a large quantity of china, envelopes for the million, bicycle fittings, &c., &c., The travelling crane happened to be returning to Edinburgh after clearing a slight block at Melrose, and was got to work as quickly as possible. The up-line was cleared about six o’clock, whereby the 1.30 a.m. express from Carlisle was got through, after about three hours detention. Next, the newspaper express from Edinburgh got away after about two hours detention at Borthwick Bank. The ordinary morning trains were not seriously delayed, and both lines were cleared and ordinary working resumed about 9 a.m. On Sunday, the breakdown squad and the travelling crane were sent out from St Margaret’s to clear up the debris, which took the men the whole day to accomplish, and was not completed until after dark, thus showing the disastrous nature of the accident. It is only about 10 days since a somewhat serious accident occurred at Tynehead, whereby eight wagons were derailed, and the line blocked for two or three hours. This, curiously enough, was also caused by the breaking of a wagon coupling. 

– Southern Reporter, Thursday 7th February, 1907, p.3. 

   FATAL ACCIDENT AT DUMBARTON. – On Saturday morning an accident occurred at the Dumbarton joint railway station, by which a railway porter named Robert Surgeoner (28) was killed. Surgeoner had been carrying some coal along the railway line near the leading bank, on the opposite side of the station, when he was knocked down by an express train coming from Glasgow. Death was instantaneous. 

– Scotsman, Monday 11th February, 1907, p.10. 



Shocking Affair on Caledonian Railway. 

   A shocking occurrence took place this morning on the Caledonian Railway at Bardowie, near Stepps, by which a schoolboy was killed and a companion so shockingly injured that his life is almost despaired of. 

   The victims were John Fleming (13), residing in Cardowan, and Hugh Cairney (12), Eastfield, Cardowan, who were on their way to school. 

   They were proceeding along the line for a short cut when they were suddenly run down by the morning express, which knocked the boys down, and passed over them. 

   Hearing the boys moaning the railway officials hurried to the scene of the accident, and found the little fellows in a terrible plight. 

   The sufferers were taken to Stepps Road Station, and then to Glasgow by train. The boy Fleming succumbed to his injuries en route, and his body was left at the station. 

   Cairney was conveyed to the Royal Infirmary, where his left leg was immediately amputated. His injuries include a fractured arm and a crushed head. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Wednesday 13th February, 1907, p.4. 


   A young woman named Mary Foster, 26 years of age, residing in Wylie Street, Hamilton, met with a serious accident at Flemington Station on Tuesday afternoon. The real circumstances as to how the accident happened are not very clear, but the woman had been sitting on a seat on the platform waiting on a train. An engine approached, and the woman, who had evidently been a little dazed, rose up and advanced to the edge of the platform, thinking it was her train. She was struck by the engine and knocked back on to the platform with great force with the result that she sustained a fracture of the thigh. 

– Motherwell Times, Friday 15th February, 1907, p.3. 




   THE trial of George Gourlay, the driver of the North British express train which ran into a local train at Elliot Junction Station with disastrous results, in December last, has been fixed for 11th March in the High Court of Justiciary in Edinburgh, the charge being one of culpable homicide. 

– Strathearn Herald, Saturday 16th February, 1907, p.6. 





   The mutilated body of a young man was found on the Caledonian Railway near Stanley yesterday morning. Subsequently the remains were identified as those of John Burns (28), son of Mr William Burns, Kinclaven Farm, Stanley. 

   Deceased had been in Perth on the previous evening, and came off the 10.15 train at Stanley to proceed home. It is conjectured that as the accident happened at Burnhead level crossing, about a quarter of a mile from the station, the poor fellow had been crossing the line at that point, and was run down by a goods train. 

– Dundee Courier, Monday 18th February, 1907, p.5. 


   Peter Ewen, a fireman in the employment of the Great North of Scotland railway, fell from the engine of a goods train yesterday morning, and was seriously injured. The train was going towards the goods yard at the Joint Station, and was passing the south cabin at Ferryhill when the accident occurred. How it happened is not known, but when Ewen was picked up it was found that he had been seriously injured, and on being taken to the Royal Infirmary it was found that his collar bone was broken, and a rib had been fractured, and that the man had also sustained other injuries of an internal character. He lies in a precarious condition. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Tuesday 19th February, 1907, p.4. 





Run Down by Engine. 

   A shocking accident occurred at the mineral railway at Auchtertool early this morning, resulting in the deaths of two young lads, and the narrow escape of a third. 

   The lads named Andrew Mackie (15), pit drawer, son of David Mackie, carter, Auchtertool, and John Grieve (17), pony driver, son of David Grieve, weighman, Auchtertool, were, along with two others named Dempster and Ballingall, on their way to their work at the Lochhead Pit of the Lochgelly Iron and Coal Company, and, as is the practice in the district, they were taking a short cut along a mineral railway. 

   During the night a violent snow and wind storm prevailed, and at the time the lads were on their way to the pit a strong gale still blew. 

   The lads left their homes about a quarter-past six in order to commence the early morning shift, and at that time it was fairly dark. 

   The young pit workers were all walking abreast on the railway, and when near Walton Farm they were overtaken by a single engine going in the direction of Cowdenbeath. They were conversing together, and, owing to the high wind and blizzard, were unaware of the approach of the engine. Before they could obtain a place of safety the locomotive had dashed into them. Mackie and Grieve were violently struck by the engine, and instantaneously killed, their necks being broken. 

   Dempster had a miraculous escape. He was also struck by the locomotive, but was sent clear of the rails. 

   Dr Selkirk, Cowdenbeath, was called, but, of course, the unfortunate lads were beyond human assistance. 

   The accident caused considerable excitement in the Auchtertool district, and much sympathy is felt for the parents of the unfortunate victims. 



   A later message states that besides their necks the backs of the victims were broken. Mackie was also badly cut about the head and legs, while Grieve’s right leg was broken. The latter had also sustained terrible internal injuries. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Wednesday 20th February, 1907, p.4. 

   LABOURER KILLED IN GLASGOW. – Early yesterday morning, James Farrell, labourer (18), Kinning Park, Glasgow, was found on the railway at Yorkhill suffering from injuries consequent on being run over by a waggon. He was removed to the Western Infirmary, where he died shortly after admission. Farrell was employed on a locomotive at the dock under construction at Yorkhill, his duties being to uncouple waggons, and it is supposed that he had missed his hold and fallen on to the rails. 

– Scotsman, Wednesday 20th February, 1907, p.8. 

   NARROW ESCAPE. – Considerable excitement was occasioned at Meadow Park, Whifflet, on Saturday afternoon during the progress of the football match between Albion Rovers and East Stirlingshire. It appears that one of the spectators, somewhat under the influence of liquor, had taken it into his head to leave the field by crossing the railway. On going over the fence he fell down the embankment while a train was approaching. Fortunately the engine driver had noticed the incident and he promptly brought the train to a standstill. As it was the man was slightly hurt by the fall. Nearly all the spectators rushed to the scene of the accident, but when it was ascertained that the man had escaped they returned to the field in order to witness the closing ten minutes of the game. 

– Coatbridge Express. Wednesday 20th February, 1907, p.2. 



   Some idea of the severity of the gale may be gathered from the fact that a porter in the employment of the Great North of Scotland Railway Company at Ballater Station was blown in front of a goods train and run over. The man, James Angus, 40 years of age, was engaged in shunting operations, and while traversing the line in front of a goods train was lifted off his feet and hurled in front of the approaching engine. Before the driver of the engine could pull up, and before Angus had time to scramble to his feet, the engine was upon him, and passed over his right foot. When picked up, the man was in an unconscious condition, and was seen by Dr Mitchell, Ballater, who stated that the foot was severely crushed, while Angus’s head had also received injury. It was found necessary to have the man conveyed to Aberdeen. For this purpose a special train was engaged, and Angus, who was accompanied by Dr Mitchell, was taken to the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, where he lies in a critical condition. 

   Our Ballater correspondent telegraphs:- A distressing accident took place at the Ballater Station on the arrival of the goods train at 6.35 last evening. While the shunting operations were being proceeded with, in the midst of a perfect hurricane, James Angus, porter, who was attending to the points, was run down. His foot was completely taken off, and he was otherwise injured. Willing hands carried him home to Golf Road, where Dr Mitchell attended to his injuries. 



   Two pony drivers were run down yesterday by a light engine and killed on the line near Kirkcaldy. The blizzard was raging at the time, and it is supposed that they consequently failed to hear the approach of the engine. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Thursday 21st February, 1907, p.5. 



Incident at Monifieth Station. 

   A railway accident of an unusual character occurred at Monifieth this morning. The engine of the 9.23 train for Dundee, while in process of being attached to the carriages, collided with them in a very violent manner, with the result that the passengers in the first carriage were considerably shaken. Fortunately no one was injured, but the carriage was damaged to such an extent that it had to be removed. At the time the engine was in charge of the stoker. 

– Dundee evening Telegraph, Thursday 21st February, 1907, p.2. 

   RAILWAY FATALITY. – About 3.10 P.M. on Tuesday last, a boy named Hugh Robertson, 14 years of age, residing at No. 9 Gladden Place, Colebrook Street, Cambuslang, was run down and killed on the down line of the Caledonian Railway at a part thereof opposite Thorn Farm, Bellshill, by the 1.35 P.M. passenger train from Edinburgh to Glasgow. It appears that the lad had just left off work at Milnwood Colliery and was on his way home, but owing to the flooded state of the road at Thorn Bridge, which was impassable, he had been endeavouring to cross the railway, but owing to the stormy nature of the weather he had failed to notice the approaching train, when he was run down and instantly killed. 

–  Bellshill Speaker, Friday 22nd February, 1907, p.2. 



FIRST DIVISION – Wednesday, February 27. 




   THE action was disposed of in which Andrew Scott, chef, 30 Braid Street, Glasgow, sued the Glasgow District Subway Company for £2000 damages for personal injuries. The pursuer on 2d June 1906, when going up the stair from the platform at the defenders’ Cowcaddens Station, collided with a drunk man, with the result that he was thrown from the stair to the platform and thence to the permanent way. He became entangled with the trolley wire, and was injured by an incoming car. Lord Dundas allowed a proof before answer, and the pursuer reclaimed and asked for jury trial. 

   The Division dismissed the action as irrelevant, with expenses to the respondents. 

   The Lord President said the person with whom the pursuer collided was not an employee of the Subway Company. It was said that he was drunk, but the idea that there was a duty upon the defenders to keep all people sober was really a novel one. The next averment was that if the stationmaster had not been reading a newspaper he might have seen the pursuer and might have pulled him off the rails or stopped the train; but if there was no duty on the part of the stationmaster to be always on the platform to pick up fallen passengers, the fact that he was reading a newspaper did not matter. The third averment was that if the engine-driver had looked over he would have seen the pursuer on the rails; but here again there was no duty on the part of the engine-driver of expecting to find men lying on the rails. 

   The other Judges concurred. 

   Counsel for the Pursuer and Reclaimer – Mr Orr, K.C. and Mr J. A. Christie. Agents – McNab & MacHardy, S.S.C.

   Counsel for the Defenders and Respondents – Mr Watt, K.C., and Mr Macmillan. Agents – Anderson & Chisholm, solicitors. 

– Scotsman, Thursday 28th February, 1907, p.9. 

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