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July 1907

[Scottish Railway Incidents (1907) Contents]

   FATALITY AT GARTCOSH. – On Monday a sad accident occurred in Smith and McLean’s Gartcosh Iron and Steelworks. A man named Dallington, residing at Smith Terrace, Gartcosh, and who was well-known in Coatbridge, had been crossing a line of railway in the works when he was caught between the buffers of a pug engine and some waggons and so seriously injured that he died shortly afterwards. Dr Andrew, Coatbridge, was in attendance on the unfortunate man, whose daughter is employed in the doctor’s surgery. Much sympathy is expressed for the widow and family of the deceased. 

– Coatbridge Express, Wednesday 3rd July, 1907, p.2. 

   SERIOUS RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – Cambuslang railway station was the scene of a shocking accident shortly before nine o’clock on Saturday morning. A porter named Alexander Millar, twenty-four years of age, residing in lodgings at 37 Park Street, Cambuslang, was in the act of stepping off the down platform to attend to the 8-25 passenger train from Glasgow to Carstairs when he was knocked down by one of three light engines which came along on the down line. Falling down between the engine and the platform he was severely crushed, and after being attended by Dr T. D. Laird, was removed to Glasgow by the next passenger train. At the Central Station an ambulance waggon which was in waiting conveyed the injured porter to the Royal Infirmary. The head and left thigh were badly crushed, and on Saturday night Millar’s condition was extremely critical. Millar, who came to Cambuslang only a few weeks ago, is an ex-soldier and a native of Banffshire. 

– Hamilton Herald and Lanarkshire Weekly News, Wednesday 10th July, 1907, p.3. 





   The goods yard of the North British Railway Company at Dundee was on Tuesday forenoon the scene of a fatal accident. About nine o’clock John Cunningham, engine-driver, 260 Blackness Road, was attempting to mount a locomotive, which was engaged shunting a mineral train, at a point about 60 yards west of the central cabin, when he missed his footing, and slipped off the footplate. Cunningham fell to the ground on the six-foot way, but, unfortunately, his legs failed to clear the rails, and the three wheels of the engine passed over them, taking off the right foot at the ankle and almost severing the left leg at the knee. His fellow-employees at once rendered first aid to the unfortunate man, and he was afterwards removed to the Infirmary in the ambulance van. His condition from the first, however, was hopeless, and he succumbed to his injuries in the course of the forenoon. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Thursday 11th July, 1907, p.5. 

   FATAL RAILWAY ACCIDENT AT GREENOCK. – A serious railway accident, involving the death of an engine driver and serious injuries to a fireman, occurred yesterday in Overton district of Greenock. The line on which the accident took place is a branch line about a mile in length, which leaves the Wemyss Bay Railway some two hundred yards to the east of Upper Greenock Station, and is entirely at the service of the Overton Paper Mills for their traffic. Throughout its length, the line is steeply uphill. At 3.15 yesterday afternoon an engine and three loaded waggons left the Upper Greenock Goods Station for the mills, the engine pushing the waggons in front. Ten minutes later the train, when close to its journey’s end, was stopped at a crossing, and when the brakes had been removed and steam given for the purpose of going ahead, the vehicles began moving downhill. The brakesman applied sprags to the wheels of the waggons, but these had no effect, being instantly splintered like matchwood. Gradually gaining momentum, the heavy mass careered down the steep gradient, gaining terrific speed, and crashing into the dead end east of the station. Mounting the obstruction, the engine embedded itself in the bank to the east of the line for a distance of sixty feet, while the waggons were derailed and scattered on each side of the buffers. When the railway officials reached the scene of the disaster they found the driver, Edward Steel, and the fireman, William McEwan, lying at the side of the road close to the buffers, both fearfully injured and unconscious. The men were conveyed with all speed to the Greenock Infirmary, where the driver died within an hour of his admission. At a late hour last night the fireman was unconscious, and from the injuries he had received his condition was considered precarious. Steel was about sixty years of age, and had a long connection with the railway, having served for many years as driver. He resided in Greenock, as did also McEwan, who had only that day been promoted from the position of cleaner to that of fireman, and is quite a youth. Whether the men jumped before the impact, or stuck to their engine, is not quite clear, but in the opinion of a railway servant who was near the scene of the accident, the driver held on to the last. The fireman, he believes, jumped before the impact. 

–  Scotsman, Friday 12th July, 1907, p.6. 





Engine-Driver Killed. 

   A serious railway accident, unhappily attended by loss of life, occurred on the Caledonian Railway near Upper Greenock Station yesterday. 

   Shortly after four o’clock in the afternoon a goods train left the siding at Upper Greenock to proceed to the paper mill. The train consisted of an engine and three loaded waggons, the engine being behind the trucks, and pushing them up the hill. 

   When the train reached that portion of the railway where the line crosses the old Largs Road something appears to have gone wrong on the engine, as it commenced to draw the waggons back down the hill. 

   The engine must then have got beyond control of the driver, as it gathered speed and rushed down the incline at a terrific rate. For over a mile the engine and waggons dashed on, and soon reached, and crashed into, the dead-end, which is situated behind the bag-store occupied by Messrs Muir & Weir. 

   The force of the impact was so terrific that the logs behind the buffers were smashed to matchwood, while the engine ploughed its way through the earth, over the embankment, and jumped a small burn, landing on the other side of the road which leads up to the Wellington Bowling Green. 

   One of the waggons was taken right over with the engine, while another became embedded in the side of the embankment, and the third waggon remained on the railway level. 

   The engine-driver, a widower named Edward Steel, who resided at 13 Laurieston Street, Greenock, was so seriously injured that he died shortly afterwards. The fireman, named McEwan, who jumped from the engine before the crash, was somewhat badly hurt, and was taken to the Infirmary. A brakesman, who also jumped from the train, escaped with slight injuries. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Friday 12th July, 1907, p.4. 

   CARTER FATALLY INJURED. – A shocking accident, which unfortunately terminated fatally, occurred at Tayport Railway Station shortly after midday on Monday. The victim was Robert Keay, carter, Pond Lane, Tayport, a man of about sixty years of age, in the employment of Messrs James Donaldson & Sons, timber merchants, Tayport Sawmills. He was engaged unloading a waggon of wood at one of the railway sidings, when several empty waggons were shunted into the siding. Keay was evidently unaware of the approach of the waggons, and the force of their impact with the waggon on which he was at work caused him to overbalance and fall on to the metals below. One of the wheels passed over both his legs, and Dr Orr and Dr Veitch, who were immediately summoned, ordered his removal to Dundee Infirmary. He was admitted to the Infirmary at a quarter-past one, but was in too precarious a condition to allow of the amputation of his left leg, which was most seriously injured by the accident. Keay passed away shortly before three o’clock in the afternoon, death being due to shock. 

– Broughty Ferry Guide and Advertiser, Friday 12th July, 1907, p.2. 

   In a shopkeeper’s window in Main Street, there are two fine photos of the engine and tender which were taken about an hour after the accident on the Upper Greenock Branch Railway. 


   During the excitement which followed on the accident near Upper Greenock Station on Thursday a report got up and was freely sent round among the crowd which gathered that two men were buried under the fallen engine. This statement was believed by many, and not a few persons got into a state bordering on frenzy. 

   The lamentable mishap at Upper Greenock Station this week recalls in some respects the accident which took place a few years ago at Inchgreen. On that occasion the driver of an engine, under the erroneous impression that he was on the main line to Glasgow, drove at considerable speed into the G. and S.-W.’s branch line at Inchgreen, with the result that the locomotive was derailed and four lives lost. 

– Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, Saturday 13th July, 1907, p.3. 

  RAILWAY FATALITY NEAR MONTROSE. – A sad fatality occurred at Dubton Station, on the Caledonian Railway, near Montrose, yesterday afternoon. The victim was the head porter at the station, David Bell, a married man, who belonged to the district. Bell had just finished placing the mail bags on the “arm” a few hundred yards north of the station, and was returning when he was knocked down by the engine of a special fish train travelling in the same direction. The unfortunate man received terrible injuries, and, although taken with the utmost despatch to Montrose Royal Infirmary, he died shortly after admission. Deceased leaves a widow and a young family of six. 

– Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, Thursday 18th July, 1907, p.3. 

   BOY KILLED ON THE RAILWAY AT BARRHEAD. – A sad fatality occurred on the Barrhead and Kilmarnock Joint Line near the point where it crosses Blackbyres Wood on Wednesday evening. A number of boys had been bathing in a little pond in a field near the railway line. After bathing and dressing, one of the boys – Thomas McCormack, 13 years of age, son of Thomas McCormack, 46 Glasgow Road, made to cross the line on his way home, and in some way failed to notice the approach of the 8.30 down express. He was instantly struck by the train, and his body was carried a distance of about 400 yards down the line. His companion immediately raised the alarm, and the body was afterwards found on the up line in a terribly mutilated condition. The remains were taken to Nitshill Station, and were afterwards conveyed to his parents house. Two brothers of the unfortunate lad were with him at the time of the sad occurrence. The fatality has evoked a widespread feeling of sorrow throughout the district, and much sympathy is expressed for the parents of the boy. 

– Barrhead News, Friday 19th July, 1907, p.3. 

   BIRTH IN A TRAIN. – An unusual incident occurred in an excursion train returning from Ayr to Stirling late on Saturday night. Between Larbert and Plean a young woman belonging to the latter place gave birth to a child. Assistance was rendered by the station officials at Plean. 


   KILLED. – A railway surfaceman named Thomas Hewitt, residing in St Mary’s Wynd, Stirling, received injuries on the Castle Rankie branch railway, Denny, on Tuesday from which he died in Denny Cottage Hospital half an hour after admission. 

– Kirkintilloch Gazette, Friday 19th July, 1907, p.2. 




   At Dubton Junction, near Montrose, on Wednesday, David Bell, head porter, was fatally injured by being struck down by an excursion train. Bell, who was 42 years of age, had occupied the position of head porter at Dubton for a number of years, and it was in the performance of his duties that he met his end. About five o’clock in the afternoon he had gone to the mail bag apparatus, some 500 yards north of the junction. He adjusted the arm from which the mails are taken by the non-stopping trains, and, having finished his work, he was returning, walking along by the side of the up line. The north-going train had just left Dubton Junction, and his hearing being deadened by the noise of the engine he failed to notice the approach of a special train which at that moment swept round the curve at Kinnaber. In a moment this train was upon him, and before he was aware of its nearness it had struck him in the back, throwing him violently to the ground, but clear of the metals. He had sustained severe injuries, the lower part of the back being literally crushed besides a severe scalp wound, and was no more than alive when picked up. In an unconscious condition he was taken by train to Montrose, and while being conveyed to the Royal Infirmary he expired. Deceased, who was very well known, not only in the railway service, but also in the surrounding district, leaves a widow and six children. 

– Montrose, Arbroath and Brechin Review; and Forfar and Kincardineshire Advertiser, Friday 19th July, 1907, p.5. 

   96½ MILES AN HOUR BY RAIL. – The German Railway Journal claims that the greatest speed ever attained in Europe by a steam driven railway train has been reached on several trips this week between Munich and Augsburg, on the Bavarian State Railway system. the engines, which were express train locomotives, pulled trains weighing 150 tons at the maximum speed of ninety-six and a half miles per hour. The terrific pace was maintained for a considerable period. 

– East of Fife Record, Friday 19th July, 1907, p.6. 

   EXCITING SCENE – HOW A BRAVE RESCUER WAS REWARDED. – An exciting incident was witnessed at Cowdenbeath Station on Saturday evening. The 5.4 train from Edinburgh was just entering the station when a man attempted to cross in front of it at the south end of the platform. The train was coming at a fairly fast speed, and was only about twenty or thirty feet away, when Mr William Campbell, eldest son of Mr Alexander Campbell, Commercial Hotel, sprang from the platform and pulled the man out of danger in the nick of time. Mr Campbell’s brave action was loudly applauded by the large crowd of holiday jaunters who witnessed the incident, although the man himself repaid his rescuer by striking him a blow on the nose. 

– Fife Free Press, & Kirkcaldy Guardian, Saturday 20th July, 1907, p.3. 

   ACCIDENT AT THE STATION. – Last Saturday an elderly lady tripped and fell headlong down the stair leading to the [St Andrews] Railway Station. She sustained injuries to her head and face. Dr Hunter Paton, who happen to be at the station, attended to the injured lady. 

– St. Andrews Citizen, Saturday 20th July, 1907, p.4. 


   Mr William Macpherson, guard, Great North of Scotland Railway, succumbed on Saturday evening to injuries which he had received last Monday at Knockando Station, on the Speyside line. Deceased was caught between a horse-box and a loading bank, and was injured internally, and had to be conveyed to the Aberlour hospital. He had been guard on the Spey Valley for over thirty years, and was a familiar figure with the general public and with fishing and shooting gentlemen throughout the whole country. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Monday 22nd July, 1907, p.4. 



Aberdeen Stoker Injured at Montrose. 

   An unfortunate mishap, the result of which was serious injury to an Aberdeen fireman, occurred on the N.B. Railway ay Montrose late last night. Leaving Dundee about nine o’clock on her return journey, and Aberdeen excursion train reached Montrose about twenty minutes past ten o’clock, and here a stop was made to replenish the water tanks of the engine. 

   To save time on the journey the fireman, John Porter, who resides at 334 Hargate, Aberdeen, mounted the tender in order to catch the leather pipe leading from the water tank, and as he did so sustained the accident. Going dead slow the engine passed under the bridge spanning the line at the north end of the station, and when the tender came underneath Porter was struck on the head by the wood work. He was flung down among the coals, and when lifted out was found to have received severe injuries. From a gash over the left eye blood flowed, and he complained of pains in the back. After receiving a temporary dressing from the railway policeman, David Pert, Porter was sent to the Infirmary, and there attended to by Dr Herle. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Tuesday 23rd July, 1907, p.5. 

   A FRIGHTENED HORSE BADLY INJURED. – An accident of a very alarming character took place at the [Ellon] Railway Station yesterday forenoon, on the arrival of the 10.40 train from Aberdeen. The pipe band from Oakbank School had detrained, and on forming up, commenced to play. Two horses yoked to a ‘bus took fright, and wheeled round about – one of them rearing up, and in its downward plunge got pierced by a bar of a wooden fence, the spike entering immediately below the left shoulder and inflicting a nasty wound, the piece of bar being left sticking in the animal’s shoulder. The horses were at once unyoked, and the injured animal taken into the hotel stables, where it was attended by Mr Pottie, veterinary surgeon, who successfully extracted the stick. The most exciting incident, however, connected with the affair was the narrow escape of a young man, who had just left the station. When the horses wheeled about the young fellow got jammed between them, and for a short time it looked as if he would be seriously injured, if not killed. The incident created considerable excitement among the large crowds which at this time were coming off the train. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Tuesday 23rd July, 1907, p.7. 





   In the early hours of the morning an unfortunate accident befell a young man named Thomas Bisset, a grocer, who resides with his parents in Heron’s Lane, Lochee. Bisset was an intending passenger with an excursion train to Keswick, and joined a tramcar at Lochee between five and six o’clock in the morning. When in the Polepark district something when wrong with the trolley, and the standard was dragged off its base, Bisset being pinned between the standard and the side of the car and hit on the head with the trolley. As the man seemed to be stunned, a party present wished to give him a stimulant, but this he refused, and, recovering, he decided to continue the journey, and joined the train at Dundee West Station. On the way south Bisset developed serious symptoms, and his condition latterly became so alarming that it was found necessary to have him taken off the train at Law Junction, Lanarkshire. In the station there he was seen by a medical man, who ordered his removal to Glasgow Royal Infirmary. In the course of the afternoon the relatives of the injured man received a telegram from Glasgow, informing them of the unfortunate accident. In the evening a young man who had accompanied Bisset on the journey returned to the city. Seen by a “Courier” reporter, he stated that when he left the Infirmary Bisset was wonderfully well, and was indeed desirous of travelling to his home in Lochee, but on the advice of the doctor he decided to remain overnight in the institution. Bisset is well known in Dundee, having earned a reputation as a vocalist. 

– Dundee Courier, Thursday 25th July, 1907, p.4. 

   FLAX ABLAZE ON THE RAILWAY. – On Monday a fire occurred on the mid-day goods train of the North British Railway from Montrose. The consignment of goods included a quantity of flax to a firm in Bervie. It was discovered that one of the waggons had caught fire between North Water Bridge and St Cyrus. Those in charge of the train shunted the burning waggon into a siding, where it burned itself out, the fire having too good a hold for anything to be done. The loss is estimated at about £200. 

– Montrose, Arbroath and Brechin Review; and Forfar and Kincardineshire Advertiser, Friday 26th July, 1907, p.5. 

   FATAL ACCIDENT INQUIRIES. – At the Sheriff Court on Tuesday – before Sheriff Mackenzie and a jury – two public inquiries were held under the Fatal Accident Inquiry Acts. The first related to the death of William John Shannon, railway surfaceman, Burnside Street, Glengarnock, who was instantaneously killed by a passing train on the Glasgow and South-western Railway near Dalry on 22nd June last. Deceased had stepped off one line on to another to escape a train going towards Glasgow, and he was knocked down by one coming from Glasgow, his head and arms being severed from the body. The jury added to the verdict that they were unanimously of opinion that one of the railway rules was not properly carried out by entrusting the deceased, who had only been ten days in the service, with such important work as examining the road, etc., and they also found that the deceased neglected to observe the instruction of his foreman by not stepping clear of the lines altogether… 

– Kilmarnock Herald and North Ayrshire Gazette, Friday 26th July, 1907, p.4. 

   A NARROW ESCAPE. – About ten o’clock on Saturday evening while a gentleman was proceeding home over the bridge which spans the N.B. railway at Craig Street, Airdrie, he noticed a man lying across the rails. He hastened with all speed to the booking office and acquainted the officials, who lost no time in proceeding to the spot and removing the man to a place of safety. Had the Edinburgh train been running to time, there is every probability that the man would have been killed where he lay. It is supposed that he had fallen down the steep embankment which skirts the line at this point. 

– Coatbridge Leader, Saturday 27th July, 1907, p.6. 



   A SOMEWHAT serious accident happened to the 4.50 P.M. down goods train from Perth on Saturday in the neighbourhood of Lynwilg, in Lower Badenoch, and at a point about two miles south of Aviemore Station, on the Highland Railway. It is supposed that an axle of one of the waggons broke, with the result that thirteen vehicles left the metals, and were piled one above another. It is reported that the guard of the train, Lewis Grant, residing in Perth, has been somewhat seriously injured. He is being attended to by Dr Balfour, Aviemore. Fully 200 yards of the permanent way were torn up. Relief squads were immediately dispatched from Kingussie and Aviemore, but their operations were greatly hampered by the fact that the accident took place in a cutting, leaving little room for the company’s steam crane to work with its usual effectiveness. Traffic has been seriously delayed, and the passenger trains from the south and the north had to stop at Kincraig and Aviemore respectively for a considerable time. The goods trains which should have passed during the night are lying in the sidings, and a special fish train was also kept back. 

– Scotsman, Monday 29th July, 1907, p.6. 

   ENGINE DRIVER DIES ON THE FOOTPLATE. – On Sunday morning Alexander Blake, aged 62, locomotive driver, residing at Hallow Row, Carstairs Junction, died suddenly while driving the engine attached to a ballast train from Carstairs to Edinburgh, a little beyond Carnwath Station. Deceased appeared to be in his usual health when he left Carstairs. A short distance beyond Carnwath he suddenly jumped off his feet, and fell back on the footplate and expired. 

– Perthshire Advertiser, Wednesday 31st July, 1907, p.3. 

   FATAL FALL OVER A VIADUCT. – Late on Saturday night a man, who was afterwards identified as George Logan, twenty-five years of age, a miner, residing at Gilhead Rows, Waterloo, near Carluke, was killed by falling a distance of 100 feet over the Orbiston Viaduct (better known as Babylon Bridge), on the Caledonian Railway. The exact circumstances of the fatality are not known, but it appears that when the 10.45 Glasgow to London express (Caledonian Railway) was near the bridge in question the communication cord was pulled and the train stopped, the first stoppage after leaving Glasgow being usually Carstairs. On the guard going along the train he found that there had been quarrelling in one of the compartments among some militiamen, and the deceased, it is said, had left the compartment to get out of the quarrel. It is supposed that in the darkness he thought the parapet of the bridge was only a wall, and climbed over it, with the result that he fell a hundred feet. He was alive when picked up, and was conveyed in the train to Motherwell, where he was examined by Dr Jack, and afterwards removed to the Glasgow Infirmary in an ambulance waggon, but he died on the way. His body was then brought back to the mortuary at Motherwell Police Station and his relatives communicated with. 

– Coatbridge Express, Wednesday 31st July, 1907, p.2. 

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