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October 1907

[Scottish Railway Incidents (1907) Contents]











   An accident of a serious nature took place near Sunnyside Station, Coatbridge, on the North British Railway, last night shortly after nine o’clock, resulting in injuries to about fifty passengers. 

   In connection with the Glasgow holiday an excursion train was run to Portobello. 

   The train was timed to leave the Waverley Station, Edinburgh, at 7.50, and was composed of nine carriages, all heavily laden with passengers. The run was a non-stop one from Edinburgh to Glasgow, and all went well until Sunnyside was reached. 


   It seems that shortly after nine o’clock a light engine was sent from Kipps engine sheds at Coatbridge to bring a train from Hyndland Station, Glasgow, and was proceeding slowly towards the station when the excursion train from Edinburgh dashed into its rear. 

   The approach from Airdrie to Sunnyside is by an incline, and the danger is aggravated by a very acute curve at the station. The rails were greasy, and the brakes are supposed to have failed to act. 


   The impact was a terrific one, and was heard a considerable distance away, while the front of the passenger engine was smashed. The light engine run into was lifted from the metals, and the force of the collision drove it at a terrific speed past the platform of the station which was crowded with passengers waiting for the ordinary train to the city. 

   The Kipps engine did not stop until it came to the crossing for Whifflet, 40 yards at the other end of the station. It fouled the crossing to the Hamilton branch of the railway and was thrown across the lines, blocking all traffic to the east and west. The passenger train also dashed through the station into the wrecked light engine. 

   The permanent way was badly torn up, and, as showing the force of the impact, a buffer was found in Sunnyside Road, a distance of 50 yards from the scene of the collision. 

   The front of the Kipps engine was smashed level with the boiler. The engine of the excursion train, which was of the bogie type, was also badly damaged, the bogie front plate being torn off. 

   Pender, the driver of the Kipps engine, and his fireman, McKillop, both Coatbridge men, were thrown on the metals, and received severe scalp wounds, while the driver of the Edinburgh train was hurt about the back. 


   The injured were quickly attended, and close on sixty were conveyed to the waiting-rooms. Medical men were soon on the spot, and it was fortunately found that the injuries sustained were of a slight character, being principally cuts and bruises. No lives were lost in the accident. The injured were conveyed in cabs to the Central Station, whence they were taken by special train to Glasgow by way of Bothwell. 



   The following is a list of the injured:- 

   Fred. Exville, engine driver, Edinburgh. 

   James Fawcett, Easter Road, St Margaret’s, Edinburgh. 

   Mrs Addison, 95 North Hanover Street, Glasgow. 

   Miss Ridge, 1 Crichton Street, Keppochhill Road. 

   James McMannes, 357 Mathieson Street, Glasgow. 

   Sam Wood, 64 Roselee Drive, Dennistoun. 

   M. Mann, shop assistant, Glasgow. 

   Mrs Menzies (widow), 99 Dundas Street. 

   Jeannie Young, 469 Garscube Road. 

   Alex. Dailly, 41 Shore Street. 

   Robert McVicar, 23 Glenfield Street, Dennistoun. 

   Margaret Foggo, clerkess, 706 Argyle Street. 

   Frank Gordon, tailor, 265 Calder Street, Govanhill. 

   Wm. Oliver, tailor, same address. 

   Mrs Robertson, 8 Morley Street, Langside. 

   Mrs Smith, 64 Craighill Road. 

   Agnes Smith, 2 years, daughter of above. 

   Mary McLean, 18 Shaw Street, Govan. 

   Flora McLean, sister of above. 

   Mrs Graham, 3 Polmadie Road. 

   John Taylor, machineman, 87 Parson Street. 

   Mrs Haggart, 4 Alexandra Parade. 

   Maggie Urquhart, 13 Elliot Street, Finnieston. 

   Mrs Oates, 63 Anderson Street, Parkhead. 

   Nellie McKay, 25 Oswald Street, Bridgeton. 

   Mrs McIrnary, 12 Lister Street, Bridgeton. 

   Jessie Allan, domestic servant, Berkeley Street. 

   Catherine Inglis, domestic servant, Lumsden Street, Overnewton. 

   Malcolm Miller, Govanhill. 

   Mrs Neilson, 482 Duke Street. 

   Alexander Munro, Livingstone Place, Clydebank. 

   John Purvis, apprentice moulder. 

– Dundee Courier, Tuesday 1st October, 1907, p.5. 





   OUR Glasgow correspondent telephones:- 

   Up to two o’clock this morning the railway authorities at Queen Street Station, Glasgow were still without any official information as to the cause or the extent of the accident near Coatbridge. This delay is believed to be due to the telegraph wires having got broken in the accident. 

   The colliding train was a holiday special from Edinburgh to Glasgow, and was heavily laden with passengers. The train itself, with a fresh engine was brought on to Glasgow, arriving in the city about eleven o’clock. Most of the passengers came by it, but others transferred themselves to the Caledonian Railway at Coatbridge, and reached the city by the Central Station. 

   Many suffered from cuts and bruises about the head, but all were able to go to their homes. Much glass in the train had been smashed by the violence of the impact, and most of the injuries received by passengers were due either to the broken glass or to being knocked against the sides of the compartments. 

   The driver, fireman, and guard of the colliding train remained at Coatbridge. 

   A passenger by a later train, who experienced over an hour’s delay outside Coatbridge in consequence of the accident, stated that when his train was drawn up at Sunnyside a derailed engine appeared to be about the only trace of the accident left. The engine was very badly broken about the front, the smoke-box being wrenched open and the funnel smashed. 

   Great delay was caused to traffic by the accident, the last train coming into Queen Street Station about half-past one o’clock this morning. To enable passengers to get to their homes, special trains were run on several of the branch lines. 

– Scotsman, Tuesday 1st October, 1907, p.3. 

   Coatbridge, considering its extensive network of railways, both North British and Caledonian, has enjoyed remarkable immunity from accidents of such a serious character as that which occurred at Sunnyside on Monday night. Certainly no accident has yet occurred involving an excursion train with so many passengers in such grave peril, and many hundreds of such trains pass and repass between Glasgow and Edinburgh and vice versa every other week. About twenty years ago, however, it may be remembered, a rather alarming accident happened on almost the same part of the railway at Sunnyside Station. An afternoon local train from Airdrie was on its way to Glasgow, and when nearing Sunnyside it was discovered that the brakes would not hold, the fact being, as was afterwards ascertained, that the Westinghouse brake had not been attached to the engine. The result was that the train was derailed at the curve and ran with great force against the end of the platform. As in the present accident, the passengers on that occasion escaped with only superficial injuries, some receiving shocks to their nervous system. In that case the guard of the train was put on trial before the sheriff and a jury, but the trial was more of the nature of the modern public inquiry, and no punishment was found due to the accused. 

– Coatbridge Express, Wednesday 2nd October, 1907, p.2. 

   FIRE. – An outbreak of fire occurred on Friday night in a coalhouse at the rear of a block of dwelling-houses in Low Comelybank Terrace, the property of the North British Railway Co. The fire was extinguished before much damage was done. The outbreak is believed to have been caused by a spark from a railway engine. 

– Southern Reporter, Thursday 3rd October, 1907, p.3. 



   WHAT might have been a very serious accident, but which, happily, had a fortunate ending, occurred between Helmsdale and Loth, on the Railway on Sunday morning. While the 2.30 a.m. mail train from Wick was proceeding between these two stations, a male passenger fell out of one of the compartments on to the side track. A fellow passenger brought the matter to the notice of the train officials at Loth, and they proceeded back with an engine, but found no trace of the man at the point where he was supposed to have fallen out. At Helmsdale station he was found, little the worse for his fall. He had been trying to gain admittance to the hotel, but the arrival of the engine allowed him to resume his interrupted journey. 

– Northern Times and Weekly Journal for Sutherland and the North, Thursday 3rd October, 1907, p.5. 

   Accident at Dunnikier Foundry – Man Killed. – A fatality of a particularly distressing character occurred at Dunnikier Siding, Kirkcaldy, on Thursday afternoon. Shunting operations were being carried out at the private siding at Dunnikier Foundry, belonging to Douglas & Grant, engineers. John Squire, 29 years of age, East Smeaton Street, a shunter in the employment of that firm, had been using a pushing stick to clear the crossing, when the stick must have slipped. He fell forward, and before he could get clear the engine had come forward and caught his head between the hook of the engine and the buffer of the waggon. The train was immediately stopped, btu it was already too late. The unfortunate man’s head had been crushed almost to pulp and one of his legs had also been broken. Squire had only come to Kirkcaldy a short time ago from Dundee. He was well liked by his fellow-workers, and his death caused quite a gloom in the works. He leaves a widow and two children, one being only 2 months old. 

– Fifeshire Advertiser, Saturday 5th October, 1907, p.5. 


   On Saturday forenoon, John McConnell (twenty-three), locomotive fireman, residing at 5 Shaw Street, had his left leg severed at the knee through being run over at Ladyburn shed. The circumstances are peculiarly distressing, because it appears that McConnell was taking a short cut and crawled under the waggons. Just at that moment a number of other waggons were being shunted, with the result that the unfortunate man was caught and run over. He was immediately taken on an engine to Greenock Central Station, and from thence conveyed to the Infirmary in the ambulance. 




   A railway surfaceman named John McDonald met with an accident at Langbank early yesterday morning, and was removed to Greenock Infirmary. Particulars of the accident are difficult to obtain from an official source, but it is reported that McDonald, who resides in Langbank, was run over by a goods train. He received injuries to the head of a serious nature. We were informed this morning that the unfortunate man succumbed to his injuries late last night. 

– Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, Monday 7th October, 1907, p.3. 


   Sheriff Armour and a jury at Cupar to-day heard evidence in three fatal accidents inquiries. The first had reference to the death of John Robertson, foreman surfaceman, Gray’s Road, Ladybank, which occurred within the Royal Infirmary, Dundee, on 23d August last, as the result of the injuries he received in a railway accident at Ladybank. The evidence showed that while Robertson was engaged attending to his duties in the up sidings at Ladybank Junction Railway Station he was accidentally knocked down by a pilot engine, the wheels of which passed over both his legs. The accident occurred at ten minutes past five o’clock in the afternoon, and he died the same night shortly after ten o’clock. 


   The second inquiry was also connected with a fatality on the North British Railway. John Wilson, foreman surfaceman, Christie’s Buildings, Freuchie, the evidence brought out, was proceeding to his work, walking along the line near Northall Bridge, about half a mile north from Markinch Station, at five minutes past eight o’clock on the morning of Wednesday, 4th September, when he was accidentally struck by the engine of a passing passenger train, and killed instantaneously. 


– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Tuesday 8th October, 1907, p.2. 

   MAN KILLED BY AN EDINBURGH EXPRESS. – A fatal accident occurred on Monday night on the Caledonian Railway near Hartwood Station. A middle-aged man while walking along the line was run down by the west-going express which leaves Edinburgh at 4 p.m. Portions of the man’s body were scattered along the line. It seems he had walked from Fauldhouse intending going to Clelland. It has been ascertained that he had slept in Whitburn the previous night, and had no fixed place of residence. 

– Linlithgowshire Gazette, Friday 11th October, 1907, p.8. 

   DISTRESSING ACCIDENT. –  A young engine-driver, named Robert Heaps, residing with his parents at South Bridge Street, Bathgate, met with a serious accident on Monday morning in the lyes at the Bathgate Upper Station. He was on shed duty, and on crossing from the shed to an engine he is said to have tripped over some signal wires, with the result that a train passed over his hands, removing three fingers from one hand and two from the other. 

– West Lothian Courier, Friday 11th October, 1907, p.4. 

  EXPLOSION IN A RAILWAY CARRIAGE. – An alarming accident, the second of the kind within the past month, occurred on Wednesday night in a compartment of the ordinary passenger train leaving Manuel Junction for Bo’ness at 6.56. The train was gathering speed on the Birkhill incline, when a paraffin lamp, with which the carriages are lit, exploded. Mr and Mrs Wm. Dymock, of Jane Terrace, and Miss Ballantine, of The Tower, were in the compartment, and the burning mass landed at their feet, nearly setting fire to the dress of one of the ladies. Mr Dymock, with great presence of mind, opened the carriage door and kicked out the burning material, the smoke from which was fast filling the compartment. He then drew the communication cord, and the train drew up. The passengers were transferred to another carriage, and the train proceeded to its destination. Except for the fright, the ladies were none the worse. 

– Linlithgowshire Gazette, Friday 11th October, 1907, p.5. 

   RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – On Monday night a serious accident occurred on the railway at Bathgate to Robert Heaps, a railway fireman, employed by the N.B.R. at the Upper Station, Bathgate. About midnight Heaps stumbled into the workmen’s bothy in a terrible state, with his fingers crushed and an ugly wound on the scalp. He appeared to be dazed, and could not remember what had happened to him. Assistance was at once sent for, and the police communicated with. The injured man was found to be so seriously injured that it was deemed imperative to have him immediately removed to Edinburgh, where he was conveyed by special train to the Royal Infirmary, Dr Kirk accompanying him. How the accident occurred is unknown, as Heaps was on Wednesday still lying in an unconscious condition, and the mystery is as yet unsolved. The general theory is that he must have tripped among the rails or on the wires, and fallen in front of a moving waggon. He has lost most of the fingers on both hands. 

– Falkirk Herald, Saturday 12th October, 1907, p.3. 

   Mr Alexander Thain, cycle agent, High Street, met with rather a serious accident at Logiereive Station last Friday night. He stepped out of the carriage before the train stopped, with the result that he was thrown violently on to the platform, cutting and bruising his head and face. Medical aid was procured, and eventually he was able to proceed to his destination. 

– Aberdeen People’s Journal, Saturday 12th October, 1907, p.9. 

   RAILWAY COLLISION AT THE DOCKS. – A slight railway collision occurred at the [Grangemouth] docks on Friday evening last. Five waggons were stationed on the top of the bank, between Nos. 1 and 2 coal hoists, and somehow or other they were set in motion. The speed which they gained caused them to collide with a mineral train which was passing on one of the main lines on the level crossing at the foot of the embankment. Six waggons of the mineral train were derailed and somewhat smashed, and the traffic was delayed for several hours until the road was cleared. The incident caused no little sensation at the time. How the five waggons came to be set in motion is not known. 

– Falkirk Herald, Wednesday 16th October, 1907, p.5. 

   LABOURER KILLED AT WESTCRAIGS. – John McGoldrick, 25 years of age, who resided at Thomson’s Land, Armadale, met his death on Monday night at the sinking pit at Westcraigs, owned by the United Collieries Company, Limited. He was engaged as a labourer at the pithead, and was employed emptying coal out of a waggon for the engines when the accident occurred, but nobody saw it take place. He and the fireman had taken their evening meal together at the firedoors, at eight o’clock. After the meal the firemen proceeded to take a smoke, and on turning round he noticed that McGoldrick had gone. After a while he got up to see what the labourer was doing, and, not seeing him, he called out to see where he was, but got no answer. Walking round to where he had been working, the fireman noticed the waggon was about ten yards away from its proper position. On going alongside of the coal waggon he found the unfortunate man lying across the rail in front of the hind wheel of the waggon, quite dead. The general belief is that the waggon, when he had been working about it, had moved away, and that he had attempted to stop it by spragging it with a fence stob, since one was lying under him, and that he had slipped and fallen between the wheels, when the hind one caught his body. His back and ribs were crushed in, and as there were no cries heard, death is believed to have been instantaneous. The unfortunate young man had only come from Ireland two weeks before, and had just got employment, where he met his death. 

– Linlithgowshire Gazette, Friday 18th October, 1907, p.5. 

Ticket Collector Killed. 



   The up-platform of Cambuslang Railway Station was on Thursday evening the scene of a shocking accident, resulting in the death of a ticket collector, named Robert Smith, nineteen years of age, who resided with Robt. Carson, lorryman, at 53 Main Street, Cambuslang. Just as the 5.2 p.m. train (which stops at Cambuslang) from Glasgow Central to Motherwell was entering the station Smith, who had been in the booking office on the down platform jumped on to the line in order to reach the other side in time to collect the tickets. He had got safely across the rails, and was in the act of stepping on the platform when his foot slipped, and before he had time to recover himself the engine struck him on the left side of the head, fracturing the skull. An examination by Dr Allison, who happened to be a passenger by the train, showed that life was extinct, death having been practically instantaneous. The removal of the body to the porters’ room was witnessed by the horror-stricken passengers, among whom great excitement prevailed. Deceased hailed originally from the Symington district of Lanarkshire, and had been about nine months at Cambuslang Station, where he enjoyed great popularity among the daily travellers on account of his unfailing civility and cheerful, if somewhat quiet, disposition. This is the second accident of a serious nature that has occurred at Cambuslang Station within the past three months; a porter being severely injured in July last. 

– Hamilton Herald and Lanarkshire Weekly News, Saturday 19th October, 1907, p.3. 





   LAST night about half-past six o’clock a serious subsidence took place on the North Birtish Railway about a quarter of a mile from Gorebridge Station. Some time ago the newly formed Vogrie Coal Company (Limited) commenced to run a level towards their new workings for the purpose of carrying off water which had accumulated in the old workings during the past five or six years. The entrance to this level is situated within forty yards of the railway on the up line. Work has proceeded steadily, and about a week ago the water was tapped. Whether this was the result of a bore hole or rents in the metals caused by blasting is not definitely known. Last night a shot was fired in this mine as usual, and the men had just emerged when the water burst out, and carried everything before it. An arched culvert passes under the railway, and this should have been sufficient to carry off the water, but it is supposed that it had got choked with woodwork brought down by the flood. About twenty yards of the culvert was carried away, and the railway embankment fell in, some hundreds of tons of soil being displaced. A huge gap twenty or thirty yards broad has been made close up to the sleepers. Fortunately, the damage was observed in time, and all traffic was stopped. Passengers from Edinburgh for Galashiels, Melrose, and district were stopped at Gorebridge and driven in brakes to Fushiebridge, where a train was awaiting them. The south trains were stopped at the latter station, and passengers driven to Gorebridge. Other traffic was sent round by Peebles. The delay in the arrival of trains at the Waverley Station was not so great as might have been expected. Only the Midland route to the south was affected, and the 9.50 P.M., 10.15 P.M., and 11.30 P.M. trains were sent round by Peebles. 

   A special train conveyed the chief officials of the engineering department of the North British Railway to the scene of the accident. As the rush of water had abated considerably, it was anticipated that the single line will be available for working the traffic by the early hours of the morning. 

– Scotsman, Tuesday 22nd October, 1907, p.5. 


   In the course of shunting operations at Perth General Station last night one of the carriages intended to make up the 6.48 train for Dundee missed the points immediately outside the station, with the result that it crashed against the dyke, a few of the coping stones of which were displaced. Had the carriage fallen on its side it would have landed into what is known as the Orchard Bank, and very serious consequences would in all likelihood have followed. A gang of workmen set to work to put matters right, but this was not accomplished without considerable difficulty, and in the interval fully an hour elapsed ere traffic was again resumed. The incident created considerable excitement at the station. the traffic at Dundee West Station was very much disorganised in consequence of the accident. The 6.48 express train and the 7.10 local were run in one, and did not arrive till after 8 o’clock. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Thursday 24th October, 1907, p.2. 

   ACCIDENT TO A SIGNALMAN. – An accident occurred on Tuesday at Methil Station to James Smith, signalman, West High Street. Smith was standing on the steps opposite the signal-box on the mineral line, and was handing a tablet to the driver of a train, which was proceeding slowly to Buckhaven, when he lost his balance and fell. One of his hands stretched slightly across the rail, and wheel of a waggon passed over three of his fingers, crushing them badly. Dr Caskie was called and dressed the wounds. 

– Fife Free Press, & Kirkcaldy Guardian, Saturday 26th October, 1907, p.3. 

   PETERHEAD – ALARMING ACCIDENT TO A WOMAN. – An accident, in which a woman named Mrs Macdonald, residing at Burnside, Rora, sustained rather serious injuries, occurred yesterday at the level crossing on the road near Peterhead Railway Station. It appears that Mrs Macdonald was coming to town on the lorry of Mr J. Cobban, carrier, and when the level crossing was reached, Mr Cobban stopped his horse to allow a light engine to pass into the goods yard. Mrs Macdonald was apparently afraid that the horse would take fright at the engine, and attempted to jump from the lorry. She did not manage to clear the edge of the vehicle, however, and fell to the ground with such force that she was rendered unconscious for some time. She was immediately carried into a house near the scene of the accident, and Dr Gillespie was summoned. On examination, it was found that the woman had sustained a broken wrist and severe contusions to the head. 

– Buchan Observer and East Aberdeenshire Advertiser, Tuesday 29th October, 1907, p.4.

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