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November 1907

[Scottish Railway Incidents (1907) Contents]





   A shocking accident occurred on the railway between Union Bridge and Schoolhill Station about a quarter past one o’clock yesterday afternoon, James Cumming, a railway carriage-cleaner, in the employment of the Great North of Scotland Railway Company, being run down by an engine, and literally cut to pieces. It appears that the accident was witnessed by only the driver and fireman of the locomotive. Cumming was crossing the line from the west side of the railway to the east a short distance north of Union Bridge, and he failed to observe the approach of the engine, which was returning from the Joint Station to the sheds at Kittybrewster after completing its journey. It is stated that he was looking away from the approaching engine, and stepped on to the line in front of it, being knocked down and run over. The body was so mutilated that the remains had to be gathered up in pieces. The driver of the locomotive immediately, on observing Cumming’s dangerous position, applied the brakes, and brought the engine to a standstill as soon as he possibly could, but he could, of course, have done nothing to avert the sad accident. 

   Information of the fatality was at once conveyed to the Joint Station officials, and Mr R. A. Duguid, station superintendent, and Mr D. McNicol, his assistant, proceeded to the scene with the hand ambulance, and gathered up the remains, which were placed in an empty van standing close by. 

   Immediately after the accident, the commotion on the railway attracted the attention of hundreds of people in Union Terrace, the Rosemount Viaduct, and the Denburn, all of which overlook the railway at the point where the accident occurred. The balustrade of Union Terrace and the Viaduct, and the parapet of the Schoolhill Bridge, and the railway wall in the Denburn were lined with people, who watched the railway officials at their melancholy task of collecting the remains of the unfortunate man. The time at which the accident occurred being the dinner hour, the streets were crowded with workers, and the accident created a painful sensation. 

   Cumming, who was about 35 years of age, and resided at 2 Short Loanings, leaves a widow and one child, for whom the utmost sympathy is felt in their painful bereavement. 

   Sir David Stewart, the chairman of the Great North of Scotland Railway Company, who happened to be at the company’s head office, visited the scene of the accident, and made inquiries as to how it occurred, expressing the utmost regret at the tragic occurrence. 

   From later information received, it seems that while Cumming was crossing the line, he allowed a goods train, coming into Aberdeen, to pass him, and stepped from behind it in front of the light engine by which he was killed. 

   The remains were removed to the deceased’s residence in the course of the afternoon. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Friday 1st November, 1907, p.4. 

   RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – On Thursday evening a gentleman named Mr Shorthouse met with an accident on the railway near Dollar Station. He had liberty to walk along the line to his residence, and it seems that while he was proceeding along after the train, the train shunted backwards and the unfortunate man was knocked down. He sustained serious injury to both legs, and he had to be removed to the County Hospital. His left foot had to be amputated. 

– Alloa Advertiser, Saturday 2nd November 1907, p.3. 

   PORTER INJURED AT BALLINLUIG STATION. – A somewhat serious accident occurred on the Highland Railway on Saturday evening at Ballinluig Station. A young porter named Wm. Forsyth (24) was engaged in uncoupling a loose-box from the engine, which suddenly went off with the waggon uncoupled. Realising the precarious position, Forsyth ran along with the engine, and in endeavouring to get out his foot caught in the rails, and the wheel went over it. He was removed to Perth Royal Infirmary, where one of his toes had to be amputated. 

– Northern Chronicle and General Advertiser for the North of Scotland, Wednesday 6th November, 1907, p.4. 


   A fatal accident of an exceptional description occurred in Glasgow. A painter named Isaac Nelson was painting a sign on the Anchor Line sheds at Stobcross Quay, and for this purpose a scaffold had been erected. Another scaffold was being placed over this, when a North British Railway locomotive came across the dock bridge drawing a train of loaded waggons. One of the planks projected too far, and was caught by the engine, the result being that Nelson was thrown from the scaffold to the ground in front of the waggons. Several of the wheels passed over him, almost severing his legs and left arm from his body, while his skull was fractured. He died soon after admission to the Western Infirmary. Deceased, who was forty-two years of age, and married, resided at 14 Elliott Street. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Wednesday 6th November, 1907, p.4. 

   ON Saturday last a Paisley young man, named Robert Martin, 25 years of age, was drowned at Irvine harbour, and on the same date Mr John Whiteside, a young man of 27 years of age, who was well known in the town, was run over by a mineral waggon near Hurlford, and was conveyed to Kilmarnock Infirmary, where he died within a few hours of his admission. Mr Whiteside was a goods train guard and resided with his parents at 76 Harbour Street. 

– Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, Friday 8th November, 1907, p.4. 

   ALARMING ACCIDENT AT THE STATION. – Last night, as the 9.12 train at Dysart was entering the station from the east end, it came into violent contact with a waggon, which had evidently slid down from the siding on to the points. The engine derailed the waggon, the corner of which tore off large parts of the footboards of the first two carriages, also the handles, while a couple of axle boxes were also smashed. The first carriage was uncoupled, and shunted into a siding, and the engine joined to the second. The driver had a very narrow escape. He was leaning out of the cab when the engine struck the waggon, and his arm was very nearly smashed. 

– Fife Free Press, & Kirkcaldy Guardian, Saturday 9th November, 1907, p.5. 

   RAILWAY ACCIDENT. – On Saturday afternoon, Mr. George Campbell (45), residing at 273 Gordon-street, Halfway, met with an accident while travelling by a train from Glasgow to Paisley. When opposite Cardonald Station he opened the carriage door, with the result that he was thrown on to the platform. He was seriously injured and rendered unconscious. 

– Paisley & Renfrewshire Gazette, Saturday 9th November, 1907, p.4. 

   ACCIDENT AT LESLIE RAILWAY STATION. – A rather serious accident happened at Leslie Railway Station yesterday about mid-day to the passenger train going from Markinch to Leslie. It was when running down the long decline to the station that the brakes failed to act, and the train ran through the station at a considerable speed, dashing into an empty carriage and a waggon at the far end of the platform. Several windows were shattered, and some of the passengers were hurt, none of them very seriously. 

– Scotsman, Tuesday 12th November, 1907, p.10. 





    A shocking discovery was made on the Great North Railway at Kittybrewster Station about one o’clock yesterday afternoon, the mangled body of a man being discovered between the rails on the up line. The body was removed to Kittybrewster Station, where it was identified as that of Alexander Ewan, a painter’s labourer, employed at the Great North of Scotland Railway Company’s works at Inverurie. The unfortunate man was employed at Kittybrewster Station painting hand point signals. He commenced this work on Monday, travelling to and from Inverurie by train. He arrived at Kittybrewster yesterday morning, and during the forenoon was seen about the station painting the point handles. No one about the station was aware that anything had happened until a message was received from Don Street Station stating that the driver of one of the passenger trains which had passed Kittybrewster shortly before noon had seen the body of a man lying between the up platform and the east rail. This information caused considerable commotion, more especially as the officials had been passing and repassing the scene of the accident – which occurred at the north end of the platform – and had not observed that anything unusual had taken place. 

   It is conjectured that deceased at the time he met with the accident was crossing the rails in the direction of one of the sheds, which is situated to the north-east of the railway station. Ewan was evidently almost clear of the main line, when he was run over by a light engine or by a passenger train. 

   The unfortunate man’s body had been dragged about 20 yards along the line, and when found, it was in a very mutilated condition, the legs being completely severed from the body, and a huge gash having been inflicted on the head. 

   The body was removed to a shed close at hand, and was afterwards placed in a coffin, and removed to deceased’s home. Ewan, who was about 23 years of age, resided at 3 Victoria Street, Inverurie. He leaves a wife and one child. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Thursday 14th November, 1907, p.4. 


   YESTERDAY Sheriff Sym held and inquiry into the death of David Lumsden, night watchman, 9 Market Street, Perth, who was run over and fatally injured a Perth south goods yard on the 21st September last. 

   Mr Robert Campbell, solicitor (of Messrs Stewart & Campbell), appeared on behalf of the deceased’s representatives. 

   Thos. Grant, brakesman, Dundee, said he was brakesman of a mineral train which left Dundee on the night in question. He reached Perth about 9.25, and was put into a loop at Perth south. He heard moans, and on investigation he found Lumsden lying partly on the four foot way and six foot way. there were three waggons near where Lumsden was lying. Witness spoke to him. He thought at first he had tumbled, and asked how he had come there. Deceased replied that he would know that as well as him, and commenced speaking about his girl. He observed that his arm was severed. The place was lighted by electric light, and it was fairly clear. He ran for assistance, and got Alexander Greig, shunter. 

   Alexander Greig, shunter, said that he saw Lumsden was very severely injured. Lumsden said he knew how the accident had happened. He asked about his girl, which he (witness) understood was his daughter. Lumsden had that night taken the place of the regular watchman. There were two heavy waggons and a light one put in at the siding, and another Aberdeen train came in with another 18 waggons. The latter came in contact with the former, and this might uncouple the light waggon. Lumsden must have been in the four foot way when knocked down, and had managed to crawl out to the six foot way. The light waggon was propelled a considerable distance away by the concussion. 

   By Mr Robert Campbell – The spot was not very well lighted, and the nearest light was fifty yards away. He had to take a lamp to see deceased. 

   Angus McFarlane, chief yardsman, said he had known the deceased for twenty years. It was Lumsden’s duty to take on this particular work every six weeks. He had no idea as to how the accident took place. There was a good light at the spot. Deceased duties were to see that no one interfered with the waggons. 

   By Mr Campbell – There were sufficient shunters for the number of waggons. It was usual to have two shunters, and witness was present acting as one. There was no rule as to this as far as he knew, but there were always two shunters. Witness himself received the signals from the guard and repeated these to the driver. 

   James Maxwell, electrician, who has charge of the lights at the south end, stated that he left the deceased at a quarter to nine on the night in question, when he stated that he was going away for a walk. He went in the direction of Craigie Bridge, and witness understood he was going his usual rounds. 

   My Mr Campbell – It was dark at the spot where the accident took place. 

   Dr Mitchell, house surgeon at Perth Infirmary, stated that deceased was admitted to the Infirmary after ten o’clock on the evening in question. He had very severe injuries. His left arm had a compound fracture, and his collar bone and ribs were also broken, puncturing one of the lungs. The arm was amputated next day. Deceased died on 24th September from injuries and collapse. 

   The jury returned a formal verdict. 

   The same jury also held an inquiry into the death of Alexander Taylor, platelayer, the Feus, Auchterarder, who was run over and killed on 23rd October on the railway a quarter of a mile west of Auchterarder. 

   The evidence of Robert Morrison, platelayer, showed that the deceased was 65 years of age, and that along with others he was engaged at repairs between Crieff Junction and Auchterarder. All trains between the two stations went at a slow speed during these operations. The deceased was walking along the railway towards Auchterarder when he was knocked down by a goods train from Stirling to Auchterarder. the deceased was walking with his back to the approaching train. This was against the rule, as it was stated they must walk with their faces to approaching trains. The witness did not hear the train till it was on them. 

   The driver of the train, named Leslie, stated that he was going about 25 miles an hour. He was going tender first. It was getting dark and raining, and he saw no one. 

   The jury at the close expressed no opinion as to whether there was any fault on the part of the deceased, and the only precaution that could be taken to prevent such accidents was always to walk facing approaching trains. 

– Perthshire Advertiser, Friday 15th November, 1907, p.3. 

   NARROW ESCAPE AT THE STATION. – While John Ferguson (16), of 12 Skaterigg Square, was in the act of entering a train while in motion at Great Western Road railway station at 6 o’clock on Monday morning, his foot slipped off the footboard, causing him to lose his hold of the door handle and fall between the train and the platform. The train was stopped, and Ferguson proceeded to his work at Singers’, Kilbowie. On arriving at Kilbowie, he complained of pain in his left side, and was taken back to the Western Infirmary, where he was examined by Dr. Gunn, who found that there were several ribs broken in his left side, and detained him for treatment. 

– Milngavie and Bearsden Herald, Friday 22nd November, 1907, p.5. 




   About five o’clock on Tuesday evening an exciting incident occurred at Boghead Junction whereby three Armadale men had narrow escapes. The Northrigg Loco Engine or “Pug” was being driven from Northrigg to Bathville. Those on the engine were William McLauchlan, driver; Harry Gilchrist, brakesman; and Robert Drysdale, guard, all Armadale men. At Boghead Junction the driver got the signal for line clear, but owing to some misunderstanding the points had not been closed, and as a consequence, without the slightest warning, the loco went over the points, ploughing into the earth, and canting over at an angle of about 45 degrees. The sudden impact threw Gilchrist and Drysdale off, but McLauchlan was able to keep his position on the footplate. Gilchrist turned a somersault, landing between a wooden fence and the “pug.” Fortunately at the critical moment the fence gave way and Gilchrist got off without injury. Drysdale appeared to have got a more severe jolt for he was flung completely over the fence. Like Gilchrist he, too, got off with nothing more than a severe shaking. McLauchlan promptly took the precautions to obviate any danger to the engine and then reported the matter to the proper authorities. A breakdown gang from Kipps arrived the same night, and after a good deal of hard work, the engine was put again on the rails. The accident did not cause any dislocation to traffic. 

– West Lothian Courier, Friday 22nd November, 1907, p.8. 


   Peter Inkster (25), goods brakesman, Perth, met with a serious accident at the Nairn railway Station last night. While engaged in coupling two wagons, a wheel of one of the wagons passed over both his feet. He was conveyed to the Nairn Hospital, where his injuries were dressed, but the full extent of these are not yet known. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Saturday 23rd November, 1907, p.5. 

   SHUNTING ACCIDENT AT LEITH. – Some damage was done at the bridge and railway siding at Chancelot Flour Mills, Leith, on Saturday morning by an accident which took place while shunting operations were proceeding. Owing to some misapprehension, eight bulk waggons containing grain were run against the fixed buffers, and a truck and a bulk waggon went over on the North British line, which crosses under the Caledonian line. The North British goods line to Heriothill was blocked until after midday. 


   NARROW ESCAPE AT MUSSELBURGH RAILWAY STATION. – An accident occurred in Musselburgh Railway Station on Saturday evening. An Edinburgh pedlar named Charles Walker, residing at Calton Hill, stumbled against the detached engine of a passenger train which was shunting in the station. Falling between the platform and the engine, Walker had his left arm slightly lacerated by a wheel of the engine, which had passed over his jacket and a bag he had been carrying. Fortunately the engine was almost instantly stopped or the man would have been cut to pieces. The station staff ambulance men and two doctors gave speedy attention to Walker’s injuries. 


   MAN DECAPITATED ON THE RAILWAY. – Glasgow police on Saturday reported a railway fatality which occurred in the Queen’s Park district on Friday night. Two boys saw a man climb a railing and get on to the line of the Cathcart Circle Railway, near Mount Florida. He took off his hat and placed himself in front of a passenger train. The lads informed a signalman who, on going to the spot, found the man’s body, from which the head had been completely severed. Deceased was identified as Joseph Orchard, 34, a musician, who resided at 27 Murray Street, Maryhill. 

– Scotsman, Monday 25th November, 1907, p.7. 





Committed for Trial. 

   At Airdrie to-day Engine-Driver Frederick Exevale was committed for trial on a charge of manslaughter in connection with the railway accident at Sunnyside Station, Coatbridge, on September 30th, when a young woman was killed and about sixty passengers injured through Exevale’s train colliding with an engine. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Friday 29th November, 1907, p.3. 

   PECULIAR ACCIDENT ON THE RAILWAY. – On Tuesday morning an accident involving considerable delay to traffic and slight injury to a railway servant occurred between Cleghorn and Braidwood. The postal express which leaves Carlisle about 3.40 and is due in Glasgow about 6 o’clock was passing the spot known as Lee Banking near Craigenhill when the tyre of the trailing wheel of the engine burst. The engine-driver with commendable presence of mind applied his brakes and drew up the train, and as it kept the rails no damage was done to the permanent way. A fragment of the wheel tore its way up through the flooring of the cab of the engine and inflicted injury to the leg of the driver, Wm. Walkinshaw. He was conveyed to his home in Carstairs. A squad from the Engineering Department at Carstairs was soon on the spot, and a fresh engine being procured the train resumed its journey about three hours late. 

– Carluke and Lanark Gazette, Saturday 30th November, 1907, p.2. 




   For the second week in succession the small wayside village of Craigo, near Montrose, has neem the scene of a fatality, and again the victim has been an Aberdonian. 

   James Mitchell, aged 29, a signalman, employed in the Craigo cabin, was returning in the evening to his home in the adjacent village of Logie, after a visit to Montrose, and how he came to be on the line when a goods train from Perth ran through the station at a few minutes past nine is unknown. The goods guard shouted as his van dashed past the booking office that he thought a man had been run over at the south end of the platform, and John Dorward, a permanent way man, running thither, was horrified to find Mitchell sitting with his back to the platform and his legs crossed over the near down rail. He was fearfully mutilated, but quite sensible. His legs were severed below the knee, hanging only by the skin; his fingers were gashed and minus the tips; and his left thigh was dreadfully damaged. 

   Mitchell’s case was hopeless from the first, and, despite the best surgical attention possible, he passed away. Deceased belonged to Aberdeen, his father, a Great North of Scotland guard, living at 37 Erskine Street. Mitchell was a quiet, unassuming man, who was greatly respected by his co-workers. Widespread sympathy is felt for his young widow and child in their sad bereavement. 

– Aberdeen People’s Journal, Saturday 30th November, 1907, p.10. 

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