June 1907

[Scottish Railway Incidents (1907) Contents]

   The body of a man was found by a railway constable lying on the railway at the Haymarket Station, Edinburgh, on Wednesday night. The head was completely severed from the trunk. From papers found in the man’s pockets it appears that he was a Russian emigrant, 33 years of age, named Dimitry Rjoby, en route for New York. He seems to have come from Hango, in Finland. 

– Strathearn Herald, Saturday 1st June, 1907, p.3. 

   A PONY ON THE RAILWAY. – A number of railwaymen employed at the [Grangemouth] station had an exciting chase on Saturday evening. A pony which had been pasturing on a field alongside Torrance’s Mill had taken fright, and in its mad career cleared the fence and made its way on to the railway, heading in the direction of the passenger station. Workmen, including shunters, firemen, and drivers, took up the chase with a view to capturing the animal and preventing obstruction to railway traffic. A number of youths in the vicinity of the station joined in the chase, which continued for fully half an hour, when a capture was eventually effected, and the pony lodged safely in the field. The incident caused a commotion amongst the traffic officials, but provided endless amusements to those of the public witnessing it. 

– Falkirk Herald, Saturday 1st June, 1907, p.5. 

   SERIES OF ACCIDENTS ON THE HIGHLAND RAILWAY. – On Monday afternoon, while the goods train due here from Keith at five o’clock was entering Forres Goods Station, the engine, owing to the points being wrongly set, took one of the connecting lines, with the result that four meat vans left the rails, and two waggons were smashed. One of the buffers of the engine was torn off, and a footplate was badly twisted. The shed also was damaged. The steam crane from Inverness was speedily on the spot, and the vans were in a short time replaced on the rails. Following in the wake of the accident at Forres, a breakdown occurred at Dunphail on Wednesday. While the goods train ex Perth due here about 4.30 A.M. was nearing Dunphail Station a van left the rails, causing other four to follow suit. Both sets of rails were completely blocked, and the permanent way was badly torn up for some distance. Traffic from and to Forres had to be sent round by Inverness all forenoon. Through the exertions of a large staff of workmen one set of rails was open by the afternoon, but it was nearly midnight ere the crane had finished, one van, in particular, lying in an exceedingly awkward position to be got at. The scene of the accident was visited by the Chairman of the Company in the afternoon. Up till yesterday traffic had to be worked over a single set of rails. In railway circles, when two accidents occur, a third is generally looked for, and such proved to be the case, for on Wednesday afternoon a train from the Hopeman quarries ran into a stationary passenger train at Burghead. Three passengers are reported injured. 

– Forres News and Advertiser, Saturday 1st June, 1907, p.4. 

   FATAL ACCIDENT IN GLASGOW. – Tully Gallocher (22), labourer, residing at 35 Cheapside Street, was fatally injured on Cathcart circle railway a short distance from Pollokshields Station, Glasgow, on Saturday evening. Gallocher, with some other railway workmen; was walking along the outer line when a passenger train approached from Cathcart on the inner line. Deceased, apparently thinking the train was running on the line on which he was walking, stepped on to the inner line and was run down. Deceased belonged to Strabane, Ireland. 

   FATAL LEAP FROM A RAILWAY BRIDGE. – On Saturday evening the body of Robert Thompson, 29 Shields Terrace, was found lying on the rails at the entrance of West Street tunnel of the Caledonian Railway, near Lilybank Street, Glasgow. A companion who was in Thompson’s company states that deceased had thrown himself from the bridge on to the rails, and that earlier in the evening he had attempted to jump into the Clyde from Glasgow Bridge. 

– Scotsman, Monday 3rd June, 1907, p.6. 





Another Traction Engine Fatality. 

   Inquiries were heard by Sheriff Lee and a jury in Forfar Sheriff Court to-day on the death of a Perth guard, who died in Forfar Infirmary as the result of an accident at Forfar Station,.. 

   The first inquiry was that on the death of James Donald, 11 Unity Place, Victoria Street, Perth, goods guard, in the employment of the Caledonian Railway Company. John High, head yardsman, Forfar, said Donald arrived with the goods train at Forfar about 9.15 p.m., and the train was shunted into a siding, while the engine was taken to the turn-table, which was near the station. While the engine was being turned Donald and High were in the shunter’s bothy, and he instructed Donald as to the return journey to Perth. Witness then left the bothy, and immediately after that he heard a shout from the direction of the bothy, and was informed that Donald had been run over. He went back, and saw Donald lying over the rails leading to the coal bank. There was a shunting engine working further east. Donald was able to speak, and said he had been knocked down by a bogey which had gone over his right leg. The injured man was removed to Forfar Infirmary. 

   John Macgregor, Whitehills, Forfar, also gave evidence as to the accident, and Constable Cameron said he saw Donald in the Infirmary on Saturday, 6th April. Donald was perfectly conscious, and said he was proceeding to the turntable, when he was knocked down by a waggon. He further stated that there was nobody to blame for the accident but himself. 

   Dr Alexander, Forfar, spoke to attending Donald during the time he was in the Infirmary, and until 18th April he seemed to be progressing favourably, when he died somewhat suddenly. 

   The jury returned the usual formal verdict. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Monday 3rd June, 1907, p.4. 




   A collision between a passenger and a goods train occurred at Burghead Station last week. The passenger train timed to leave Burghead at 11.48, carried out some shunting operations, which caused a delay of about 15 minutes in the scheduled time. Shortly after noon, however, the train was about to resume its journey to Alves, when, without warning, a goods train, which leaves Hopeman about noon, steamed into the station and crashed into the rear carriage of the passenger train. Fortunately, there were few passengers in the train, and none of them received serious injury, but several were cut and bruised, and received a severe shaking. The carriage was considerably damaged. 

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Wednesday 5th June, 1907, p.4. 





Bolts, and Cuts His Throat. 

The sequel to the recent exciting incident at Thornton Junction Railway Station, when a prisoner stabbed a constable and then attempted suicide, was heard in Cupar Sheriff Court to-day, when Alexander Herd, labourer, 6 Union Street, Leven, was charged with having on 30th May, on the south platform at Thornton Junction Railway Station, assaulted James Annand, police constable, by stabbing him on the right arm with a pocket-knife. 

   Sheriff Armour – Are you guilty? 

   Accused – I mind nothing about it. 

   Sheriff Armour – You must plead either the one way or the other. 

   Accused – Well, I suppose I am guilty. 

   The Fiscal stated that the accused was brought up before the Burgh Court at Leven, and he was on his way to Edinburgh Prison when the assault was committed. On the way he had been using rather threatening language towards the officer, and at Thornton he began muttering it was an awful thing for him to go to prison, and that he could never face Leven again. Suddenly he exclaimed, “Oh, there’s the train coming in,” and on the officer looking round he pulled out his knife and struck at the officer, the blade going through his coat and shirt, but it did not cut him. After inflicting the blow he bolted down the platform, and he seemed to have cut his throat, whether by accident when he fell or intentionally he did not know. He was under the influence of liquor. 

   Sheriff Armour – I fancy when he committed the assault he must have been sober? The Fiscal said he had asked the Edinburgh Prison authorities to keep him under observation, and he had received a letter stating that on his admission he was alcoholic, and subsequently developed delirium tremens. Probably the man was not aware of what he was doing at the time. 

   Sheriff Armour – There was an element of cunning about it which shows he must have known pretty well what he was doing. 

   The Fiscal – The object of his doing what he did obviously was to make his escape. 

   Sheriff Armour – Have you anything to say? 

   Accused – No, I mind nothing about it. 

   Sheriff Armour – You will go to prison for twenty-one days, and be kept at hard labour. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Thursday 6th June, 1907, p.3. 

   BIRTH AT MANUEL JUNCTION. – A miner’s wife, travelling by train from Whitburn to Bo’ness, have birth to a child on Wednesday night at Manuel Junction. The woman, who seems to have been travelling alone, was taken ill in the waiting room. A Furnace Row woman, who was also about to join the Bo’ness train, very kindly acted the part of nurse. Mother and child were brought down to Bo’ness by the 7 o’clock train, and immediately on its arrival they were given into the care of Dr Sinclair and the district nurse, who, in the interval had been communicated with. Parties found themselves awkwardly placed, for the house which the woman was about to occupy was not yet fit to receive her, the furniture, it is understood, still being on the way from Whitburn. The Inspector of Poor was communicated with, and mother and infant were conveyed in the ambulance waggon to the hospital at Linlithgow. Both are doing well. 

– Falkirk Herald, Saturday 8th June, 1907, p.7. 

   FATAL ACCIDENT INQUIRY. – On Wednesday at Hawick a public inquiry took place before Sheriff Baillie and a jury concerning the death of Walter Deas, nine years of age, son of Mr Andrew Deas, mason, Wardlaw Place, Edinburgh, who was accidentally knocked down and killed by a pilot engine at a crossing at Steelroad Station on Sunday evening, 12th May. A lot of evidence was led with regard to a level crossing, it being stated that it was for railway purposes only, but was frequently used by the public. Mr Barrie, solicitor, Hawick, who appeared on behalf of the boy’s parents, said he thought if the driver had kept a proper lookout and had whistled, the accident would not have happened. The jury, however, contented themselves with returning a formal verdict. 

– Jedburgh Gazette, Saturday 8th June, 1907, p.3. 

Fatal Accidents Inquiry. 


   In the Airdrie Sheriff Court yesterday – before Sheriff Glegg and a jury – inquiries were held regarding two fatal accidents which occurred in the burgh. 

   The first inquiry was with reference to the death of John Kindred, brakesman, 190 Calder Street, which is believed to have taken place from Injuries received while employed by Wm. Dixon, Ltd., Calder Brick Works. 

   John Hendry, locomotive driver in the employment of Wm. Dixon, Ltd., deponed:- I do the shunting work at the Brick Works belonging to the firm. On Thursday, 9th May, at 5.15 p.m., I was, along with deceased, who was a brakesman, engaged in shunting operations. I was in charge of the engine, but the deceased was also able to take charge of the engine. On the day in question I was going along the main line with the engine. I drew out two empty waggons from the loading lye to put them into another siding. I then told deceased to take charge of the engine. I saw the deceased take one loaded waggon out of the lye round over the hill. He again went into the loading bank with the engine. The loading bank is 3 feet 9 inches from the rails. When the deceased put the engine into the loading bank he must have left the engine, because shortly afterwards I heard a person calling on me to “come down here.” When I got down I found deceased between the bank and the waggon. He had gone down to relieve the brake on the waggon, and when he did so the waggon slipped down. There is a gradient in the lye. I examined the engine and found that the steam was off, but the brake was not on, and if the brake had been on the accident would not have occurred. there was only nine inches between the bank and the waggon. 

   John McIlhoney, fireman, corroborated the evidence of the previous witness. 

   Alex. Hastie, engineer, Calder Street, said he was at the place shortly after the accident took place. The brake on the engine was not put on. There is a slight gradient there – one inch in twelve feet. The instant Kindred took the brake off the waggon it slipped down and crushed him between the bank and the waggon, there being only a space of 9 inches between the bank and the waggon. 

   John R. Young gave evidence as to the deceased dying when passing through Shettleston on his way to the Royal Infirmary. 

   The jury returned the following verdict:- About 5.15 p.m. on the 9th May, John Kindred, brakesman, in the employment of Wm. Dixon, Ltd., when releasing the brake on a waggon in Calder Fireclay Brick Works, was crushed between the waggon and the loading bank, caused by the waggon moving, and received injuries from which he died the same evening at 5.40 at Shettleston. 


   The next inquiry was with reference to the death of John Hughes, puddler, Dundyvan Road. 

   James Croall, puddler, Henderson Street, deponed:- The deceased was a puddler in Dundyvan Iron Works, belonging to William Martin. I am employed at No. 5 puddling furnace and deceased was employed at No. 4. These two furnaces face each other, and a light railway runs between. About 10.20 a.m. on the 25th April, the deceased asked me for a pair of bar tongs. The pair I was using were broken, and I told him he would get a pair at No. 7 furnace. There were waggons standing a little apart, and when the deceased was going between the buffers he was jammed. There was nothing against the back waggon, and it moved. I went and picked him up. He was badly squeezed. I did not know shunting was going on. 

   Wm. McAlaine, labourer, Hutchison Street, said that the deceased was trying to get the steam off at his furnace, and he went over and put it off for him. Deceased went away right across the railway, and was jammed between two waggons. When he was released he ran to the opposite side of the waggons and fell. 

   Joseph McCalden, railway guard, St John Street, said he was in charge of shunting operations at the works. He went round about the waggons in the road to see if all was right. If men were about the waggons he warned them, but there was nobody about the waggons on this occasion. The waggons were standing a yard apart. Two waggons met before the six waggons, which crushed the deceased, moved. He could not hear them coming for the noise in the works. He observed the usual rules on this occasion when shunting in the works. 

   The Matron of the Alexander Hospital gave evidence as to the death of the deceased in that institution. 

   The jury returned the following verdict:- On the 25th April, John Hughes, puddler, in the employment of Wm. Martin, Dundyvan Iron Works, while crossing a railway line there, was caught between some stationary waggons and received injuries from which he died at 12.30 p.m. the same day in the Alexander Hospital. 

– Coatbridge Leader, Saturday 8th June, 1907, p.7. 

   ACCIDENT TO A NORTH BRITISH RAILWAY FIREMAN. – An engine fireman employed on the North British Railway, whose name has not been ascertained, was last night admitted to Glasgow Royal Infirmary in an unconscious condition, having received serious injuries by falling from his engine at Queen Street Station. The train arrived at the station about 9.49 P.M., and immediately the man was seen to fall from the engine on to the rails. He was picked up unconscious, and on being admitted to the Infirmary was found to be suffering from a scalp wound and concussion of the brain. 

– Scotsman, Thursday 13th June, 1907, p.9. 


   The advice to railway passengers that they must not leave or enter trains in motion is often neglected, and a very considerable number of accidents to passengers are caused by this carelessness. In such cases no liability attaches to the companies. but a suit just decided in the Court of Session raises another interesting point as affecting railway travellers. A passenger in a train arriving at St Enoch’s Station, Glasgow, laid a claim for £1000. The train in which he was drew up at the end of the arrival platform, and he rose from his seat to get his luggage from the rack. Just then the engine-driver moved his train forward right into the station. The resulting jolt threw down the passenger, who had a leg broken. His claim for damages, however, is thrown out on the ground that the train had not arrived at the usual stance, and that no invitation had been given to the passengers to alight. As to the former circumstance, the passenger was probably in ignorance of the custom at the station; for the latter the invitation to alight is only implied, not real, in the great majority of cases. The decision is, therefore, very narrow, and one cannot but feel sympathy with the unfortunate litigant. The rights of railway companies, however, do exist, and must be upheld. For accidents caused by a passenger’s ignorance or contributory negligence they can hardly be found in fault. The onus lies upon the traveller of taking every precaution to safeguard himself from avoidable accidents, such as those of jerky trains at stations. The risks of railway running are bound to be considerable, but it is notorious that the great majority of the mishaps that do occur happen at stations, and in most cases could be obviated by proper care on the part of passengers. 

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Friday 14th June, 1907, p.2. 

   ACCIDENT AT BRIDGECASTLE COLLIERY. – Chas. Marshall, a married man, residing at Torphichen, who was engaged as a coupler in connection with the pug engine at Eastrigg Colliery, Bridgecastle, near Armadale (United Collieries Company, Limited), was, on Thursday afternoon, performing his duties, when his arm got caught between the buffers of two waggons and was severely crushed. Dr Anderson was early in attendance, and after dressing the wound, he had the injured man conveyed to Armadale Station in his motor car, and sent by train to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. 

– Linlithgowshire Gazette, Friday 14th June, 1907, p.5. 

   FIRE AT MUSSELBURGH RAILWAY DEPOT. – On the arrival of the 11.5 P.M. train from Edinburgh at Musselburgh on Saturday night, Guard Barrie reported that fire had broken out in the Campie Depôt, otherwise known as the “Bogle Hole,” near Musselburgh station. It was found that two stacks of telegraph poles, some 300 in all, were ablaze, and as the poles had been saturated with creosote for weather-proofing, the fire soon had a good hold. Musselburgh Fire Brigade was smartly forward, and twenty-five minutes after the first application of water had the flames subdued. 

– Scotsman, Monday 17th June, 1907, p.6. 

   RECOGNITION OF SERVICES IN ELLIOT DISASTER. – A list of those who rendered assistance at Elliot on the night of the terrible disaster there in December last has been drawn up by the Railway Companies, who have been arranging matters connected with the accident, and Mr G. G. Hamilton, manager of the D. A. Joint Railway, has been asked to distribute to the different persons on that list the amounts which have been placed opposite their names by the Companies as a recognition of the services rendered by them on the occasion in question. It will be remembered that splendid service in the nature of first aid was given immediately after the accident to the unfortunate victims by the Arbroath Ambulance Corps and others. The recipients of the gratuities are highly gratified. 

– Broughty Ferry Guide and Advertiser, Friday 21st June, 1907, p.2. 

   BREAKDOWN ON THE PENICUIK RAILWAY. – Yesterday forenoon, while a goods train was being shunted near Lowmill siding, on the Penicuik railway, the engine and tender got derailed. The engine only jumped the rails, but the tender was dragged across the metals, and it fell against the distance signal box, being only saved by it from making a descent into the river. The 11.48 passenger train from Penicuik to Edinburgh was in readiness to depart from the former station, but was stopped by signal, and the mail bags were afterwards transferred to the Peebles train. A breakdown squad and steam crane arrived at the scene of the accident, and at 3.50 P.M. the line was cleared, and shortly thereafter the passenger train, after four hours’ detention, resumed its running. 

– Scotsman, Saturday 22nd June, 1907, p.8. 

   BOY KILLED ON THE RAILWAY. – The body of a boy about ten, who was killed on the Caledonian Railway near Baltic Street, Glasgow, on Friday evening, by being run down by an engine whilst he was intently watching a dog race in an adjoining enclosure, was identified, on Saturday, by his father as that of Francis Hughes, who lived at 2 Bowling Green Terrace. 

   RAILWAY FATALITY AT STEVENSON. – On Saturday afternoon Alexander Smith (9), son of a grocer in Saltcoats, was killed on the Caledonian railway between Stevenston and Saltcoats. The lad was walking along the railway when two trains coming in opposite directions approached. He was struck by one of the trains and killed. 

– Scotsman, Monday 24th June, 1907, p.6. 





   SOME delay was caused last night in the North British railway service between Edinburgh and Glasgow owing to a subsidence on the “up” line between Linlithgow and Philpstoun, a station about four miles nearer Edinburgh. The part where the subsidence took place is near Pardovan Quarry, about three-quarters of a mile from Philpstoun Station, and it is only the line used by trains running from Glasgow to Edinburgh that is affected. This is a part of the line that has for some time been regarded by the engineers of the railway as being in a state that necessitated a close watch being kept on the condition of the supporting soil, especially when, as after a long spell of wet weather, the conditions are such as to render certain kinds of soil more liable to subside. The quarry, which is worked at a considerable depth, is immediately on the north side of the main line, and for some time past the railway at this part has been watched night and day. The subsidence was, therefore, discovered at once, and brought to the notice of the proper officials. This was before the six o’clock train from Glasgow was due, and this and later trains were delayed about half-an-hour. The slip carried away a large portion of the soil under the Edinburgh-going line, and the trains had to be worked on the single line system between Philpstoun and Linlithgow Stations. Fears were entertained of the west-going line being also affected by the subsistence. One result of the lateness of the arrival of the Glasgow trains at the Waverley Station was that the Glasgow portion for the 10.50 express for London did not arrive in time, and had to be sent south by itself at 11.12. 

– Scotsman, Tuesday 25th June, 1907, p.6. 

   RAILWAY ACCIDENT NEAR GOLLANFIELD. – Whilst the train which left Inverness at 6 o’clock on Monday night was about half-way between Gollanfield and Nairn, one of the large connecting rods of the locomotive broke. The driver, however, managed to bring the train to a standstill within a short distance of where the accident happened. After some delay, the rod was temporarily repaired, and an attempt made to take the train to Nairn, about two miles distant. There was a succession of jerks, which were so violent that the passengers received a very severe shaking, and the couplings connecting some of the rear carriages were smashed. The train was again brought to a standstill after it had moved a few yards. It was then seen that the locomotive could not be depended on, and a messenger was sent off to Nairn to procure another engine, every precaution being taken meanwhile to guard the train at either end. A number of passengers left the train, which was delayed over an hour, and walked on to Nairn. 

– Northern Chronicle and General Advertiser for the North of Scotland, Wednesday 26th June, 1907, p.4. 

   BODY FOUND ON THE RAILWAY. – On Tuesday afternoon the body of a well-dressed woman was found at the side of the railway near Steele Road Station, a few miles to the south of Hawick. It is supposed that she had fallen out of the train leaving Edinburgh at 9.35 a.m. The body has not been identified. 

   SERIOUS ACCIDENT TO A BOY. – On Saturday, while James Yule, aged 6 years, residing in Union Street, was sitting at the battery of the wood-loading bank at Hawick Railway Station, his foot got jammed between a buffer of a waggon and the battery, and was so seriously bruised that it had to be amputated. The operation was performed at the Cottage Hospital. 

– Southern Reporter, Thursday 27th June, 1907, p.3. 

   ACCIDENT TO A GOODS TRAIN AT INVERESK. – Between six and eight o’clock on Saturday morning traffic on the east coast London route of the North British Railway was delayed through an accident to a goods train near Inveresk Station. A sudden stop caused a waggon to leave the rails while shunting operations were going on. Four others were derailed when the engine re-started, and all of them rolled down the embankment. The contents of several waggons were scattered, and three of the waggons were badly smashed. A squad from St Margaret’s cleared the line after an hour and a-half’s work. 

–  Mid-Lothian Journal, Friday 28th June, 1907, p.4. 

   SAD FATE OF A FISHERMAN. – On Saturday forenoon, a sad fatality occurred on the railway near Kilrenny. While passing the western part of Innergellie Woods, the driver of the nine o’clock goods train felt some obstruction, and, on arriving at Crail, examined his engine, discovering visible signs of the impediment having been a human body. The news was telephoned to Anstruther, whence ambulance aid was sent to the place, but the body, on being found, was past all aid, death having been instantaneous. The body was taken to Anstruther goods station, where it was identified as that of Robert Murray (50), fisherman, George Street, Cellardyke. Deceased, it is supposed, had been walking along the line unaware of the approach of the train, and had been knocked down and dragged a distance of about 30 yards. The head was severely mutilated at the back, but the features were untouched. Deceased was of a frank, though quiet, nature, and was universally liked and respected by all acquainted with him. Much sympathy has been extended to his sorrowing family and friends. 

– St. Andrews Citizen, Saturday 29th June, 1907, p.4.