27th NOVEMBER 1862

extracted & adapted from the report by

W. Yolland Colonel R.E.

A collision that occurred on the 27th November 1862, between two goods trains, on the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway, at Tinsley Green, about 2 1/2 miles south of Horley station, when the under-guard of the following train was killed, and the engine driver slightly injured from the effects of a fall in jumping off the engine.

It appears that a special coal train, consisting of engine and tender, 27 coal trucks, and two break- vans, left New Cross down sidings at 7.45p.m. for Three Bridges station ; it arrived at Croydon station at 8.12, and was shunted to allow the 8.0 down passenger trans to go by, and it left Croydon at 8.33. It arrived at Stoat's Nest at 8.47, shunted for the two down mails to pass, and left at 9.25, at which time, it is staled, there were two tail lights on the last van, burning properly.

As the train approached Reigate, 17 3/4 miles from New Cross, the driver gauged the water in the tender, and then asked the head guard if he could get water at Reigate, and was answered in the affirmative, and told that the switchman would turn him into the siding if be wanted water ; and then the driver said he would go on without taking water at Reigate, mid run on to Three Bridges, 8 1/2 miles distant from Reigate. The train is said to have passed through Reigate, Redhill, and Horley at the usual speed, and as it approached Tinsley Green, 2 1/2 miles south of Horley station, the head guard observed the driver and fireman examine the tank with a rod and a light, and then the driver shut off the steam, and the fireman applied Isis break ; and the driver asked the head guard to uncouple the engine from the train, while the train was still running along, as he must run on to Three Bridges for water. The head guard said he could not do it as the side chains were hooked, and he could not ranch them. The engine-driver and fireman then went back at each side of the tender and unhooked, at which time the train had almost stopped, and then the engine ran forward to Three Bridges, and the train was stopped at Tinsley Green level crossing at 10.6.

The head guard states that he then ran bark and called out to the under guard, at the tail of the train, that the engine had gone to Three Bridges station for water, and that he must get out his fog-signals and go hack directly, and he saw him go before he got up to hint, but he called out to warn him that nn up-train (the Petworth) was approaching, and the under guard replied, " All right." The head guard then stood close to the rear break until the Petworth train hind gone by, and he then saw a down goods-train coming, a long way off, about three quarters of a mile, and afterwards heard a fog-signal explode, and then the goods train engine whistled, and he saw fire fly from the tender-break. Ile next saw the collision take place, at which time he con- siders the goods train was running from 10 to 15 miles an hour. The break at the tail of the special coal-train, and the front break of the goods-train placed next to the tender, in which the under guard was riding, were smashed to pieces, and the under guard was killed on the spot, and was found lying under the shattered remains of the break. The head guard states that the collision took place at 10.10 p.m., or four minutes after the special coal-train stopped.

The under guard of the special coal-train confirms the statement of the head-guard as to the stoppage of' the train, and his being sent back with fog-signals ; and he says he ran back as fast as he could and placed two fog-signals ou the rails, about 250 yards in the rear of the break of the special coal train ; and then he ran about 50 yards further back and was passed by the up-train, and he waved the red light of his hand-lamp up and down, towards the approaching down goods train, but no notice was taken of it, as the train passed him with the steam on ; he also sounded his whistle, but they did not seem to notice it, as they were looking out on the other side towards the up goods-train, whilst he stood on the east side of the down line. This under guard states that the tail lights on the last break-van of the special coal train were burning brightly when he commenced to run back, and that the night was a clear night, so that some time after the collision had taken place he saw the red lights on an engine at the scene of the collision front HoHey station. He also states that when the down goods train passed him it was travelling from 30 to 40 miles an hour, and he heard the two fig-signals explode, followed by the whistle of the engine, and saw fire flying from the front and rear breaks.

The train which caused the collision was the 7.45 p.m. down pick up goods-train front the Bricklayers’ Arms, which left 10 minutes late, passed New Cross at 8.12, and arrived at Croydon at 8.35, and was shunted there for the two down mails to pass.It left Croydon at 9.20, five minutes late, at which time the train consisted of engine and tender, 33 waggons and 2 break vans. The head guard told the driver while at Croydon that he had nothing for Horley station but 11 waggons for Three Bridges ; the head guard was informed at Croydon that the special coal train was to shunt at Stoat's Nest for the two down mails, and he told his own driver, who remarked that he must keep a look out for it; and they were checked at Stoat's Nest for the special train, and also by the Red Hill Junction down distant signal; but the station signal was taken off, and they ran through 'Red Hill Junction. 

At Red Hill goods station the signals showed white lights, but the signalman gave them a caution signal with his hand lamp, and the head guard acknowledged it. On approaching Horley station the distant signal showed a white light, and the station signal a green light ; and the driver shut off the steam, but the green light was changed to white before they reached the distant signal, and the driver then turned on the steam again, rind they passed the Horley station. according to the head guard, at 10.5 p.m., travelling at from 25 to 30 miles an hour. He states that they passed the up Petworth goods train about 700 yards from the spot where the collision occurred. And the rest of his evidence confirms that of the head guard of the special coal train, as regards the running over the fog signals, &c. He alleges that it was a hazy night, so that they could see no distance; he ran back towards Horley station and could not see the lights at that station until he got half way, and then he could not see the tail lights on his own train. Other testimony on the same subject seems to prove that it was fine overhead, but not very clear along the line, which is quite straight between Horley and Three Bridges, rising all the way towards Three Bridges. The coroner’s inquest which investigated the circumstances, had brought in a verdict of manslaughter against the driver of the down goods train, so that when he was called, he informed me that his professional adviser had re- commended him not to give any evidence.

1. This train was appointed to stop at Horley station, but a practice had crept in, ordered, it is said, by the station master, that this particular train was not to stop unless it had something to leave at Horley station, or they had something to send on ; in which case the station signal would be placed at "danger," in order to stop them. And as I have already stated, the guard had informed the driver that there was nothing to leave at Horley. If the company's regulations and time book had been obeyed, this train would have stopped as a matter of course; time would have thus been afforded for the under guard of the special coal train to have got further back along the line before he placed the fog signals on the rails, and a man's life would not have been unnecessarily sacrificed. This adds another to the instances which I have lately had to mention of die- obedience to the company's regulations on the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway, and supports the statement which I then made, that additional out- of-doorsupervisionwasrequired. Thedriverof the special coal train was to blame for not having takenwateratReigate. It was an error of judgment on his part.

2. I should also observe that the bulk of the evidence would go to prove that the night was sufficiently clear for the tail light to have been seen at a much greater distance than the 250 yards, at which the fog signals were run over, if a vigilant look out had been kept by the engine driver and fireman of the goods train.

3. The interval between the two trains in passing Horley station is said to have been 11 minutes, and it therefore affords another proof of the insufficiency of a time interval to prevent a collision from taking place, even between goods trains that travel at less speed than the fast passenger trains.

4. I understand the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company are about to introduce the system of working by telegraph between Brighton and Red Hill. I hope they will adopt the best method of working, viz., that under the block system; because no system can be said to be absolutely safe, inasmuch as a concurrence of mistakes between the signalmen and the drivers, a collision may occur, as it has done before, when the block system has been in operation. Still the chances are enormously in favor of such a system when compared with a partial adoption of it. For unless the signalman makes a mistake, no two trains are permitted to be between two adjacent stations at the same time; and if such a mistake be made, a collision cannot take place without a disregard of the company’s regulations on the part of the servants of the company with the trains.

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