1867


LONDON BRIDGE 

7th MAY 1867

extracted and adapted from the report by 

C.S.. Hutchinson R.E. and Major


A collision of a passenger train with a pair of buffer stops at the London Bridge Station of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway, which occurred on the 7th May, and by which 20 persons were more or lees injured, the most severe apparent injury being nose badly cut. 

The train to which the accident occurred was South London train from Victoria to London 
Bridge. It left Victoria at 10.25 a.m. on the 7th May, and consisted of an engine and tender, 
guard’s van with break, part of it fitted for third class passengers, three third class, a 
composite second, two first class, a composite first class, one third class and a third class with break van attached, in all 10 vehicles, coupled in the order stated, with a guard in each van. 

The driver considerably over the platforms at Peckham and Old Kent Road, and slightly at 
Rotherhithe. At Peckham the head guard spoke to the fireman about not using his break 
properly. From Rotherhithe to London Bridge the train proceeded at the usual rate, and on 
passing the signal box near the Victoria or south end of the platform was going so slowly as 
to nearly come to a standstill at the south end of the platforms. About this point the driver 
appears to have put on steam to take him up the platform, and the train moved forward 
steadily until about 30 yards from the buffer stops, when it suddenly shot ahead as if shoved 
from behind by an engine. The driver immediately reversed his engine, and whistled for the 
guards’ breaks, but too late to prevent collision with the buffer stops. Neither driver nor 
fireman was thrown down by the collision; ad it is probable but little injury would have 
occurred to the passengers, had not many have their seats preparing to alight. There appears 
no reason to doubt but that the breaks of the tender and front van were on at the time of the 
collision, and that the cause of the sudden ahead of the train was owning to the guard of the 
rear van having taken off his break, the screw of which was found to be completely out.
The driver, fireman, and guards all well knew the road from Victoria to London Bridge, but 
the former had been principally accustomed to work it with tank engines; and had only on one previous day, and for two journeys on the morning of this day, been working it with an engine and tender. The guards also appeared to have been more accustomed to work with trains drawn by tank engines. The break power of these latter being so much greater than that of tender engines, there is a tendency on the part of guards to more or less neglect their own breaks when working with tank engines, and to errors of judgment on the part of drivers when frequently transferred from one description of engine to another.

To such an error of judgment on the part of the driver on the precent occasion, in putting on 
more steam than his own break power would fully enable him to control, and to the error of 
the guard in the rear van in removing his break before the train had come to rest, this 
accident; is no doubt to be attributed.

The facts seem to point to the expediency of not changing driven from one description of 
engine to another more than can absolutely be avoided.

Although not bearing directly on this accident, I think it right to state that there was no communication in this train between the guards and driver. 

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