3rd DECEMBER 1867

Adapted from the B.o.T. Report

by F.H. Rich Lieut Col. R.E. 

On December 3rd 1867 at Streatham Common station of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway, a woman was knocked down and killed by train running through the station, while she was crossing from the down to the up platform.

The station and booking office at Streatham Common are situated at the east side of the railway, at the same side as the down line platform.

The only access to the up line platform is across the rails. A boarded footpath has been laid across the railway, exactly opposite to the general waiting room door, for passengers to pass over to the line platform, where there is a shed, which affords them shelter whilst waiting for a train.

On the 3rd ultimo, Mary Burnett arrived at Streatham Common station about 4.22 p.m. She took a third class ticket to Victoria station by the train that is timed to leave Streatham Common at 4.32 p.m. A cabman was talking to her in the waiting room, and he states, that he heard the booking clerk tell Mary Burnett “that the first train would not be her train, but that the next one would be hers; it would come in about 10 minutes.” Mary Burnett was the only passenger at the station. She left the waiting room by the platform door, while the cabman was looking after his horse, which was standing at the opposite side of the station. One of the station porters was engaged at the time, in lighting the lamps in the waiting room. He had already lit the signal lamps and three lamps on the down platform. The second porter had gone across to the up platform, before Mary Burnett left the waiting room.

The 4.12 p.m. train from East Croydon to Victoria left East Croydon six minutes late. It consisted of an engine and tender and 10 coaches with a guard. This train is not timed to stop between East Croydon and Victoria. It passed Streatham Common station about 4.28 p.m., three minutes before the stopping train was due at that station.

Mary Burnett was walking across the railway on the boarded footpath, as the 4.12 p.m. train ran through the station, at a speed of 30 to 35 miles per hour. She was struck by the buffer plank of the engine, and was picked up dead, about 20 yards north of the boarded crossing.

She was between 40 and 50 years of age, and rather deaf.

The railway falls 1 foot in 880 feet, as it approaches Streatham Common station from Croydon. The curve at both sides of the station has a radius of 80 chains.

A train cannot be seen for more than 250 yards at either of the station, by a person standing on the down platform, where the booking office is. The crossing between the platforms is a dangerous one, and should be carefully guarded by responsible persons, when there are any passengers at the station, and particularly when fast trains are timed to pass a few minutes before the stopping trains.

The regulations of the L.B.S.C.R Company provide that engine drivers should whistle as they approach such stations as Streatham Common.

It appears that on the 3rd December the whistle was only sounded when the 4.12 p.m. train was about 100 or 150 yards south of Streatham Common station, and it was sounded by the fireman, who suddenly noticed the woman on the crossing.

It is to be regretted that Streatham Common station was not constructed close to the over bridge at the south end of the station, where it wold have been easy to afford passengers direct access to both platforms, without the necessity of their walking across the rails.

If the company do not consider the station of sufficient importance to have a footbridge over or under the line, I recommend that it be made the particular duty of some one of the servants at the station, to guard the crossing at all times when there are passengers at the station, and that the regulation that engine drivers shall whistle, when approaching such station, be strictly enforced.

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