5th OCTOBER 1867

Extract and adapted from railway report 

By F.H. Rich 

Lieut. Col. R.E.

A train, consisting of an engine and tender, a guard’s break van, a third class, a second class, two first class, and two third class, coupled in the order given, left South Croydon station for London at its proper time, 6.17 p.m., on the 5th instant. A guard was travelling in the front van, and a second guard in the third-class carriage, at the tail of the train. 

The train passed the Hole-in-the-Wall signal station at the entrance to Victoria station at slow speed, about 7.10 p.m., and on passing through the facing points at Eccleston Bridge, which is just inside the Hole-in-the-Wall signal box, the engine and tender kept the rails that lead up to the Brighton main line platform; the guard’s van next to the tender got its two hind wheels off the rails; the third and second-class carriages next behind the guard’s van got completely off the rails, and the rest of the coaches in the train kept to the rail that lead up to the local or Crystal Palace platform. 

The entrance to the L.B.S.C. section of Victoria station is controlled by a signalman stationed in the Hole-in-the-Wall junction box, and by two points men stationed under Eccleston Bridge, which is about 50 yards nearer to the platforms.

The pointsmen work in connexion with the man at Hole-in-the-Wall. They signal to him when the platforms are clear for trains to enter the station, and they receive permission from him to let trains pass out. 

The points and signals at the Hole-in-the-Wall, with the exception of the dummy or shunting signal, are arranged on the locking principle; but those at the Eccleston Bridge stations are not. 

When the South Croydon train arrived at the entrance to Victoria station the signal at the Hole-in-the-Wall and at the Eccleston Bridge stations were all right for the train to pass to its proper destinatio0n, which was to the local or Crystal Palace platform. On passing through Eccleston Bridge Points the front part of the train took the road for the Brighton trains, and the hind part of the train followed its proper road, as before described. 

Charles Fuller, the pointsmen at Eccleston Bridge, states that he set the points for the road which leads up to Crystal Palace platform, previous to lowering the signals some minutes before the South Croydon train arrived, and that he did not move them again. He endeavours to account for the accident, by saying that an engine passed out from the arrival platform for the Brighton trains without his knowledge, and that this engine, by forcing its way through the points, stained them and left them partly open for the South Croydon train. 

The driver and fireman of this latter engine stated that distinctly and decidedly that they got the signal from Fuller to pass his station, and they are borne out by the signalman at the Hole-in-the-Wall, who also states that he allowed the said engine to come out after having received leave to do so from a man at Eccleston Bridge. 

There appears to me therefore but little doubt that Fuller omitted to set the points for the South Croydon train to proceed to its proper destination, to the Palace platform, and that in the surprise of seeing the engine of the South Croydon train taking the wrong road he became confused, and moved the points while the train was passing over them, thereby causing the accident. 

The arrangement of the points and signal at the entrance to Victoria station is being altered, in connection with the Battersea new lines, and I understand that the points and signals will be locked when the new arrangements are completed. 

It is most desirable that all the points and signals should be arranged on the locking principle, and thus prevents such mistakes as will occur, with the best men, when they are locked.

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