18th OCTOBER 1873

Driver, Fireman & Depot Unknown 

extracted and adapted from the report by

W. Yolland Colonel R.E.

A collision between two goods trains at the Brighton station, by which a break-van was thrown off the line and stood foul of a passenger line, and before it could be removed, was run into by a passenger train on the 18th October.

Fourteen passengers have complained of being injured on this occasion.

There is a goods yard situated to the north of the Brighton passenger station, lying in the fork between the main and eastern lines of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway, and lending to London and Hastings on of the one side, and the western lines leading to Portsmouth on the other side ; and it appears that on the day in question, an engine No. 219 Craven Small Goods loco'with a train of 21 trucks, went into No. 1 siding lying next the up main line from the north side of the yard, somewhere about 5 p.m., the engine being at the north end of the train. After some time, 12 of these trucks were uncoupled and removed to another part of the yard, in order to enable the engine No. 219 when coupled on to the remaining nine trucks to stand clear of the crossing of the up line. This train, which was intended for Hove station, situated about a mile to the west of Brighton, remained standing on this No. 1 siding, waiting for an opportunity to get out of the goods yard at the south side, and on to the main line, and thence away to the west.

About 6.20 p.m. another engine, No. 16, brought some empty trucks, and four loaded ones, from the locomotive yard, lying to the west of the goods yard, into the west side of the passenger station, and from there pushed them into No. 3 siding, lying parallel to but west of No. 1 siding, where the empty trucks were detached, and the four loaded trucks remained attached to the engine placed at the south end of the train, for the purpose of being taken to the locomotive yard.The exit from the goods yard to the south is governed by a semaphore-signal, worked from the south signal-box which is placed about 145 yards to the north of 
the north end of the departure platform, a and this signal is 95 yards north of the south signal-box; and although there are several sidings, the departure from them is regulated by this one signal, it not having been customary on the part of the inspecting officers of the Board of Trade, to require a distant signal for each separate siding ; but the practice has been adopted at Brighton station, when there have been more than two goods trains standing in this goods yard, waiting for permission to leave, to tell the driver of the particular train which should first come out. On this occasion, this precaution was not adopted, as the driver of No. 219 engine, who had been waiting for nearly one hour and half for permission to come out, and had repeatedly whistled for the semaphore signal to be taken off by the signalman in the south box, on seeing signal lowered about 6.30 p.m., put his train 
in motion, and the break van at its south end came into collision with No.16 engine, drawing the train of four loaded trucks, which had also started as soon as the signal was lowered both drivers thinking the signal was intended for own particular train.

The collision took place just opposite to the signal, and the brake van was thrown off the rails and slightly fouled the up main line about 6.31 p.m. Just before this time the 6.25 p.m. passenger train from Brighton to Lewes, consisting of engine and tender, three carriages and a break van was about to leave the departure platform, and the driver told me that he whistle before started and the signal was lowered for his train to proceed; and he did not perceive that the break van of the goods train was foul of the up line on which he was running, until he struck it when he was travelling about five miles an hour; he thinks the break van ran into his engine, and also into the third class carriage which was next to the tender. The driver pulled up his train at once, and but little damage was done to the rolling stock. It appears also from the signalman in the south box’s statement, that he lowered the signal for No.16 engine with the four loaded trucks for the locomotive yard because it stood nearest to the signal box, and he thought it best to get it out first; and if the shunter who was acting as guard to the train of empties attached to No. 219 engine had been at his proper post with the break van, he could have seen that there wee two trains waiting to come out of the goods yard, and he could have signalled to the engine driver of his own train not to start. I do not think the signalman at the south box is altogether free from blame, as h knew that both trains wanted to come out of the goods yard, and he should have taken care, before he lowered the signal for any train to come out, that the drivers knew which was to start and which should remain. 

Stringent regulations on this subject should be made and enforced, to prevent a repetition of a similar occurrence.

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