2nd AUGUST 1873

Extracted and adapt from a report 

by Major Gen. C.S. Hutchingson

A collision that occurred on the 2nd of August lastnear tho Redhill stationon the SouthEastern RailwayIn this casethe 3.43 p.mpassenger train from Tunbridge to Redhill was approaching the Redhill station at a speed of about 12 miles an hourwhen it come into collision with a goods engine of the London.Brighton, and South Coast Railway Companywhich fouled the main line from a aiding at the moment when the above train was passingOne passenger has complained of injuryand the driver of the Brighten Companyengine was also injured.

On the south of the passenger station at Redhilland 123 yards distant from itthere is a signal-cabincontaining 30 leversfor working the points and signals on the south of the stationThese levers are interlocked with one another on the principle of interlocked with one another on the principle of MrBradyThe Brighton and South-Eastern lines join each other at the signal-cabin82 yards to the south of the cabin there are a pair of points connecting the engine-shed and other sidings with the South-Eastern up line from Tunbridge and there is a signal postwith two semaphore arms upon itat 52 yards from the cabinthe upper arm applying to the main line and the lower arm applying to the sidingsThere are altogether five sidings, but this lower signal arm is included to apply to any engine leaving any one of these
included to apply to any engine leaving any one of these sidings for the main lineno engine being allowed to foul the main line unless that arm is lowered to permit the engine-driver to passThe two arms on this 
post are those to which it is necessary in this case especially to refer : the upper arm applying to the passenger train especially to refer : the upper arm applying to the passenger trainand the lower arm applying to the goods engineconcerned in tho collisionThe fouling point between the up main line And the siding is about 11 yards on the north of this signal-postThere is no safety-point for protecting the main line from these sidingsThere is a distant signal 313 yards on the south of the two-armed semaphore-post above referred toThe distant-signal post is about 30 feet above the level of the line on the bankand on the west of it. This portion of the line curves sharply to the eastwardand the distant signal is visible for 677 yards towards Tunbridge.

The passenger train left Tunbridge at 3.44 p.m., one minute late, consisting of an engine and tenderthree passenger carriages passenger carriagesand one break -van, the break-van
being next behind the tenderThere was no stoppage between Godstone and Redhill, and the engine-driver and guard both noticed that the Redhill distant-signal was at dangerThe guard considers he was within about 150 yards of it when it was lowered for the train to passThe engine-driver stated in the first instance that he could not judge to a yard or two, but considers he was within 30 yards of it when it was loweredbut subsequentlywhen visiting the. spot,
he said he could not judge within 30 yards or soand that hmight have been half-way between a bridge about 500 yards from the distant-signal and the distant signalwhen it was loweredThe engine-driver also statedwith regard to the home-signalthat he might have been half-way between the.distant-signal and the home-signal when he saw that the latter was
lowered for him to run through the junctionThe guard states that the home signal was down at caution when ho came in sight of it, which he believes would be about when he was passing the distant signalThe engine-driverwhen approaching the siding-signaland when he was, as he thinksabout 30 yards from the Brighton enginesaw that engine moving along the sidingHe had already shut his steam offand he then reversed his engineThe guard
also saw the engine in the siding
 but did not suppose 
it was going to foul the main linehe heard the break-whistle from the enginebut bad no time to apply his break before the collision between the two engines occurredThe enginetenderand break-van left the rails of the main line with all their wheelsbut none of the carriages were thrown oftthe railsThe train come to a stand within very few yards after it had struck the goods engineThe passenger engine and tender were a good deal damaged ; four axle boxes were brokentwo on the engineand two on the tender; the framing was bent ; the leading and driving horn plates were broken ; the left-hand buffer was broken in two placesthe connecting-rods were
strained, the tube plate began to leakand the step 
board of the van was damaged.

The goods engine which thus got in the way of the passenger train had come from tho Brighton goods stationhalf mile on the south of the Redhill junctionIt reached the Redhill junction at 4.15 p.m.when two break-vans were attached to the engine and tender,

There was guard with each break van. One break van was left on the Brighton line whilst the engine and tender and the other break van went forward through the junction and sidings above referred to, near to the engine shed, and connecting them with the up main line. The guard then attached 15 empty waggons behind the break van; and the engine was some 50 yards on the south of the signal. After coupling up the waggons to the van, the guard held out his arm as an all right signal to the engine driver, and held up two finger as a further intimation to the engine driver that he might give two whistles for the signal man to lower the signal to let him out of the siding. The train was next moved up to within an engine length of the siding signal. The guard was aware that a South Eastern train was due, but he did not know whether it would come from Dorking line or the Tunbridge line. He also knew that there was a special train expected to follow his train from the Brighton line, and he feared that the break van which he had left on the Brighton up main line might be in the way of the special train. Finding that the signalman did not lower the siding signal in answer to the two whistles from the engine, he thereupon went towards the signal cabin, an inquired of the signalman there first about the Chichester train. The signalman told him they had rattled up, by which he understood that the train had been telegraphed from the next telegraph station on the Brighton line. The signalman added that as soon as the South Eastern train had gone by, his goods train could come out of the siding, could set back along the Brighton line to attach his break at the rear of it, and could then go forward through the junction and return back into the siding. The goods guard also saw the yard shunter on the top of the steps, but not inside the signal cabin, and the shunter told him that he better do as the signalman had directed. The guard, on turning round after this conversation, saw the two engines dashing into one another. At the same moment he turned his eyes up to the semaphore post, and saw the lower or siding arm on that post down at caution, and the upper arm, applying to the up main line, at danger. This man explains, however, further, that he was on the top of the steps (16 in number) leading to the signal cabin, when he saw the engines had just come in contact with one another; but that it was after he had gone down the steps, and run about 20 yards towards the engines, that he noticed the condition of the signal, and that when he did so the engines had not come to rest after the collision with one another. The goods guard, after going to the different compartments of the passenger train to ascertain whether anybody was hurt, and hearing from some of the passengers that they were shaken but not hurt, went up to the station master, who was close at hand, and pointed out the condition of the signal to him, thinking that in the hurry of the moment it might have been forgotten, and not returned to danger. This guard did not notice the position of either arm of the signal before the collision, nor until he saw the engines, as above described, dashing into one another.

The engine driver states that he arrived at Redhill two hours and 20 minutes late. He brought his engine and tender and two break vans to a stand at the south of the junction, to allow one of the guards to unhook one of the breaks from the other; and he then went forward through the junction, and backed the other break van through the up main line of the South Eastern Railway into the siding. As soon as 15 waggons had been backed on to his break van in the siding, he gave two whistles by way of asking the signalman to lt him out of the siding; and hen then drew forward to within 12 or 14 yards of the signal, and stood in that position for three or four minutes. While standing there, he walked from the rear to the off side of his engine with his oil can, and examined the motions; and he next returned from the oil to the nearside of the engine, and, leaning with his right arm on the framing of the engine, looked up to the signal arm. He stood in that position for about two minutes, and while so looking at the signal-armhe saw the lower arm lowered from danger ” to cautionHe called to his fireman to move the engine forwardbut the fireman did not hear himHe called to him a second timeand jumped on the engineand asked his mate why he did not pay more attentionHe pointed to the condition of the siding signaland said againWhy don t you look outHe then opened the regulator and started his engine forwardHe did not notice the approach of the South-Eastern train until the engine of that train was coming into collision with his own train. He asserts that the upper arm of the signal-post applying to the main line was at dangerand that the lower arm applying to the sidings was at caution,” when the collision occurredHe was knocked down and stunned during the collisionbut he recovered himself about ten minutes afterwards. This man admits that he was talking to the breaks man while he was standing by the engine on the ground, but denies having had any conversation with the him after leaving the ground and getting upon his engine.

The fireman observed also that after the guard had coupled the waggons to the break van, he held up his fingers as a signal to the engine driver to give two whistles; but he is not sure whether he or the engine driver gave these two whistles. The engine driver then moved the engine to within 12 or 13 yards of the signal, and gave two more whistles, but the signal still remained at danger. The engine driver then got down and examined the motions, leaving him (the fireman) to put coal on the fire. He heard the engine driver say, come on, but he did not take any notice, because he thought he was speaking to the guard. He heard him say come on a second time, but he (the fireman) still paid no attention. The engine driver then got on the engine, opened the regulator himself, and started the engine forward; and commenced chastising him (the fireman) for not paying better attention to the signalman. He blew him up, saying he ought to have paid better attention to the signal, so as not to lose time. While he was being chastised by the engine driver, he moved across to the left side of the engine, to look at the signal, and he then noticed that it was at caution, that is to say, the lower arm applying to the sidings down. He stepped back to the right side of the engine, felt his break to see that it was properly off, and saw the passenger train coming. He shouted, jump, mate! but he saw his knocked off before he (the fireman) had time to jump himself. He thinks that siding signal was not turned to danger until 20 minutes or more after the accident.

The brakeman of the goods train believes that he coupled up the waggons to the break van in the siding. He is not sure whether, after coupling the waggons, he rode on one of them, or on the step of the break, or on the engine; or he thinks he might have walked up; but after the engine moved to within 12 or 14 yards of the signal he was himself standing within six yards on the north of the signal, and he says he remained in that position until the engine driver began to move out of the siding towards the main line. As the break van behind the tender passed him he jumped on the step, but he was immediately knocked off it by the force of the collision. He did not see the passenger train coming, nor did he notice the condition of the signal until after the collision. He then saw that the arm applying to the siding was at caution, but not until after he had run round to the front of the engine to ascertain what had occurred.

The signalman who was on duty in the junction cabin has done duty there two years, and at the box at the north of the station for 13 years previously. He saw the goods engine and break vans approaching from the Brighton line. The second break van was detached, and the engine with the remaining break van came forward to his junction to set back, with his permission, into the siding. At 4.11 p.m. he received noticed on his telegraph instrument of the passenger train from Godstone, and he knew, therefore, that that train would be at his signal cabin about 4.23 p.m. It was at 4.15 p.m. that he turned the goods engine, tender, and break van into the siding. He received no noticed of the special train from Chichester referred to by the guard of the goods train before the accident occurred. This signalman received a second signal when the passenger train left Godstone. He recorded the first signal of the passenger train approaching Godstone at 4.11 p.m., but he kept no record of the second signal, though he believes that he received it about 4.14. p.m. It was between the receipt of these two signals that the signalman allowed the goods engine, tender and break van to set back into the siding. He did not see the goods waggons coupled to the break van nor did he see the engine approach the signal; but the goods guard came to him, saying that he expected a special train from Goodwood; and asked whether he could not let him out of the siding. He told him he could not do so until after the South Eastern train from Godstone had passed; but he added that after the South Eastern train had passed he would allow him to come out on the main line, to hook on to his break van, and come to a stand on the through line at the station, while the special train from Chichester passed along the platform line. This man positively asserts that he never interfered with the siding signal or lowered it before the collision occurred; but he lowered the home signals for the passenger train before the train came in sight of him, on hearing a long whistle from the engine driver. He noticed that siding signal was lowered at caution after the accident, and that the goods engine had run across the wire and so pulled it off; and he noticed also that the arm on the same post applying to the main line was at danger after the accident, although he had not moved his levers as to turn it to danger. The levers in this cabin are so interlocked with one another that it is impossible for the signalman t lower the siding signal, except when the main line signal is at danger, and the points are st for the siding; and on the other hand, it is impossible for the signalman to the lower the main line signal unless the siding points are closed and the siding signal is at danger.

Mr. Nash, the station master at Redhill, was leaving house and walking down through his garden towards the station to meet the passenger train from Godstone and Tunbridge, when he saw the goods engine in the siding. He thought to himself how late the goods train is today. Standing in his garden, which is immediately above the signal siding above referred to, he noticed the goods engine moving towards the signal post, and at the same time that the upper arm of the signal post was down at caution for the passenger train to go through. He was about 200 yards from the siding, and he shouted four or five times to the goods engine driver to hold hard. He saw the engine come to a stand as it neared the signal, and he thought that the engine driver had seen his mistake; but he saw him immediately afterwards turn on his steam again and move forward. He shouted again with all his might, and so loudly that his daughter came out of the house and joined him in time to see the collision. The station master saw the engine driver talking to some one standing on the right side of the engine, both before and after he had stopped near the signal; but he could not say whether it was the brakeman, guard, or anyone else in particular. The passenger train appeared to him to be approaching the station at about 15 miles an hour when the two engines came into collision with one another. The goods engine was a little ahead of the passenger engine, and was caught under the framing by the buffer of the passenger engine, and it was damaged more than the other. The goods engine and tender were thrown off the line with all their wheels. After the collision the station master met first the passenger engine driver and told him that he was right because the signal had been lowered for him. On meeting the engine driver of the goods train, and seeing him point to the signal, which was then down, he accused him at once of tampering with it. The signal inspector came up at the same moment and examined the state of the signals with the station master, and found that some part of the goods engine was resting on the wire connected with the lower arm, and was pulling that arm down to caution; whilst the connection between the signal cabin and the other arm having been broken, the upper arm had flown to danger, which it is weighted to do from a fracture of the wire. The station master noticed at same time, on going to the signal cabin to examine the signals, that the levers of the junction points and the home distant signals were pulled over, and that a semaphore arm at the cabin, which is worked by the same lever as the upper arm at the post carrying the siding signal arm, was at danger.

The signal inspector at the Redhill station was leaving his work at the time of the accident, and was about 200 yards off the site of it, when he noticed that signals were lowered for the main line train; and he said to certain men who were working with him, and were to return by that train to London, that it was time for them to go the station. Before seeing the signals he had also heard the whistle of the approaching train. About half a minute or so after he had noticed the condition of the signals he heard a crash, but he did not see the passenger train before the collision on account of the carriages and trucks which were standing in his way on the siding. On hearing the noise of the collision he ran to the spot, and found the Brighton engine leaning sideways, having been partly pushed off the line, on the slope of the bank. He found, on examine the state of the signals that the main line signal arm had flown to danger, in consequence of the split link which connected the chain with the wire near the signal post having been opened; and that the signal arm applying to the siding had been pulled down to the position of caution, by the off side coupling rod of the Brighton engine resting upon it. He cut the wires of the distant signal and siding signal, and left the signals up; and the following morning, when the line was cleared, he mended the wire and re-adjusted the signals.

An engine-driver in the employment of the SouthEastern Company was standing near the door of the engine shed60 or 70 yards from the scene of the collision, waiting for the passenger train from Godstone to passin order to follow it on his way up to the stationHo noticed that the main-line signals near the siding-pointsand at the junction-cabinwere lowered for it to pass, and that the siding-signal was nt dangerHe saw tbc passenger train pass liiengine, and was therefore within 60 or 70 yards of the point of collision ; hut lie did not witness the collision or see the goods engine moving forward in the sidingHe docs not remember what he was doingbut he was engaged with something about his enginehe thinks wiping the foot-plate with a bit of waste when the collision occurred.

A fireman in the South-Eastern Company's employment was standing outside the engine-shedand saw the signal lowered for the passenger train about a minute before the collision he also saw the goods engine move along the sidingand noticed it was going against the siding-signalwhich was at dangerHe could not see the goods engine-driverHe saw the two engines run into one anotherand again noticed the slate of the signalsAfter the collision the siding signal went down and the main line-signal went up.

The assistant-inspector of permanent way of the South-Eastern Company was standing on the up platformnear the south end of the Redhill stationwhen he noticed that the up main line-signal near the siding was down, an the arm applying to the siding was at danger. He saw the goods engine move forward towards the main line, and the approaching passenger train at the same time, and also saw the South Eastern engine hit the Brighton engine. He noticed that the position of the arms on the signal post were reversed after the accident

A platform inspector of the South Eastern Company at the Redhill station, standing at the south end of the up platform, was waiting for the train from Godstone and Tunbridge, in order to attached the Reading portion to the Tunbridge portion. He noticed that the signals were down for the passenger train to approach, and saw the two engines come together almost at the same moment. The upper arm was at all right for the Tunbridge train.

In this case there appears to ve no doubt as the cause of the collision. The engine driver of the Brighton Company asserts, it is true, most positively, that the arm on the semaphore post applying to the siding in which he was standing was lowered for him to pass out to the main line; but the evidence on the other side is overwhelming. The locking apparatus in the signal cabin would have prevented the signals for the main line and for the siding from being lowered at the same time; and there can be no doubt, although the driver of the South Eastern train gave his evidence in anything but a satisfactory manner, that the signals were lowered for him to pass through the junction and run into the station at Redhill; or that the driver of the Brighton Company’s engine neglected to observe, before he got his engine into motion to pass out of the siding, that the siding signal was against him. The Brighton Company’s engine driver had been acting in that capacity for 15 months, and had previously been an engine driver for between six and seven years on the Highland Railway. He left the Highland Company’s employment in consequence of a dispute with his fireman, but it does not appear that he caused any accident on the Highland line. For the whole of the 15 months this man had been going in and out of the siding in question daily, and therefore he was perfectly well acquainted with the line and the signals.

But such a mistake on the part of the Brighton Company’s engine driver would not have led to any bad consequences if there had been safety point connected with this siding for the protection of the main line. I recommend that these be immediately supplied. They may either be worked from the signal cabby the same lever as the siding points, or to worked by a separate lever, and interlocked with the signals. In looking at the spot it would appear also to be desirable that another signal post should be added on  the South Eastern line, as a distant signal at a greater distance from the junction cabin. The want of such an additional signal post had nothing to do with the present accident, inasmuch as the signals were lowered, and the driver of the South Eastern Company had a perfect right to run through the junction; but the present distant signal being only 313 yards from the signal near the siding points, it would appear better either that the present distant signal be removed to a greater distance, and be worked with a repeater in the cabin, or else that another signal post should be supplied, and the present distant signal be used as a repeater to it. It might further be a wise precaution to letter on the signal post near the siding points, marking the one main line and the other siding.   

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