Railway accident on the 


from http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk

Epsom 20th February 1874

This accident took place on the Down Line east of the former Epsom Town station. It involved the 0800 London to Brighton via Epsom and Dorking LBSCR passenger train service (a route noteworthy for not being possible now) colliding with an empty train from Sutton.

One passenger received slight injuries and three carriages of the Brighton train were damaged, as was the buffer beam of the locomotive hauling the empty train.

The empty train was formed of three coaches and a brake van and arrived on the Down Line a little late, at 0847. The engine and first two carriages were to form a portion of the 10.18 service to London, which would depart from the Up Line. The third carriage and brake van were to be detached. However, as the Brighton train was due at 0853, the head porter decided there was not enough time for the empty train to complete the shunting manoeuvres needed to get the locomotive onto the other end of the train, the carriages onto the opposite platform and the spare carriage and brake van detached; instead, it was decided to recess the empty train out of the way in a siding adjoining the Down Line whilst the Brighton train passed.


Loco No. 292, July 1874 at Seaford 


Extracted and adapted from the N.R.M. website

Judging the speed of the train was done purely through the driver’s skill, using his route knowledge and mileposts next to the track. This is despite the fact that speed recording equipment had existed for decades. 

On the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway Class G locomotive, designed by William Stroudley. The first of Stroudley’s speed indicators was fitted to locomotive Grosvenor, built in 1874. 13 more locomotives were ordered with some modifications, the last being delivered in 1881.  The drawings below shows Stroudley’s patented speed indicator as fitted to locomotive No. 350. Southbourne.


The brass scale is 

logarithmic and each 

line is marked with a 

speed  starting at 5 

m.p.h. with 

maximum of 55 m.p.h. 

underneath the top line.

Stroudley’s speed indicator was a novel design. A fan was driven from the axle of the rear trailing wheel by a belt.  This pumped air into a gauge glass on the footplate. Higher speeds would force a ball sat in the glass upwards and this could be read against a gauge next to the glass. This being a successful design, which then led to every Brighton engine having a speed indicator in their cab.


It’s nearly impossible to say how many accidents or lives could have been saved if the speed indicator had been fitted on the Brighton lines. There seem to no obvious reason why Stroudley and the L.B.S.C.R. introduced them. There was no other pre-grouping railway company that decided to use them. The London & South Western Railway, tried a few speed recorders around 1909, but still much later than the L.B.S.C.R.

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