STOATS NEST


18th JUNE 1877


Involving

Engine Driver Edward Elliot & his Fireman Edwin Briant, 

& firemen John Townsend 

Loco sheds unknown 


Extracted and adapted from the Board of Trade report 

by  W. Yolland, Colonel


An accident which occurred on the night of the 18th June, to the 10.36 p.m. up wail train from Brighton between Stoat's Nest and tho north end of the Merstham tunnel, when the whole of the train suddenly got off the line, and was brought to returned about 170 yards.

The head-guard of the train, C. Costello, was slightly hurt, and it is stated that complaints had been received from 16 persons. The engine and tender and the whole of the carriages were slightly damaged.

The train belonged to the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company, which has running powers over the South-Eastern Railway Company's line between Red Hill and Stoat's Nest signal-box, 6 miles 26 chains apart. In this length, from Redhill to Merstham, 1 mile 68 chains apart, the line is on an t~asy rising gradient of 1 in 270 to near the south end of Merstham tunnel : the line in the tunnel is partly on a rising gradient of 1 in 181 for about 1/4 of a mile, and partly on a falling gradient (to the north) of 1 in 1,024 for a 3/8 of a mile, then it falls 1 in 264 to Caterham Junction, which is about 1 1/4 mile beyond or north of Stoat’s Nest.

The accident occurred about 70 chains north of Star Bridge signal-box, which is 4 miles and 1 chain north of Red Hill.

The South-Eastern Railway Company were engaged in lifting, re-sleepering, and turning rails on the up line between Star Bridge and Stoat's Nest, 2 miles and 18 chains apart.

Proper notices had been issued to caution the drivers while the work was being done to run at reduced speed, and to keep a good look-out for any signals that might be exhibited.

The men quitted work at 5.50 p.m., having left the line, it is stated, in proper order, eo that they did not leave any signalman out to caution the drivers to reduce their speed.

Edward Elliot, engine-driver 28 years, states "that he was the driver of the engine No. 181 that took the 10.35 p.m. up mail train from Brighton on the 18th .June: that he left Brighton about l0h. 35m., and had an engine and tender, two break-vans, and four carriages: that they stopped at Hassock’s Gate, next Hayward’s Heath, then at Red Hill junction, and got there at 11.25 p.m., according to his watch, which was right time: that he left Red Hill junction about 11.27, and proceeded all right through Merstham tunnel, and to the London side of Star Bridge, travelling at the rate of upwards of 40 miles an hour, but he could not speak to a mile or so, and was running at the regular speed to keep time, when he felt a bit of a shock, and immediately they were in among the ballast, and he shut off the steam as they got in among the ballast : that there was a little oscillation, not a great deal, before they left the rails, and there was about l00 yards from the tail end of his train to where he found a broken metal : that he whistled when he got among the ballast: that he does not know of his own knowledge at what time this occurred: that he first went back to the broken metal, in about seven or eight minutes after the train had stopped, and after he had sent his mate ahead to stop the next down train : that he only noticed, when he went back the first time, what he thought was a metal broken into three pieces, but he did not then pick up any one of the pieces : that he then returned to his engine, began to fill the boiler with water, and got his mate to pull the fire out; his mate had returned while he was filling the boiler : the engine, tender, and leading break van were separated from the after part of the train, which remained coupled together, and both the front part and the after part of the train were both foul of the down line: that he sat down a little before he went back again to the broken metal, but he does not know at what time it was when he got there: that the under-guard and the fireman of the down goods train were with him when be went back the second time : that one of the passengers was also there when he got there the second time: that he saw a rail broken lying on its side close to the chairs,--a piece of rail about four or five feet in length, and a shorter  piece, about a foot long, standing upright against a chair, what he remembers about it,-- and these two pieces were not connected together by any fish-plate; and he did not seany fish-plate nor fish-bolts lying near these two pieces of rail : that he did not notice the long piece of broken rail about " 19 or 20 feet in length : that there were some broken chairs, but he did not particularly notice them, and the under guard pitch one of these chairs away: that he did not notice anything about the sleepers where broken rail was: that he picked up the short piece of broken rail, and the goods fireman took it to his engine: that Mr. Johnson, permanent way inspector, took the short piece of rail from his engine, and it was sent back to the place where the rail had been broken : that he had not reported the state of the line as being out of order from the mouth of the tunnel to where the accident occurred, but there was room for it to be reported : that the engines did not seem to run so nicely and so steadily over that part : that he did not see any fish-plates or fish-bolts, but did not particularly search for them : that he had run over that part of the line the week before safely: that he had no fear of running over it at the rate of between 40 and 50 miles an hour, but the line was not in the state in which it should have been : that he has not  been running much over this line lately : that he knows he was not running at any excessive speed for that particular road in the condition in which it then was : that he knew that the road between Star Bridge and Stoat's Nest was being lifted, re-sleepered, and the rails turned on the up line : that " he had seen a notice to that effect : that he had seen a notice that they were to run at reduced speed over that part of the line, but he saw no hand-signals : that it was; a fine night : neither himself or his  mate were hurt.

Edwin Briant, fireman to Edward Elliot, fireman five years and four months in the service of the London, Brighton, nod South Coast Railway Company, states that he was with the up mail train from Brighton on the 18th instant, and all went right until they had passed through the Merstham tunnel, and past the Star Bridge signal-box : that they were off the rails and among the ballast before he knew that anything was amiss : that they were running at their ordinary speed at the time they got off: that he did not perceive anything unusual in the running of the train before they got off the line : that as soon as they stopped he was sent ahead to stop the next down train, and it might have been an hour or more before he went back to the spot where the train had got off the rails; and before he went back a broken piece of rail had been
brought to his engine : that when he went back there were one or two platelayers standing about: that he did not see fish-plates or fish-bolts where the broken rails lay : that he looked about 1 1/2 yards where the rail was broken, and did not see any : saw that several of the chairs were broken : saw the long piece of the rail that was broken, about 19 or 20 feet in length : that it seemed to him that the end next the tunnel was in the chairs, but be did not take particular notice : that he saw one or two keys lying about, but did not see any 
in the chairs : those he saw were crushed keys: that he did not notice whether the sleepers under the long rail had been shifted to either side of the line: that he does not know when the accident occurred: that he looked to see if he could ascertain what had caused the accident; and be looked for " the fish-plates, and there were no fish-plates or fish-bolts there: that his mate had called his attention to the fish-plates before ho went back: that he looked to the place where the end of the rail was broken off for the fish-plates, not at the other end of the rail: that he did not think it was necessary to look over a greater space for the fish-plates: that he saw the broken piece of rail on the foot-plate of the engine while he was drawing the fire, but· he did not see anything else on the engine connected with the permanent way, and did not know that a broken chair had been taken up by one. of the " guards : does not know of any one having possession of a broken bolt that was picked up athat spot.

Charles Costello, head guard of the 10.35 p.m. up mail train from Brighton states that his train consisted of engine and tender No.181, and six vehicles: that he left Brighton at 10.36; reached Hassock’s Gate at 10.49, and left at 10.51; reached Hayward’s Heath at 10.59, and left at 11.1; reached Red Hill junction at 11.26, and left 11.27; and he rode in the front van,  and after passing Star Bridge signal-box he found his van oscillating a good deal, when they were running about their usual rate, and after some little time he found that his van was off the rails, and the train stopped : that he did nothing towards stopping it ; did not put on his break: this occurred at 11.37, when he got outside of his van : that he told the driver to send his mate ahead to stop a down train, and his own mate had already gone back to protect the tail of his train : that he endeavoured to pacify the passengers, and in a few minutes afterwards he went back to endeavour to ascertain what had caused the accident, and went to where the rail was broken : that he found two separate pieces of rail, one about one foot in length, and the other about four feet in length, not lying in chairs, and they were not connected together : that he went back with two of the passengers, but there were no platelayers there : that the driver of his engine was not there at that time : that there were one or two " broken chairs, but he did not notice any fish-plates, " broken or sound, nor any fish-bolts ; neither did he " see any keys, broken or sound. It was a fine night, not particularly light; it could not be called a moon light night: that he had his hand lamp with him, and it was with the aid of the light of the hand lamp that he saw these things: that he did not notice whether the Brighton end of the broken rail was fastened to the next rail, and he did not notice the long piece of the broken rail: that he took the small piece of the rail in his hand an noticed, where it was broken, that it looked particularly bright, which convinced him that there was no flaw in it: that he put it back again, and returned to the train, but he did not take anything with him, such as a broken chars: that he had not formed any opinion as to what had caused the accident: that the oscillation he noticed was after they left the rails, but nothing of the kind before: that no passengers went back before him, and he thinks that he was the first person to go back, before any passenger went: that he did not look for any fish-plates or bolts, and saw none: that the piece of rail which he picked up was not attached to any other rail, or piece of a rail: that he did not hear the driver whistle: that if he had whistled he should have heard him: that neither the gentleman nor himself picked up any bolts that he can call to mind: that he was hurt across the bridge of the nose, which was bleeding; and he thinks he looked at his watch within one minute or less from the time of stopping.

George Clare, head-guard of the np mail train, between 14 or 15 years in the service of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company as a guard, states that they left Red Hill junction at 11h. 27m. by his watch, and the accident took place " about 11h. 37m. by his watch, and he looked at his watch as soon as he had lit his lamp, which was put out by the jolting on the bank not half a minute after they had stopped : that, there was nothing unusual in the running of the train after leaving Red Hill junction, until the accident occurredthat they were running about their usual speed, and he was not aware that anything was wrong until they ran right off the road: that he went back, as soon as it happened, to protect the tail of his train, but he did not notice the spot where they had got off the rails as he went back : that be went back to Star Bridge box, and then returned to the train : that as he came back he looked to see the cause of the mishap, and he found two rails broken : that Costello and a passenger were at the broken rails, but there were no platelayer's : that he first noticed that there were two broken rails (right rail from Brighton) and several broken chairs: that he could not say whether the tunnel end of the broken rail was in any chair, neither did he notice whether it was joined to the rail next to the south by any fish- plates : that he thinks he would have noticed if it had been separated from the rail to the south : that the broken rail was in its upright position in the chairs ; did not notice the keys; and he believes it continued in the chairs up to the place where it was broken, but he could not say positively: that the 4-ft. piece of rail was several inches away from the end of the long piece, but it was in a chair, which had one of its jaws broken, the outside jaw; but he could not say whether it was in more than one chair: that he did not notice whether the long piece of rail was keyed on the inside or on the outside: that the 4-ft. piece of rail and the 1-ft. piece of rail were not connected together: there was once fish-plate, nearly opposite to the joint lying in the 4-ft.: there was no fish-bolt in it, and he did not see any fish-bolts, broken or sound, lying near that joint: that he did not see any other fish-plate besides t.be one he has mentioned : that he does not think the sleepers under the broken rail were shifted: that he picked up a broken chair with one check off, and showed it to his own driver: that broken chair had some wood in it, but no iron work; the wood was hollow, as if a spike had been in it; this chair was picked up beyond the broken joint : that he did not look particularly for bolts or fishplates."

John Townsend, fireman to the 9.40 p.m. down goods train from the Bricklayers Anns to Brighton, stats, that his train got to the scene of the accident somewhere about 11.45, having been stopped by the fireman of the up mail train : that he first helped the fireman of the up mail train engine to get the fire out, and then he and the driver of the up mail train walked back to see what was the  cause of the train getting off the rails : and after walking about 100 yards from the tail of the mail train, they found a broken rail, left rail, as  they were walking: that they found a piece of a rail which might be rather more than 1 foot long; it was lying by the side of a chair, a broken chair: that the driver picked this piece of rail up first,  and he carried it for the driver to the engine: that he did not notice any other piece of rail broken that he did not see: any fish-plates or fish-bolts near " this broken piece of rail, noli he did not particularly look for them, and he noticed nothing else : that there was no fish-plate or fished bolt attached to this piece of rail which the driver picked up, and the driver told him to carry it to his engine.

James Barndale, ganger of the extra gang of men employed in lifting, re-sleepering, and turning the rails between Stoat's Nest and Star Bridge on the 18th instant, states that he had charge of this kind of work a little over two years, and he had a body of men with him employed on that part of the line where the accident occurred: that they left off work at half-past 5 o'clock, and they were working from Stoat's Nest southwards towards Star bridge: that he knows the spot where the accident occurred, and where the two broken rails were found: that they had re-sleepered two lengths of rails (24-feet rails) south of the first broken rail that was found after the accident: that they shifted the gauge on these lengths where it was wanted, and had lifted the rails 17 lengths beyond or southwards: that they had put some new sleepers in, he could not say how many, on the two lengths south of the broken rail, where they were wanted, and fresh chairs on the new sleepers: the new chairs were fastened by hollow trenails, with a spike through them, on the old sleepers; they took the chairs off, fresh bedded the, bored fresh holes, and drove a plug down, and a spike to it; caused a sharp spike to be driven through the plug: in some case the holes in the chairs were not large enough for the spiked trenail, and then they made use of the wooden plugs: that they had not turned the first rail (inside of the curve) south of the broken rail, and he does not know whether they had turned the second; and he did not spike any of the chairs south of these two lengths of rails; they had put in three new sleepers under the south most broken rail, and that these were the last three nearest the London end of the rail; these had new chairs on them; these three sleepers had the chairs fastened by trenail and a spike; these new sleepers were five inches deep; that he does not know what was done to the other sleepers, or the chairs on them, and he could not sat whether any of the chairs were plugged and spikes; that they find it answer to use a plug in chairs which have been constructed for spikes; that some of the spike holes might be a little worn, and they put the plugs in to keep the spikes firm; that some of the keys in  some of the chairs under the broken rail were old, and some were new, and they used the old keys if they were fitted to in again, that he looks to the lifting and straightening, and when he left it that night all was right; that he considers it was good ballast, partly of shingle and partly gravel; that he got to the scene of the accident about 12.20 to 12.30 a.m.: that he came up the line from the tunnel direction, and when he got there, there was no one at the spot where the two rails were broken; the first broken rail was connected to the next rail was connected to the next rail to the south by two fish plates with four bolts in (sound); the long piece of rail was lying in the chairs; that with the exception of one or two which were broken at the north end, the keys were in the chairs, and the broken keys were in the chairs, and the broken keys also were in the chairs; the sleepers were in the same state as he had left them, and had not been shifted to the right or left; there would be about eight sleepers under the long piece, and two under the short piece; that the three chairs at the north end of the 24 feet broken rail were all broken, and had the inside jaws of the chairs broken off; that he could not say whether any of the outside jaws of these chairs were broken; that that there were none of the jaws of the chairs south of those three broken off; that the 4 feet piece of broken rail was laying down in the 4-feet space: that there was one fish-plate that lay two or three feet ahead of the joint lying in the 4-feet: that they did not find the other fish-plate : that there were two fished bolts broken, lying down against the joint, but they did not find any more: that he did not see any mark on the top of the rail south of the broken rail : that the side of the broken rail was heavily marked, and the broken end of the 4-feet piece was marked on the end: that he saw the mark on the top of the short piece of broken ro.il : that there was one crooked piece about two or three lengths south of the broken rail,-nothing to hurt: that he put it right, after the accident, perhaps about o'clock in the morning, before any train passed over it: if the sleepers are bad they take them " up: some of these taken out were not fit to go in again: that they left the cant from 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 inches.

Henry Dulake, ganger of the length on which the accident occurred, states that he got to the spot about 12.20 a.m., and went to the spot where the broken rails were found : that he could not say whether the long piece of the broken roil was secured to the rail to the south, neither can he say where it was lying : saw that the short piece of rail (four feet) was lying in the 4-feet space saw one fish-plate, but does not know where it was lying: saw four pieces of two fish-bolts, two lying in the 4-feet, but does not know where the others were : can't tell  how many chairs were broken: did not see any mark of a wheel of flange of a wheel on the rail, on the top of the rail south of the broken rail : that he saw nothing wrong with the road after the accident south of the broken rail : that he saw the state of  the line before leaving work the night before, and it was fit for the, usual speed, 60 miles an hour very often.

Mr. James Williams, superintendent of the London, Brighton, and South Const Railway, states that he was called at Croydon about 1 a.m., and immediately proceeded to the scene of the accident, and met with the break-down gang at Croydon, and went down with them : that he had learnt, before starting, that the train had run off the road near Star Bridge, blocking both up and down lines, but that no passengers were injured: that on arriving at the scene of the accident he saw driver Elliott, and asked him if he knew the cause of leaving the rail, and he said it was in consequence of a broken rail, and that he had the broken piece on his engine: that he then went back to the rear of the train, and to the spot where the rail was broken, and saw one rail much bent, and a piece, of 4 ft. 3 in. in length, at the north end of it was broken off, and was lying out of the chairs in the 4-feet : the platelayers were standing by, not doing anything, stating that they did not like to make any alterations until somebody had come and seen the road: and seeing the up road particularly as well as the down one required repairing, he thought they would be able to get the engine and carriages on the rail'! by the time the platelayers could get the line in order to receive traffic, and he told them to set about repairing the' road at once, and he sent to Mr. Perry, the permanent-way district engineer, to come and examine the line: that he noticed that the long piece of the broken rail was in the chairs, and fastened to tho next rail to the south by fish-plates, but he did not notice the keys: that he observed that the sleepers under the long piece had been shifted towards the 6-feet: that he did not see any fish-plates or fished bolt. neither did he look for them: that he asked driver Elliott if there was any fish-plate attached to the broken rail which he had carried off; and he answered that there was not, and he did not see any : that he got there about 2 a.m.; it was not then light enough to see any mark on the rails : that after Mr. Perry arrived, he called attention to a mark of a wheel having mounted the right-hand rail about 18 inches south of the joint of the first broken rail,  and it was very clear evidence that that was the first  spot where the first wheel had mounted the rail: that it was his impression that it was the leading wheel of the engine which first mounted, and that the driving wheel did not mount the rail, but forced it out until it broke, and then the whole train left the rails at that spot: that Mr. Perry also called his attention to the road south of the spot where the mishap occurred, being some what out of line, about 4 o'clock, then being daylight: that after half past 5 o'clock p.m. there were 24 up trains, including the train which met with the accident, of which nine were goods trains: that he had not received any report from any of these men, drivers or others, that the road was out of order : that he examined the end of the short piece of rail, 4 ft. 3 in. in length and he could see that fish-plates had been on recently. Complaints have been received from 16 people: that be would not have liked to have been a train running over a rood in that state at high speed: that it was crooked, and out of line south of the scene of the accident.

Archibald Harrison Perry, district engineer on the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway, states that he got to the scene of the accident about 3.40a.m., and spoke to Mr. Williams ; and Mr. Williams suggested that he should look carefully to the state of the permanent way : that he walked to the rear of the train, and traced the condition of the up road to where the two rails had been broken and replaced ; this appeared to be the spot where the accident bad originated : the ganger (Barndale) told him that these two fresh rails were substituted in place of two which had been taken out,  and he pointed to those which had been taken out : that ho examined those two rails ·(broken), and noticed the butt end of the joint (south end) showed  an indent (slight) about half-an-inch from the

inner side of the flange, and a mark on the top of the rail at the south end for about five feet northwards, and this mark indicated that the wheel had dropped off outside at that point : that he then examined the next rail further to the south, which had not been replaced, and there was a mark from the joint, for about 18 inches, which exactly corresponded with the mark on the first broken rail that he then again examined the two broken rails, and about 12 feet from the south end of the south rail, there were distinct marks of wheel flanges having passed over the top of the rail up to the part where the rail was fractured, and then the marks ceased as the wheels dropped off': that he then examined the second rail, which had a piece broken from the end, about one foot long, which he was told by the ganger had been taken away by the engine drive, and he expressed his disapproval of their having done so, and his remark was conveyed to Mr. Williams, and shortly afterwards the piece was sent back; that he then examined the road from the point where he believed the engine first mounted; the first two lengths south had been repaired, and about 15 or 16 lengths further south had been lifted, but not repaired; that he put his eye down to both rails to examine the top, and the level was very good; the super elevation was uniform, but in sighting the line of the rails he noticed that it was very crooked; that he examined minutely the condition of the inner flanges of the tails where the crooks or bends occurred, and there were indications of very severe friction, such as would be caused by the engine oscillating violently; that he next noticed the condition of the sleepers, chairs, and fastenings; that a great many of the sleepers had been adzed down under the chair bases; many of spikes were loose; that he measured some of the sleepers which had been taken out, and the section of the timber left after the adzing had been completed varied from 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 inches or 5 inches; that most of the sleepers were half round sleepers. that the adzing down confined mostly to the inner rail of the curve; that he found the gauge spiked tight round the curves, about 1/8 of an inch tight; that his attention was called to the plugging, and it had been suggested to him as the cause of so many of the sleepers being split, as there were many split, and many split on the part south of the portion which had been lifted, re-sleepered, and rails turned; that many of the sleepers lying by the side of the line which were split might have been split by accident; that the 17 lengths the sleepers which had been lifted had not been boxed in, that it had been roughed in.

R. Mansell, mechanical engineer of the South Eastern Railway, states that in his opinion the leading cause of the accident was the want of sustaining power in the right leading spring of the engine, caused by the fracture of so many plates, thus throwing the weights diagonally across the engine in running, and to the less depth of the flanges of the wheels of the Brighton engine; but he does not say that the flanges of the Brighton engine are too shallow

Wm. Stroudley, Locomotive Superintendent of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway, states that in his opinion the engine was in good order. The engine No. 181 was built by Messrs. Beyer, Peacock, anti Co. in 1864, and it is o. tender-engine with four wheels coupled behind ( diameter 6 ft. ), leading wheels 4ft., cylinders 16" 22", L. to D. 7' 6"; D. to T. 7' 6"; = 15 ft. total wheel base. In August 1873 the engine was thoroughly repaired in the Company's workshops, Brighton, and weighed, " before being placed in traffic, (the boiler on this occasion having 2 inches of water in glass,), as " follows:-

LEFT SIDE 

Left leading 5 tons

Left driving 6 tons 8 Cwts

Left Trailing 4 tons 5 Cwts

Totals 15 tons 13 Cwts

RIGHT SIDE 

Right leading 5 tons

Right driving 6 tons 7 Cwts

Right Trailing 4 tons 4 Cwts

Totals 15 tons 11 Cwts

TOTAL

Leading 19 tons

Driving 12 tons 15 Cwts

Trailing 8 tons 9 Cwts

Totals 31tons 4 Cwts

Between September 13th and October 8th, 1876, it was supplied with a heavier crank shaft, and with wheels having thicker tyres.

On May 1st, 1877, the engine was taken out of traffic for slight repairs, when the leading wheels were turned up. These wheels, from May 17th, 1877, to June 18th, 1877, had run 3,535 miles only. The whole of the wheels were true to gauge.

After the accident the engine was weighed again at Brighton, on June 28th, the boiler on this occasion being  full : -

LEFT SIDE 

Left leading 4 tons 19 Cwts

Left driving 6 tons 19 Cwts

Left Trailing 5 tons 1 Cwts 2 Qrs

Totals 16 tons 19 Cwts 2 Qrs

RIGHT SIDE 

Right leading 5 tons 6 Cwts

Right driving 7 tons 17 Cwts

Right Trailing 3 tons 9 Cwts

Totals 16 tons 12 Cwts

TOTAL

Leading 10 tons 5 Cwts

Driving 14 tons 16 Cwts

Trailing 8 tons 10 Cwts 2 Qrs

Totals 33tons 11 Cwts 2 Qrs

The whole of the springs belonging to this engine " were taken out of their buckles and examined at Brighton on June 28th, 1877 :-

Left leading spring right 18 plates  3/4"  x 4” Nos. 10 & 11plates broken

Right leading springs 18 plates 3/4"  x 4” 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, & 15 plates broken

Left driving springs 18 plates 3/4"  x 4” All Sound

Left trailing springs 18 plates 3/4"  x 4" All Sound

Right trailing springs 18 plates 3/4"  x 4” All Sound

Four volute springs under inside driving axle boxes were sound.

The damage sustained by the engine, as far as can be seen, is as follows:-

R. H. outside crank shifted, R. H. crank pin bent, R. H. side rod bent, R. H. foo plate of engine and tender damaged; rear of tender forced in and trailing break-iron broken; spring between engine and tender broken.

The train consisted of six vehicles, made up thus:-

No. 181 engine and tender 52 tons 11 Cwts 2 Qrs

No. 136 post office mail break  7 tons 2 Cwts 1 Qrs

No. 38 composite 7 tons 0 Cwts 2 Qrs

No. 154 second class 6 tons 18 Cwts

No 86 first class 6 tons 1 Cwts

No. 117 composite 7 tons 16 Cwts 

No. 139 passenger break 7 tons 2 Cwts 2 Qrs

Total 94 tons 11 Cwts 3 Qrs

The damages to carriage is as follows : -

No. 136 (first carriage), mail break.-Both ends one foot-board and three step-irons broken, and soles slightly damaged. Wheels turned up, November  lst, 1876.

No. 38 (second carriage), composite One foot board and two step-irons broken. Two step-irons and soles slightly damaged. Wheels turned up, " July 27th, 1876.

No. 154 (third carriage), second-class.Two footboards, four step-irons, one tension-plate, and two end panels broken. Soles slightly damaged. Wheels new, May 5th, 1877.

"No. 86 (fourth carriage), first class, Two foot-boards and four step-irons broken. Soles slightly broken. Wheels turned up, June 24th, 1876.

No. 117 (fifth carringe), composite Four end  panels and one corner pillar broken. Wheels turned up, September 2nd, 1876.

No. 139 (sixth carriage), break.--One footboard and two step-irons broken. Wheels turned up, September 13th, 1876.

The whole of the wheels true to gauge.

That the springs have not been interfered with or changed within the last three months, during which time it had run 3,535 odd miles: that, although the right leading spring had six broken plates, these were so firmly held together by the buckle that the breakage could not be perceived either by examination or by testing on the weighing machine : that he knows of no cause in the engine which could have contributed to its leaving the rails: that the " flanges of the leading wheels were turned to their standard gauge ; the right flange was slightly worn, but was still in perfect order. The depth of the flanges of the Brighton engines is 1 1/16, and those of the South-Eastern are 1 3/16

Wm. Johstone, inspector of permanent way, London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway, states that he agrees with Mr. Perry's statements, and that the part lifted was not in good line, south of the part where the engine had run off: that there was no part with a tighter gauge than 1/8 of an inch : that there were many sleepers split on the part of the line which had been lifted: that he is positive there were more than five which had been split: that he has been an inspector of permanent way 3 1/2 years, and 17 years in the Company's service ; employed all the time on that class of work : that he does not think the road, for the 15 or 17 lengths where it had been lifted south of the broken rails, was in a fit state to run a train at 40 miles an hour over it : that he is not nervous,

and be should not have minded running over it at that rate of speed: that he passed over it at 2.30 in the afternoon, riding in a second-class carriage, perhaps at 30 miles an hour,-it might have been 40 miles an hour, and at that time there was nothing in the state of the running of the carriage to cause him to think the road was not in good order: that it was rather rough: that there was a flag out at that time : that he thinks the road was weak, where the accident occurred, from the state of the sleepers, chairs, and fastenings : that the class of express engines like No. 181 are not in the habit of oscillating when running at ordinary speeds : that some of these engines run at a mile a minute, and he has seen them do so, but be has not timed them : that he does not think that they run a mile in a minute between Merstham tunnel and Stoat's Nest box: that he would have left the road in the same state with respect to the ballast athat was left on the day of the accident. that they expect when rails are turned that the road will be a little rough.

Jolln Brooks, inspector of permanent way two years, and sub-inspector previous]y for ten years, in the service of the South-Eastern Railway Company, states. that he was in charge of the district which included lifting re-sleepering, and turning rails between Star Bridge and Stoat's Nest, on the 18th June: that he examined the road right through from Stoat's Nest to Merstham on the 18th June, and found everything in very good condition, and had no fault to find with anything : that he left it at half post two o'clock p.m. : that he got to the scene of the accident between five and half past five o'clock the next morning : that he tried to ascertain the cause of the train· getting off the rails, but he could not tell the cause : that he saw the spot where it apparently commenced : that there was a little mark on the top of the right rail, next to the south of the first rail that was broken, but he could not say that it was made by the flange of a wheel : that on the second rail to the south (left rail) there was a mark or cut, showing something sheared off, the flange of the left rail, about six feet back from the north joint: that he could not tell what had done that shearing, but it continued nearly up to the joint: that he believes that nothing had been done to the road south of the left rail which had been sheared that morning : that there were no crooks or bends in the line south of that left rail, and nothing whatever the matter with that part of the road: that about 70 chairs had been taken out as a consequence of the accident, broken all from under the right rail: 41 sleepers were split and 45 damaged by running over them: this does not include any which were taken out before the accident: none of the sleepers that were split were in a bad state, except as regards their being split: that there was a continuation of the slight mark on the south part of the first rail that was broken, and it continued from the joint until it had passed over the rail: that he thinks this mark was made by a carriage wheel, as it was a light mark : that the inside of that rail was nearly sheared off, up to the part where it broke: that he does not know what damage was done under the first broken rail, there was a heavy mark on the short piece of the next rail ahead which was broken, which must have been made by something which was very heavy: that he cannot. tell what was the cause of the accident : it might have been excess of speed, but he could not think it was due to the state of u the permanent way : that about a dozen sleepers might require to be taken out on the part of the road which had been lifted and opened out 14 lengths, and the sleepers in these 14 lengths were not generally in a bad state: that none of the sleepers which had been taken out were in a bad state: that 40 miles an hour was not an excessive rate of speed for the road in the condition that it was, south of the scene of the accident: that the point where the broken rails occurred, the rails were turned on the Friday preceding the accident, and he would have missed a pair of fish plates, if any had been off: that it is part of his duties to examine the bolts.

When I visited the spot where the accident occurred on the 23rd ult., I found that it was the practice on the South Eastern Railway Company to keep th gauge generally tight, to the extent of 1/8 of an inch on this curve of 80 chains radius curving to the right and also to maintain a cant of about 2 3/4 inches. I also noticed that the end of the sleepers at inside of the the curve had in many instances been adzed down to a considerable extent, so that the thickness of those sleepers under the chairs did not in some instances exceed 2 1/2 inches. The particular mode of fastening the chairs to the sleepers also attracted my attention. In some cases this was done by means of a spiked treenail, which was unobjectionable, but in other cases a wooden plug had been inserted in the spike hole of the chair, a spike was then driven down alongside of the wooden plug.

The scene of the accident was pointed out to me, and I was shown a broken rail which had been taken out from the inside of the curve, a 24-feet rail, which was fractured at 19 feet 8 inches from its south end, and greatly bent, so that when this piece and the other broken piece of this rail, 4 feet 4 inches in length, were placed together, there was a curvature in it, to the extent of about I foot ; and the inside of this rail had the metal sheared off, up to the part where the fracture took place, where it was evident that some of the wheels of the engine had burst the line by breaking this rail, and got outside of it, The shearing commenced at about 3 feet from the south end of this rail, and slight trace were pointed out as if the flange of a right wheel had travelled for some distance from the south end on the top of this rail.

My attention was also called to the rail next to the south of this broken rail, the inside rail of the curve where the mark of the flange which I have just referred to could be traced back for about 18 inches, as being the first clear indication that a right wheel of some vehicle had mounted, and had run along on the top of the inner rail of the curve ; and I have no doubt whatever that this right wheel was the right leading wheel of the engine, which, after running some distance on the top of the rail, had dropped off out.side it into the 6-foot space.

The rail next ahead of this broken rail had a piece about I foot in length broken off from its south end, which also was heavily indented by the wheels of some vehicle. Some suspicion was directed by the driver and fireman of the Brighton up mail train to the question whether the joint at the north end of the first broken rail had been fi.shed, but, in my opinion, there was no ground for any such suspicion.

The permanent way at this part consisted of a double headed rail, weighing 81 lbs. to the yard, in lengths of 24 feet, fixed in cast-iron chairs, placed on 10 transverse sleepers to each rail's length. The chairs were originally fastened to the transverse sleeper by iron spikes or spiked trenails ; and the rails were secured in the choirs by wooden keys placed outside the rails.

A considerable portion of the ballast consisted of loose shingle, and its consistency evidently was not sufficient to prevent the sleepers under the first broken rail from being forced bodily to tho right, as, without such movement, or the absence of the wooden keys from the chairs at the outside of the right rail, it would have been impossible for that broken rail to have been bent to the extent it exhibited (1 foot), if the first six or seven chairs under this broken right rail had not been previously broken, whereas these chairs were sound.

This mail train is timed to run, according to the working time tables, at the rate of about 40 1/2 miles an hour between Red Hill junction and Caterham junction; and the driver states that he was running upwards of 10 miles on hour, but could not speak to a mile or so ; and the times at Star-Bridge signal box, when the train was telegraphed from Merstham and when it passed the signal box, would indicate a speed of nearly 45 miles an hour.

I annex a table forwarded to me by Mr. Williams, Superintendent of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway, showing the running of the same engine, No. 181, for six nights previous to the accident, and also the running of some other London and Brighton and South-eastern trains, for comparison with the running of the 10.35 p.m. train which met with the accident on the 18th ,June.

It was contended that the fact that no less than 23 up trains had passed over this portion of line between the time when the workmen left work, at 5 1/2 p.m., and the time when the accident occurred, about 11.37 p.m., was presumptive proof that the line was in good order. But this contention cannot be upheld, us the fact of so many trains passing, might have been the gradual means which converted a line that was apparently in good line when the men quitted their work into crooked line, as it was found when daylight appeared on the morning after the accident had taken placc.

I also inspected the engine and carriages, and I was informed that there was nothing in their condition that would throw any light on the probable causes which had led to this accident. But I suggested, and the suggestion was at once assented to on the part of the two Railway Companies concerned, that the engine should be sent to Brighton to be placed on the weighing machine, and the weights on the several wheels ascertained in the presence of an officer of each Company, and also that the springs should be examined after the buckles had been knocked off, for the purpose of seeing whether the whole of the springs were sound.

The result of such weighing and examination is stated in Mr. Stroudlcy's evidence, and in the letter from Mr. Mansell dated the 29th ultimo.

After full consideration of the whole of the circumstances which have been brought before me, I have arrived at the conclusion that the accident was caused by the Brighton up-mail being driven at too high a rate of speed, approaching, if it did not exceed, 50 miles an hour, over a portion of road which was at the time under repair, and which was not in a fit state for that high rate of speed ; and I think it probable that the want of proper adjustment of the weights on the several wheels of the mail train engine contributed to cause the oscillation which was noticed, and which preceded the accident taking place. The first marks of damage to the line are stated to have occurred on the two lengths of rails south of the first broken rail, which had been lifted, re-sleepered, and had the rails turned; and the first traces of disturbance in the line of the rails is said to have been on the 14 or 15 lengths of rails which had been lifted and roughed in.

I do not think the driver of the up-mail train is to blame for travelling at the rate he did, as no signals were exhibited to him to act as a warning that he should run at reduced speed.

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