on 24th December 1881

Involving Drivers William Day & Joseph Edward Moseley

Depot not known

Extracted & adapted from the report by


A collision which occurred on the early morning of the 24th ultimo, between light engine  and a passenger train at the Battersea Park station of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway during a thick fog.

It is stated that no persons were injured on this occasion.

The two last vehicles in the passenger train were knocked off the rails, and the third-class break-carriage at the rear of this train had two head stalls, two longitudinals is, and one diagonal broken, and two buffer rods bent.


Between Clapham Road and Wandsworth Road stations there are four lines of railway: the two western ones are used by the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company, as these form part of their South London system; and the offer two lines, the eastern ones, are used by the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway Company. The signal-boxes at these two stations are somewhere about 730 yards apart.

A signalman in the service of the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway Company was on duty, on the night of the collision, in the Wandsworth Road station signal-box, and the fog men employed on the line between these stations were all in the service of the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway Company; the fogman at the down distant-signal having, however, to puf; down fog-signals on the lines used by the two railway companies.

The Wandsworth Road station down platform is protected by a down home-signal placed 327 yards southwards from the signal-box, and also by a down distant-signal 252 yards outside the down home signal; the station is situated between the down home-signal and the signal-box. The down starting-signal is at. the Wandsworth Road signal-box.

'The Battersea Park Junction, sometimes called the York Road Junction, where the lines from Clapham junction and Wandsworth Road unite, is about. 1,240 yards from the Wandsworth Road signal box; and the Battersea Park Junction signal-box is about 116 yards north of the north end of tho down platform, which is a little over 
120 yards in length; and there is another signal-box, on and close to the south end of this down platform, called the Battersea Park station signal box. The down platform is protected by a down home-signal, which is 313 yards south of the junction signal-box, and 116 yards south of the south end of the down platform. The down distant-signal is 378 yards south of the down home signal.

The Battersea Park station signal-box is usually closed about. 7.30 p.m., but when there is fog, it is kept open till 11.30 p.m.

The regulations which prescribe the manner in which the fog signalling is to he performed are as follows :-.

9 Each fog-signalman must, before proceeding to his post, be supplied with  detonators (not less than.24), a hand signal-lamp, trimmed and lighted, and a red and green flag. If signalling for a distant-signal, he must place himself outside the signal in connection with which he works, and as far from it as is consistent with his keeping it well in sight; und whenever a train or engine has passed him in the direction of the box from which the signal is worked, or whenever the signal is placed at 'danger,' he must immediately fix two detonators, 10 yards apart, on one rail of the line for which he is signalling, and when he is satisfied that the train or engine has gone forward, that the line is clear, and the distant-signal lowered, he must remove tho detonators. If he becomes aware of any obstruction existing on the line in the immediate neighbourhood of the signal for which he is signalling, either from a train or engine not having gone forward, m• from any other cause, he must leave the detonators on the rail and go, back along the line (showing a red light with his hand-lamp) a sufficient distance to protect such obstruction, and must there place on one rail of the line for which he is signalling two detonators, 10 yards apart, and return to within sight of tho distant-signal; and when he is satisfied that the obstruction has been removed, he must go and take up the more distant detonators and return to his post.

When fog-signalmen are employed in connection with home-signals, they must place two detonators_ on one rail of each line for which the signal is at danger and carry out any  instructions they may receive from the signalman on duty.

Guards must, in all cases, act strictly in accordance with the rules laid down in the General Book of Rules and Regulations, and must not depend upon fog-signal-men for the protection of their trains.


Edward Hagan, platelayer in the service of the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway Company, and employed as fogman on the early morning of the 24th December in the down distant-signal worked from Wandsworth Road signal-box (London Bridge to Victoria), states: About 12.15 a.m. the last passenger train from London Bridge to Victoria passed without stopping at the distant signal where l was as it was "on'" for it to go forward. At the same time there was a train belonging to the London, Chatham, and Dover Company also going to Victoria; that also passed without stopping, and about four minutes after the London, Brighton, and  South Coast train to Victoria had passed, a light engine came forward from London Bridge on the same line of rails, and passed without stopping, although the distant-signal was on at "danger" against him. It was not very foggy at that time; it was sufficiently clear for the  signals to be seen by the driver of the light engine. The driver whistled a little as he passed me. I was standing between the London, Chatham, and Dover and the London, Brighton, and south Coast Railways. I had no fog-signals down on the rails on the Brighton Company's line. I was attending to I the London, Chatham, and Dover' train. I had gone across to take off the fog·signals on that line before the London, Chatham, and Dover train came up, as

I had heard the signals come off for that train. I showed a white light with my hand-lamp to both of the passenger trains, as the signals were off. There was an interval of two or three minutes between the passing of the two passenger trains. The signals for two passenger trains were both off at the same time. The light engine was travelling rather fast as it passed me about 10 miles per hours. I showed a red light to the engine driver, and thought he had acknowledged seeing it by sounding the whistle. The stream was on when the light engine passed. That is all I know about the matter. The signals for the Chatham train dropped just as the Brighton train passed.

George Armstead, platelayer, acting as fogman on the night of the 23rd December, in the service of the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway Company, state: I was stationed at Wandsworth Road down home or stop signal. The signal is some distance east of the station platforms. I stood between the platform and down home or stop signal. The London, Brighton, and South Coast last passenger train was a little late that night. The home or stop sign; was off when the passenger train arrived and passed me. I do not know whether it stopped at the Wandsworth Road station or not. After it passed, the home signal was put to "danger." I put fog signals on the rails as soon as that signal was put to "danger." I put down two fog signals, and between three of four minutes afterwards a light engine came up; but before it reached the stop signals, the home or stop signal was lowered, and I knocked off fog signals from the rails, and that engine did not stop at the at the home or stop signal. I am confident about it, but I think the steam was off. I think it was not running more than about five miles an hour when it passed. The engine was in sight from where I stood when the stop signal was lowered. It had been foggy during the day, but it had cleared off. The engine might have been about 100 yards away when I first saw it. I cannot say whether the stop signal was at danger when I first saw the light engine or not.

Michael Cahill, signalman one year and ten months in the service of the London, chatham, and Dover railway Company, states I was on duty in the Brighton box at the Wandsworth Road station, and came on duty at 6.5 p.m. The last passenger train from London Bridge to Victoria station passed my box at 12.12 a.m. A light engine had passed my box at 11.57 p.m., and I had received "line clear" for that engine at 12.1 a.m. I signalled the last passenger train to Victoria forward at 12.11 a.m., and got the acknowledgement signal at the same time. I lowered the down distant and down stop signal for that last passenger train to come into the station at 12.9 a.m. I pulled over the lever for the down distant signal at that time, but I do not know wether the signal came off. I do not know whether the down home signal came off when I pulled over the lever. As the last passenger train approached my box, either the guard, driver or fireman, or it might have been some one at the station, I do not know which, shouted and asked if it was all right to go on to York Road; and I answered "Yes, all right." It might be running four or five miles an hour at that time I received the "on" signal for a light engine from Clapham Road station at 12.13 a.m. I accepted it. I lowered my home-signal for that light-engine between 12.14 and 12.15 a.m., but I did not take off  the distant-signal. I did not take off' the distant-signal because I had not got "Line clear" from York Road for the preceding train (the last passenger train to Victoria). I did not take it off at all. I did not take off the down starting-signal; that also remained at danger. I did not signal that light-engine on to York Road. I placed a hand-lamp, showing a red light towards the station, but there were no fog-signals placed at the starting-signal. That light- engine ran past my box at 12.17 a.m. I could not say whether the steam was on or off. I could not say at what rate it ran by. I then went to the speaking instrument, and called York Road junction or Battersea Park station. It was about the best part of a minute before I got attention. The message was : - I told the signalman that an engine had gone against my signal, and to send and have her stopped. The reply I received was "Train in station." I could not see the down distant-signal worked from the York Road station. I sent this message three times before it was understood, and it was acknowledged finally about 12.10 or 12.20. The second time I sent the message I got a reply, "Not clear,'' and then I repented it a third time. It was thick at the time. I could not see out of the box a distance of 15 yards at the time. I do not know where the engine was when I pulled off the home-signal. The red light in my box would be rather higher than the top of the chimney of the engine. No question was shouted out to me by the driver or fireman of the light engine as it passed my box. The starting-signal is at my box.

John Graves, signalman at York Road junction, in the service of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company, 10 1/2 years a signalman, states: I came on duty at 9 p.m. on the 23rd December. The last passenger train from London Bridge was signalled on to me from Wandsworth Road signal box at 12.10 a.m. I accepted that signal at that time. I did not then take off the signals for that train. The 11.35 from West Croydon was signalled on to me from Pouparts junction at 12.11. I pulled the signals off for that train. It passed my box after being in the station at 12.15 a.m., then I pulled the rear (or home) signal off for the London Bridge train to come into the station. I did not pull the distant-signal off for that train. I received message from Wandsworth Road station about 12.10 or 12.20, "that engine had run past the signal." I then went to tho window of my box to see if I could hear that this train was in the station; then the signalman at the Wandsworth Road gave me a sharp ring upon the . gong, five or six beats, to call attention to the speaking message. He told me again, " Engine ran past the signal ; send some one back." I left the speaking instrument, and did not then know whether the London Bridge train was in the station or not, and then put the rear signal on to danger. I had told the signalman at Wandsworth Road that the line was not clear before I put the rear signal on to danger, but the train was in the station. The station master at Battersea Park then come up to me, but I had previously called out to the fogman, but could not make anyone hear, and the station-master asked if I know that the train was in the station. I got a "Line clear" for the West Croydon train from Battersea Park at 12.21 a.m. I then signalled, the London Bridge train on I but Mr. Mead, the station master, told me that the train could not leave the station as some of it was off the road. I do not know at what time it was knocked off the road.

William Anker, platelayer, acting as fogman in the service of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company, states: I was on duty at the Battersea Park stop-signal on the night of the 23rd December. The last train from London Bridge came up to the stop-signal about 12.12 a.m. and slopped at it. I had put down fog signals, and they were exploded by the last passenger train; that train stopped two or three minutes, the stop-signal was lowered for the train to enter the station; and as soon as it had gone forward to the station, I went back about 50 yards beyond the stop-signal, and put down two more fog-signals. It. was very thick at that time, and no sooner had I put the fog signals down than the engine came up and ran over the fog signals and exploded them. The engine stopped as soon as it had run over the fog signals ; and I said to the driver, " Wait a little, and I will go and look to the state of the signal." The driver had stopped short of the stop-signal, a good way behind it, and when I found the signal off I holloed out to the driver that it was "All right," as the signal was off. The engine then went on, and the collision took place immediately. The stop signal was put on at danger directly the engine ran into the afterparty of the train. I do not know when the collision occurred. It might be five, six, or seven minutes between the time when I saw the stop signal lowered for the London Bridge passenger train to enter the station, and when I called out to the driver of the light engine, "All right," and he went on.

Joseph Edward Moseley, engine driver nearly 10 years in the service of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company, states: I was driving No. 70 tank engine on the night of the l0th December, and was proceeding from London Bridge to Battersea yard. I found the distant-signal from Wandsworth Road on; the stop-signal for the same station was off; and when I got into the station, the one over the box, the starting signal, that also was off. I did not see the signalman then, neither did I see a red light exhibited from his box. I did not run over any fog signals in that section, viz., between Clapham Road and Wandsworth Road. The next signal was the distant-signal worked from York Road or Battersea Park station; that distant signal was on. l ran past it, and proceeded towards York Rond home or stop-signal, and I pulled up before I could see the signal at all; I judged the distance. I ran over fog signals before I stopped at the third bridge after leaving Wandsworth Rond station. My mate called out to the fogman, a How are you ? and he answered, "Wait half" a minute, and I will see;" and very shortly afterwards the fogman called out, "All right, driver." I saw the fogman as I passed, and the signal also, and it was off. When I was half a carriage length from the train in front I saw the t.ail lights, and I turned round to put the Westinghouse break on, but the collision took place immediately, as there was no time for the break to act; the fog was so dense. It was 12.23 a.m. by my watch when this occurred. The starting signal at Wandsworth Road is above the top of the box. I might be able to touch the windows of the signal-box from the engine with my hand. The starting-signal was about the same height as the home signal at Wandsworth Road. I did not pull up at the Wandsworth Road platform. I think I was not travelling above four or five miles an hour when I passed the Wandsworth Road starting signal.

William Day, engine-driver 8 years, and 18 years in the service of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company, states: I was driving the engine of the last passenger train (11.35) from London Bridge on the night of the 23rd December. I had 10 carriages on. The signals at the Wandsworth Road station were at "All right" for me to go on, and the distant signal worked from the Battersea Park station was on, and the home or stop signal was also on. I got there about 12.10 a.m., and stopped at the home signal. I ran over two fog signals at the distant and two at the home signal. I stopped about two or three minutes at the home signal, and then drew into the station. I do not know whether the West Croydon train had gone on when l got into the station or not. I got a signal from the guard in three or four minutes that he was ready to start. I was ready. I did not whistle for the signal to be taken off, athe fogman was there. was waiting three or four minutes in the station after was ready for the starting-signal to be taken off. I do not. know when my train was run into. Two carriages were partly knocked off the rails. The road was cleared about half past 2 o'clock

Alfred Monk, head guard of the 11.35 a.m. train 

the from London Bridge on the 23rd December, states: My train consisted of 10 carriages, and I rode in the front van. We stopped at the Battersea Park home-signal about. 12.12, and stopped there two minutes. We were ready to go on from the station in about half a minute. We were due to leave at 12.7 a.m. There were not many passengers in the train. I think the collision occurred about 12.17 or 12.18a.m. The starting-signal had not been taken off when it happened. I heard no complaints of any one having been injured


From the proceeding statements it appears that the 11.35 p.m. the last down passenger train from London Bridge to Victoria station on the 23rd ultimo, consisted of an engine and 10 vehicles. · .

It had been signalled forward to Battersea Park junction signal-box from the Wandsworth Road station signal-box at 12.11 a.m. The signals were pulled off for the train to proceed, and some one connected with the train called out, as it passed the Wandsworth Road station signal-box, and asked if it was "all right" to go on to York Road, and the signalman (Cahill) answered "Yes, all right," and the train proceeded at 12.12 a.m. towards Battersea Park station. The signalman at the Battersea Park junction (Graves) acknowledged the telegraphic signals, but did not at that time take off the out-of-door signals for this train to enter the station, as the 11.35 p.m. train from West Croydon and Clapham Junction was signalled to the same box immediately after the London Bridge train was signalled, and the signalman pulled off the signals for the West Croydon train to enter the station, and it. passed the junction signal-box, after having stopped at Battersea Park station on its way to Victoria at 12.15, a.m. 

The signalman (Graves) then pulled off the home-signal for the last passenger train from London Bridge (the 11.:35 p.m.) to enter the station.

The driver of this train states that he ran over two fog-signals at the down distant signal, and two more fog-signals at the down home-signals at Battersea Park station; and that; he stopped at the down home-signal at l2.10 a.m. on the 24th ultimo, and stood there two or three minutes, and then drew forward into the station; that he received a signal from the guard of his train that he was ready to start in three or four minutes, and he was kept. waiting three or four minutes after they were ready to start, for the starting-signal to be taken off; and it was during this interval of time that the rear off his train was run into by the light engine. He does not know when the collision actually took place, but the guard says it, happened at 12.17 a.m·12.l8 a.m.

ln the meantime the signalman at; the Wandsworth Road station signal-box (Cahill) had receive the "on" signal for a light engine from Clapham Road station, at 12.13 a.m., and had accepted it. He had lowered the home-signal for the previous train to enter the station, but kept his distant signal on at "danger," because he had not received "Line clear" f'rom York Road (otherwise Battersea Park) for the preceding train, which was the last passenger train to Victoria station; and he also kept the starting-signal on at ''danger," and did not signal the light engine on to York Road.

lt should here be stated that it was a very foggy night, and fogmen were employed at the signals; but it appears that it is not the practice on the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway to place fog-signals on the rails at the starting-signals, but. only at the home and distant signals, when these are standing at "danger.'' The signalman Cahill says that he place a hand lamp showing a red light towards the station, but the light engine ran past his box and the starting-signal standing at "danger" at 12.17 a.m.; and he then went to the speaking instrument and called York Road junction (otherwise Battersea Park junction), but it was about one minute before he succeeded in getting attention, and he then sent the message, "That an engine had gone against his signal, and to send and have her stopped,'' three times before it was understood. The first reply that he received was "Train in station'' 

The driver of the light engine asserts that the Wandsworth Road down starting signal was off when he passed it; but I think it is evident, from the sending of the telegraphic message from the \Wandsworth Road station signal-box to the Battersea Park junction signal-box, that his assertion cannot be correct, as the sending of this telegraphic message by signalman Cahill occurred before any collision had taken place.

The light engine then went on towards Battersea Park station, and the driver says he found the distant-signal "on," and ran over fog signals before he stopped at the third bridge after leaving Wandsworth Road station, and proceeded towards the Battersea Park station home-signal, and pulled up before he could see it: that his fireman called out to the fogman, " How are you?" and the other answered, "Wait; half-a-minute, and I will see," and very ·shortly afterwards and the fogman called out "All right, driver": that he saw the fogman as he passed, and the signal also, and it was off; and when he was half a carriage length from the passenger train in front, he saw the tail-light on it, and he turned round to put the Westinghouse break on, but. the collision took place immediately, and there was no time for the break to act. This occurred at 12.23 a.m. by his watch.

The latter part of this statement is fully confirmed by the fogman (Anker) who was on duty at the Battersea Park station down home-signal.

This fogman says that the last passenger train from London Bridge came up to the home-signal about 12.12 a.m. and stopped at it, after exploding tho fog-signals which he had put down to protect the station, and after that train had stopped two or three minutes the home-signal (worked from the junction signal box) was lowered for the train to enter the station; and as soon as it; had gone forward to the station, he went back about 50 yards beyond the stop-signal, and put down two more fog-signals, and no sooner had he done so, then the light engine come up, ran over and exploded the fog-signals, and stopped. It was very thick at the time, and the fogman told the engine driver to wait a little, and he would go and look at the state of the signal. The driver is said to have stopped a good way outside of the stop-signal, and when tho fogman found that the stop-signal was off, he called out to the driver that it was "All right," as· the signal was off. The engine then went on, and the collision took place immediately, and the stop-signal was put on at "danger'' directly the engine ran into the after part of the last passenger train from London Bridge.

The fogman Anker could not say at what time the collision occurred, but thinks there might have been an interval of five, six, or seven minutes between the time when he saw the stop-signal lowered for the last passenger train from London Bridge to enter the Battersea Park station and when he called out to the driver of the light engine "All right," and the engine went on.

The collision was the direct result of this fogman, Anker, having gone out of sight of the stop-signal, in order to put, down fog-signals when the last passenger train from London Bridge entered the Battersea Park station, and he was not aware that, this stop-signal had not been placed at "danger" as soon as the passenger train passed into the station.

It is quite impossible for the signalman in the Battersea. Park junction signal-box to know what is taking place at the south end of the station, or at the down home- signal outside of it, and distant 343 yards from the junction signal-box, on a dark night and dnuring a thick fog; and the Company's regulations are, in my opinion, more in fault than their men as regards this collision.

The Battersea Junction station signal-box should he kept open while any passenger traffic is going on, and not be closed at 7.:30 p.m. or at 11.30 p.m. as happened on this occasion.

On the other hand it appears to me that it is not. safe, during a thick fog, to entrust the fog-signalling· at. the distant-signals to one man for the separate lines or the London, Brighton, and South Coast and the London, Chatham, and :Dover Companies. In this case although it had no effect in causing the collision to take place, it appears that after the last passenger train from London Bridge (the 11.35, p.m.) had passed the fogman at the Wandsworth Road down distant-signal was unable to put down fog-signals at this signal, as he had to attend to an approaching train on the London, Chatham, and Dover Line.

It also seems important that fog-signals should he put down during thick fogs at starting-signals, to prevent. trains from leaving a station when these signals are standing at danger, and when they cannot be seen on account of the fog·.

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