on 19th MAY 1882

Involving Drivers George Preston & John Bunyard 

Depot not known

Extracted & adapted from the report by


On the 19th May, a  collision occurred at the London Bridge station of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway, between a passenger train and a carriage-truck standing close to the buffer-stops at the north end of No. 1 passenger line.

Nine passengers. are stated to have complained of having been injured on this occasion; a head-stock and three buffer-castings were broken on the carriage truck, and.a quarter-light was broken in a third-class carriage, the second vehicle from the engine.


The approach to the London Bridge station of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company from. the south is covered by signals worked from the north signal-box, the centre of which is about 41 yards south of the south end of the platform that lies between Nos. 1 and 2 lines. These signals are situated close to the south end of the platform, mid, they consist of two up home platform-signals, which are to control the running into the station on Nos. 1 and 2 lines of railway, placed above two other distant~signals on the same posts, to indicate whether the two lines, Nos. 1 and 2, north of the two home-signals, are clear or not. There are other up home- signals placed above ·an elevated girder across the station yard, about 70 yards south of the platform-signals, and also worked from the north signal-box, which cannot be lowered for trains to run into the station on either side of the western platform, on Nos. 1 or 2 lines until one or other of the up-platform home-signals are lowered, and a number is shown to the incoming train to let the engine-driver know on which line he is to run into the station.

The buffer-stops at the north end of No. 1 line are distant about 166 yards from the platform-signals, but No. 2 line extends somewhat further into the station than No. 1 line.

Again, there are up-home or stop-signals also worked from the north signal-box; about 190 yards south of the signals over the elevated girder; so that the entrance to the station yard is properly protected by signals.


George Fulles, signalman about 17 years, and working over three years in the new north signal-box, states: I came on duty at 1.30 p.m. for an eight hours shift on the 19th May. The 6.20 p.m. train from Tunbridge Wells was telegraphed to me in the north signal-box, from the south signal-box about 8.35 p.m. I took off the platform-signal, No.123 lever, but left the distant signal, No. 124 lever, which is on the same post, on at danger, I also took off the girder signal No. 16, and I had to shift two other levers so as to give the signalman in the south signal-box permission to allow the Tunbridge Wells train to come on. The lights in all the lamps were lit at that time. The train passed about 8. 37 p. m., and when the driver passed by box I did not notice that the driver had any steam on. The train was travelling at about the ordinary rate not more than 10 miles an hour. The driver did not whistle as he passed. I was not ware that the driver was running too fast. He travelled into the station on No. 1 line. I was aware that there was a carriage truck standing on No. 1 line, and that was the reason why I did not take off the distant-signal. I was at the further end or the box, the south end. No signal nor communication of any kind passed between the driver and I. I was not made aware by any noise that collision had taken place. I was told afterwards.

Francis Corr, guard 5 1/2 year in the service of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway, states: I was in charge if the 6.20 p.m. up train from Tunbridge Wells on the 19th May. It consisted of an engine and tender, four carriages, and a break van at the rear of the train, in which I rode. We reached New Cross ay 8h. 32m., and new were due there at 8.25 p.m. We left New Cross at 8.33 p.m. It was a fair evening. The signals were at “all right” for us after leaving New Cross, and I was on the look out. We were late in starting from Three Bridges. I notice that the top signal at the platform, worked from the north signal box, was down, and age lower arm was at “danger.” I noticed this as we were coming round as we passed the north signal box, and we were running at 4 or 5 miles an hour, as we passed the girder signals. I think the steam was on at the time, but I cannot be positive about it. There was an ordinary hand break in my van, which had also the Westinghouse break pipes, but no break was working in connexion with those pipes on the van. I commenced to apply my hand break at the A.B. box, where the home or stop signal i placed, and when I passed the north signal box I put my break as hard on as I could, and kept it on. There was no whistle from the engine for my break, and the Westinghouse break was not applied until about the time when the collision occurred. I think we were within one or two carriage lengths of the spot where the carriage truck stood when the engine driver put on steam and there was a jerk forward. I saw a red lamp on the platform. I was looking out, and as soon as my van came to the platform I saw this red lamp. The driver of the train joined my train at Three Bridges. I spoke to him at Three Bridges. I believe the man was sober; there was nothing to indicate that he was otherwise than sober. We stopped at several stations between Three Bridges and New Cross, and there was nothing irregular in our stopping or starting from any of these stations. The collision occurred about 8.39 p.m. One quarter light was broken in the third class carriage second from the engine. There was no other damage that I know of. Neither the engine not any other vehicle was thrown off the rails, neither was the carriage truck

Gcorge Preston, engine driver over 20 years, and 15 years on the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway, states: I joined the Tunbridge Wells train at Three Bridge Station on the 19th May, with No.304, tender engine. My train was fitted with the Westinghouse break on the engine and carriages. I had occasion to use this break all the way up, having stopped seven times. It worked properly throughout. I think we left New Cross at 8.32 or 8.33 p.m., and I found all the signals right for us to proceed as far as the girder-signals worked from the last signal-box. I shut off the steam this side of-the Spa Road; when I was running about. 25 miles an hour. I reduced that speed by means of the Westinghouse break at a certain point just before coming to the cross-over road from the South London to the down mainline, just outside or near A.B. signal-box. 1 was not running more than four miles when I passed the north signal-box. I was running on the up main line, and1 the up-signal on the girder for that line was off. l:did not observe the number of the line on which I was to enter the station exhibited at the rider, it was not clear enough. The signals at the rider were lit, and it was clear enough for me to see them. Directly after I passed under the rider signal I caught sight of a tail light, which I thought was in No.2 road, and I supposed it to be on a vehicle at the tail of a train. My attention was attracted to this light, and I overlooked the platform signals, and I do not know whether the signal was lowered for me to run into No. 1 or No.2 line. I supposed I was going to run into No.2 line. I think I was running about 2 1/2 miles an hour when I passed the end of the platform, and I had got about half way to the buffer stops on no. line when I lost sight of the tail lamp, and after that I turned on the stream. Just at the time when I had got half way up to the buffer stops, or a little after that, I discovered that I was on No. 1 line. I made that discovery just before the collision occurred, and just previous to that I had put on the steam. I think that the obstruction was a little higher up the station. I was riding on the left side of the engine. If I had been riding on the right side of the engine I think there was light enough for me to see the platform. I did not whistle for the guards’ breaks. Just at the moment when the engine struck the truck my mate called out “Whoa” - when the engine was not more than a yard from the truck, and we were running at about one an hour. About two seconds before my mate called out “Whoa” I had turned on the steam very slightly. The Westinghouse break was not applied before the train stopped. no damage was done to my train that I am aware of. The buffer plank of the truck was bruised or broken. After my mate had called out “Whoa,” he said, “I did not see that carriage truck.” My impression is that the lamp was opposite to the buffer stop, not at the south end of the carriage truck.

John Bunyard, fireman, three years in the service of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company, states: I was with George Preston on the 19th May, bringing the up Tunbridge Wells train to London. After laving New Cross the signals were all off to run into the London Bridge station. I stood on the right side of the engine. The signal on the girder for the line which our train was running was off. I saw it before we reached it, and the next signals ahead were those at the south end of the platform. The top signal was off for No.1 line, and the bottom one was on. I think we were running at 5 or 6 miles an hour as we passed those signals; the steam then was off. I had a hand break on the tender. The bottom signal being on signified that there was something on the road. I saw a red light as we were passing the platform signals. I supposed it was at the buffer stops, and when we were about 5 or 6 yards from the carriage truck, my mate put on the steam, when we were running about 2 or 3 miles an hour. When I found that my mate was putting on steam, I shouted to him, but I could not see the carriage truck. We had passed under the roof of the building at that time. I had put my break on as hard as I could get it on as we passed the end of the platform. The Westinghouse break was  not applied at all. i saw the buffer stops, but did not see the carriage truck. The buffer stops, which I was looking for, were beyond the carriage truck. i wa not looking for the carriage truck. The lamp was nearly opposite to the south end of the carriage truck.


In this case, it appears from the evidence, that the 6.20 p.m. up train from Tunbridge Wells to London Bridge reached New Cross at 8.32 p.m., being due there at 8.22 p.m. The train consisted of an. engine and tender, f:our carriages, and one break van at the rear of the train, in which the guard of the train rode. The train was fitted with the Westinghouse break through out, but only had the break pipe fitted to the break-van, without any break blocks applicable to the wheels of that vehicle. But the break van had an ordinary had break in the break van, workable by the guard of the train.

This train left New Cross station several minutes late, and the signals, according to the guard in the break van and the firemen on the engine, were at "all right'' for the train to run into No.1 line at the London Bridge station, as the home or stop signal, exhibited over the elevated girder was down, as well as that at the south end of the platform; but the distant-signal placed below the platform signal stood at "danger," and showed that No.1 line, on which the train was to enter the station; had some obstruction on it. This obstruction proved to be a carriage truck placed close to the buffer-stops, at the north-end of No.1 line. A red light was placed on the platform just alongside of the carriage truck, and this red light was seen by the guard of the train and the fireman on the engine, as the train ran in on No.1 line alongside, off the western side of the platform.

The-engine driver states that he did not observe the signal, or number of the line on which he was to travel, placed over the elevated girder, nor the signal placed at the south end of the platform, which were there for the purpose of telling him on which line he was to enter the station, as his attention was attracted to a red light which he thought was placed on, the tail of some vehicle standing on the line on which he thought he was entering the station, and which he supposed was. No.2 line.

lf he had been running on that line, standing as he did, at the left side of the engine, he should have seen the platform, but there was no platform to see on that side.

The collision was entirely due to his carelessness in not having looked out for and been guided by the two sets of signals, which were placed at the entrance of the station for his guidance, and· for having turned on the· steam on his engine to go ahead when he was not more than five yards from the carriage truck in front of his engine. He evidently was not keeping a proper look out ahead, and the natural inference was that he was not conscious of what he was doing. However, I could not obtain any testimony to prove that he was not sober. No other servant of the Company is to blame for causing this collision.

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