6th NOVEMBER 1882

Involving Drivers Samuel Cook, John Haynes 

& his Fireman James Shirlock 

Depots not known

Extracted & adapted from the report by


collision occurred on the 6th November at Wandsworth Common station, on the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway, between a, light engine belonging· to that Company and a passenger train belonging· to the London and North-Western Railway Company. 

Fifteen passengers have complained of having been injured in this collision; and the engine-driver and fireman of the light engine which was run into, and the driver, fireman, and guard of the passenger train, were all seriously injured.

'l'ho details of the damage done to the Brighton light engine and to the London and North Western train arc given in the Appendix. The collision was evidently a 
very severe one.


The Wandsworth Common station is protected on the up line side by home and distant signals worked from a raised signal-box placed a.bout 115 yards south-east of the south-eastern end of the up platform. The up home-signal is 120 yards south-east of this signal-box, and the up distant-signal is about 500 yards outside the up home-signal. There are three lines of railway, two up and one down, at this part of the line. The up lines consist of the up main line on the outside or south side, the up local line in the centre, and the down line is on the north side. The up distant-signals for the up main and up local lines are on the same bracket posts as the up main and up local starting signals from Balham station, which are worked front another signal-box (Balham junction), 506 yards south-east of the up homo and up local lines starting-signals, Balham station being situated between the signal-box and the starting-signals from Balham station, placed 133 yards north-west of the north-west end of the station platforms.

In addition to the down platform at this station, there is an island up platform for the up main line trains on one side, and the up local line trains on the other side, and it is a fact that this island platform, and the ·accommodation provided on it, prevents the tail lights on an engine travelling on the up local line, which has stopped at the Balham station up local starting·-signal, from being seen from the Balham junction signal-box.

From Streatham Hill station the line falls 1 in l00 towards Balham and Wandsworth Common for a length of 67 chains, from thence it rises 1 in 1,189 through the Balham station for a length of 26 chains, and the line falls past the Balham station starting-signal for a length of 31 chains on an incline of 1 in 97, which is succeeded by a falling gradient of 1 in 148 to the Wandsworth Common station, called Nightingale Lane station when it was first opened for traffic in 1856.

The line is quite straight from Streatham Hill through Balham station for 1 mile and 30 chains, and thence it is on a. curve of 40 chains radius bending to the right for a length of 32 chains through Wandsworth Common station.


James Smith, signalman between 10 and 11 years, states: I came on duty at 2 p.m. at the Balham junction signal-box for eight hours. Passenger train 7.24 p.m. from Sutton was signalled on to me from Streatham Hill at 8.6 p.m. It passed my box at 8.9. I gave back the arrival signal at 8.9, and gave the train on to Wandsworth Common at 8.9; and it was cleared to me from Wandsworth Common at 8.18 p.m. A warning'-signal for an engine was given to me from Streatham Hill at 8.10, and I gave back "line clear" for that engine to come on at 8.13. That engine wns signalled as having left Streathnm Hill at 8.14. I blocked the line back to Streatham Hill at 8.14, and 1 pulled off the junction stop signal for the engine to enter the Balham station, and it. passed my box at 8.15 p.m. I saw the tail-light, and gave back the arrival signal at 8.15 p.m. The engine carried one tail-light; it was burning brightly when the engine passed me. I had not at that time received the clear signal from Wandsworth Common for the preceding train, which was the 7.24 p.m. Sutton train, leaving West Croydon at 7.38, as booked. I received the clear signal from Wandsworth Common at 8.18 p.m. I made the entry in my book; and the entry of the signalling forward of the engine to Wandsworth Common (8.18 in that book) was made as soon as I got "line clear" (8.18) from Wandsworth Common. Although I made that entry in my book of 8.18 I did not actually give that engine on to Wandsworth Common, neither did I pull off the starting signal for that engine to leave the Balham station. The London and North-Western train was warned on to me from Streatham Hill box at 8.18. I gave line clear to Streatham Hill at: 8.19. I took off the up local starting-signal, up home-signal, and up distant- signal on the line to Streatham Hill; and I suppose the light engine left the station when I took off the up starting-signal and the two other signals: which were all taken off for the London and North-Western train, and the taking off of the .up starting-signals permitted both the light-engine and the London and North-Western train to proceed. 1 gave the London and North-Western train on to Wandsworth Common at 8.20, and it was acknowledged from Wandsworth Common at 8.20 p.m. The London and North-Western train passed my box at 8.21, running, I should guess, at from 40 to 45 miles an hour. The engine of that train was whistling as it ran through the station, as the Wandsworth Common up local distant- signal was on at " danger" against tho London and North-Western train. 1 do not know what occurred to that train beyond the station. I could not see the tail light on an engine standing on the up local line if it had stoped at the starting signal. Immediately after the London and North western train had passed it occurred to me that I had made a mistake, but it was too late for me to do anything to rectify it. I think the London and Western train must have been close to the up local starting signal when it occurred to me that I had made mistake. I did not see the Wandsworth Common up local home signal. I think the London and north Western train was travelling at its usual rate. At 8.23 I received the following from Wandsworth Common "You have let North-Western down on engine.'' I am very sorry for the error 1 made; I cannot account for it, except my entering the engine the last entry on the page of my book, and the North-Western train the first, on the following page. The two entries of 8.I8 fot· "line clear'" for the previous train from Wandsworth Common, and the intended giving on of the light engine, were made at the same time. I am alone to blame ; I do not wish to throw any blame on any other person. I was not busy, as we are sometimes in the summer.

W. M. Kately, signalman, Wandsworth Common signal box, states : I have been signalman about two years, and about 12 months of the time at Wandsworth Common. I came on duty at 2 p.m. for an eight. hours' shift. The 7.24 p.m. train from Sutton was signalled on at 8.10 p.m. from Balham. I took the train on and blocked the line. I warned it on to New Wandsworth at the same time as I received it. from Balham. New Wandsworth gave me the clear signal at 8.11, and the train left Wandsworth common at 8.14. I did not give "clear" back to Balham until 8.19, as I had a goods train in the siding to leave for Battersea, which I warned to New Wandsworth at 8.16, and received the clear signal from New Wandsworth at the same time, and the goods train left at 8.18, and I gave it then for the second time to Ne'w Wandsworth, and cleared the line back to Balham at 8.19. The North-Western train was signalled on to me at 8.20. and I forwarded it on to New Wandsworth at 8.20. I heard the North-Western train whistling, and I saw the head-lights of that train, and also the head-lights of what I thought was a train on the main line, although nothing had been signalled on to me on that line, there being a curve on that line and I lowered my main line home-signal to let it into the station, and also immediately lowered the up local home-signal to let the North-Western train into the station, about 8.2 1/2. I thought this train was then about 30 or 40 yards from my rear signal, outside of it. I saw two sets of head-lights when I took oft the up rear or home-signal for the London and North- Western train to come into the station. When 1 first saw the two sets of head-lights one appeared to be to the right of the other; the Brighton engine carried three head-lights, and the London and North-Western two head-lights. I could not speak as to the colour of the lights. I thought the head-lights, which I supposed to be on the up main line, were to the right of the others. Just as I was pulling off the up local home-signal, I saw that the two sets of head-lights were behind each other. I think the leading bend- lights were 30 or 40 yards back from it when I pulled off the up home local line signal. Immediately after, the collision between the engine and the North Western train occurred the engine, which I thought was a train on the main line, being on tho local line, and it had not been signalled out to me from Balham. I had not received the clear signal from New Wandsworth when the collision occurred, between 8.21 and 8.22; but I received it from NewWandsworth at 8.24 p.m. We can sec the head-lights on an engine standing at Balham station from my box when it is clear. It was a mizzly rain that night. I did not notice any head-lights on an engine that night when I received the warning signal from Balham for the North-Western train. I heard the collision take place. I do not know whether the steam was on or off on either of the engines. The collision followed almost immediately after I took off the up local home- signal. I pulled off the two signals within five seconds of each other, and the collision look place before 1 had let go the lever for pulling off the up local home- signal.

Samuel Cook, engine driver 16 years, states; I was driving the 7.58 p.m. down passenger train from Victoria to West Croydon via Balham station. I stopped at Wandsworth Common station about 8.19. I started immediately after stopping, but seeing the collision take place I stopped. I heard no whistling before the collision took place, and did not see the up local home signal taken off. I think the light engine was not in motion when the collision took place. I saw the London and North-Western train coming. I do not know whether the steam was on or off when I first saw it, :and as far as l can judge it was about 40 yards from the light engine when l first observed it. As far as I could make out the London and North-Western train appeared to be coming at the usual speed, and not slackening at all. The London and North Western engine had two head lights on. The light engine had three head-lights on. I have not measured the distance, but I think the light engine was knocked ahead l00 yards. The driver or the light engine was knocked off the engine at the spot at which the collision took place.The light engine was a tender engine. It was engine first. The tender was run into. Nothing was thrown off' the rails. The London North Western engine was a tank-engine running with the chimney in front. I do not know whether the driver or fireman of that engine were thrown off the engine. It was a very greasy, gloomy, hazy but not foggy night. The Balham signals were visible from Wandsworth Common station. I did not notice how the breaks were on the North Western train.

John Haynes, engine driver 13 years, and 10 years of that time in I he service of the Brighton Company, states: 1 was driving tender engine No. 374 on the night or the 6th November, and I was on my way from London Bridge to Battersea Park yard. As approached Balham junction from Streatham Hill the signals was on against me. I whistled for them, and the stop-signal was taken off and l ran forward and  stopped at the Balham station starting-signal, and got there about 14 minutes past eight o'clock. It was aclear night, but rather drizzly and wet. I had a tail light of the tender on the near side, the left-hand side. I did not whistle at Balham for the starting­ signal to be taken off as I saw a train going away in front. I stood at the starting signal about three or four minutes, and then it was taken off. The Wands­worth Common up-distant and up home-signals were both on at danger when I Started from Balham starting signals. I pulled up at the Wandsworth Common up stop-signal, and was there about two minutes. I had not moved when the collision took place. The Wandsworth Common up home or stop signal was on when the collision took place. It had not been taken off. I had whistled for that signal to be taken off just as we stopped at that signal. I was knocked off the engine by the collision, and the stop-signal was on when I was knocked off, and as I was lying on the ground, and when I turned over, I saw that it was still on. I think 1 was in the act of getting off the engine when I was knocked off it. I saw that a train was coming, and that made me attempt to get off, but I had not time. There was a long whistle from the coming train. I cannot say where the train was when the whistle was sounded, but it was owing to the whistle that we saw the train at all. In my opinion the steam was on, on the coming train engine. I should say that it was travelling rather fast, about 35 miles an hour. Mmate saw the coming train first. He did not get off the engine at all. He called my attention to the light of this train. We had not time to put my engine in motion. I was thrown on the ground just opposite the spot where the collision took place. My engine was knocked some distance ahead. The funneL of my engine was just against the stop-signal at Wandsworth Common when we stopped at it. My off engine was knocked ahead about 250 yards. It was not thrown off the rails. This occurred about 8.21 p.m. The tender of my engine was much damaged. I was struck in the head and at the back of my ear, and on my back, and was five weeks off duty. When we heard the whistle my mate looked back. I did not take my eye off the signal; and when he looked back, he said, " What light is that on the main line?" the main line signal being off at the time. When I looked back 1 saw that the coming train was on the

same line as ourselves, and I then tried to get off.

The goods train at Wandsworth Common was standing in the siding at the down side, and it had to back out on the down line towards Balham station. The taillights of that train were coming towards me, but did not come back so far as the spot at which I was standing. It is not the practice for a train to be kept standing at the stop·signal when the line between the stop and starting signals is clear. We are not supposed to stand more than two minutes at a. stop-signal when the line ahead is clear. without whistling. I did whistle for that stop-signal to be taken off. After I reached t.he stop-signal at Wandsworth Common, the main line stop-signal was taken off, about one minute after we got to it.. We can see the taillight of the goods train when it is alongside of the platform at Wandsworth Common from Balham station. The tail-light on my tender, when standing at Wandsworth Common up slop-signal, can be seen from Balham station; and when my engine is  standing at the Balham station starting-signal, the tail light on the tender could l1e seen as soon as Streatham Hill station is passed; it could be seen from the Streatham Hill advanced starting signal. I think the steam was on on the London and North Western engine, because I saw steam issuing from the chimney. The hand break on the tender of my engine was o when my engine stopped at the stop signal. It was not taken off before the collision took place. In my opinion the London and North Western engine struck the back of my engine twice. I saw the London and North Western engine break loose from the train, and struck my engine a second time.

James Shirlock, fireman 5  8/12 years, states I was acting as fireman to John Haynes on the night of the 6th November on engine 374, on its way from London Bridge to Battersea Park. I rode on the right side of the engine. The junction signals at Balham junction were off as we approached, but the Balham station starting signal was on. We drew up to it, and stopped there. We whistled for it to be taken off. We stopped there about two minutes, as near as I can say, and the starting signal was then taken off. The Wandsworth common up distant and stop signals were both on when we left Balham station starting signal. The up stop signal, worked from Wandsworth Common, remained at "danger," and we stopped at it. We stayed there about two minutes. Haynes whistled for that stop signal to be taken off when about half way between Balham starting signal and the stop signal. I saw a North Western train coming. Our engine was standing at that time. I called my mate's attention to it. I heard the North Western train whistling. I thought it was coming on the main line. I think the North Western train was about the Balham station starting signal starting signal when I heard it whistle first. It was a continuous whistle. My mate saw that the North Western train was running on the same line as our engine was standing on before I saw it. My mate attempted to get off the engine, but I did not attempt to do so. The North Western train was running fast. I think it was running between 30 and 40 miles an hour. I do not know whether the steam was on or off. It was a very dark night. I think the London and North Western train was bout 300 yards from us when I looked at the signals. The main line stop signal was off. The local line up stop signal was on at danger. I cannot tell whether the local line up stop signal was on or off when the collision took place. Our engine was not knocked off the road; it was knocked ahead. The break on our tender was on when the collision took place. I do not know when the collision took place. I was hot in the knee and in the shoulder, and I was five weeks off duty on account of the hurt.

James Blunder, head porter at Balham station 17 years states: I was on duty on the night of the 6th November. I saw the 8.0 p.m. London and North-Western passenger train from Croydon to Willesden pass. The Balham station starting-signal was off for the London and North-Western train. The up distant-signal (for the local !inn), worked from Wandsworth Common, was on. That signal was not taken off before the North-Western train passed it. I was standing on the down platform when the North Western train passed. The steam was on on engine of' the North-Western train, and the engine was whistling as it ran through the station. The up distant-signal worked from the Wandsworth Common station was not taken off. before the North-Western train passed it. The whistling continued until the train passed the up distant signal, and beyond it, and then the driver gave a short whistle, us drivers sometimes do when the signals are taken off. I heard the crash, and I looked towards Wandsworth Common, and saw that the up stop-signal for the local line was off. That might be three or four seconds after the short whistle was sounded. I cannot give any information as to when the steam was shut off before I heard the crash. While the North~Western train was running through the Balham station the steam was on. When I noticed the up local stop-signal was off I saw that the up main stop-signal was also off.

Richard Cork, postman, states : I was on the down platform of the Balham station on the night of the 6th November when the London and North-Western passenger train passed towards Wandsworth Common about 8.16 p.m., but I did not notice the time particularly. This train whistled about three times, the usual whistle, before it came up to the platform. I did not notice whether more than two people were on the London and North Western engine. I am certain that it was a London and North-Western train. The Balham station starting-signal was taken off after the London and North Western train had passed the station platform. It was travelling through the station at. an unusually fast speed. I do not believe the steam was off There was no slackening of the speed at all. I do not know at what speed it was travelling. There was a long whistle as it passed through the station, and after it got through the station there was another whistle. The train was running in the ordinary manner, and some gentlemen remarked that it was running through at a terrific pace.

Wm. Hornby, engine-driver 16 years, and of that time seven years in the service of the London and North-Western Railway, states: I was driving tank engine No. 2,286 in front of the 8.0 p.m. passenger train from Croydon to Willesden on tho 6th November. The train consisted of six vehicles with one guard riding in the break compartment of the last vehicle in the train. We left Croydon at the right time, and stopped at Norwood junction and the Crystal Palace stations, and left the latter station n few minutes late. It was running at the time. The signals were all off until we got to Streatham Hill, and there we found the distant, repeater, and stop signals all on, and I whistled for them and they were taken off. The signals at the Balham junction were also off. The starting-signal was also off at Balham station. Just us I passed the advance-signal at Streatham Hill I saw that the Balham station starting signal was off. It was taken off at the same time as the Balham junction signals were taken off. I passed Balham junction at about from 28 to 30 miles per hour with the steam off, as I had shut off the steam at Streatham Hill. As I passed through Balham station the up distant-signal worked from Wandsworth Common was on at " danger," and I also saw that the Wandsworth Common up home or stop signal was also on at '' danger." I do not know how far these signals are apart. I had not turned on the steam again after shutting it off at Streatham Hill, and I passed the Wandsworth Common up distant-signal running at from 28 to 30 miles an hour. It might not have been so fast, as the gradient rises from Balham junction through the station. I whistled for the Wandsworth Common up distant. and home signals to be taken off, three whistles. I had just passed the up distant-signal when the up home-signal was taken off. I did not put on I he steam ngain. I had to cross the engine to get a sight of the Wandsworth Common up starting-signal, and when I saw it that also was off I did not turn on the steam; it was all down hill, and the steam was not required. When I got back to the other side of the engine I saw something in front, but did not. know what. We were close on to it before I saw it. I saw the tender of an engine first, and I saw that before I saw a red light, which was on the right hand side. That red light was a tail-light. I just caught sight of it before we came to it; and that was all. I think we might be still running about the same speed, as the signals were all off. I had not time to do anything. I had not time to speak to my mate before the collision occurred. I was running with the chimney in front. My engine was not thrown off the road. It. ran into the tender of the Brighton engine. I was very much hurt. I was thrown against the firebox of the engine, and the coal was thrown upon me from behind. I have not been able to return to work up to the present time. I saw no tail-light of an engine standing at the Balham station up starting  signal, which is on the same post as the Wandsworth Common up distant-signal, I had an hydraulic break on the engine, and I had the control of the chain break on the first three coaches, and the guard at the rear of the train had control of the remaining three coaches fitted with the chain break. When I saw the Wandsworth Common up distant and up home signals both on at "danger," I did not see the tail-lights of an engine standing near them. I cannot say whether the Brighton engine was standing still or in motion when my engine struck it. I think the main line up home signals worked from Wandsworth Common were taken off at the same time as those for the local line on which I was running were taken off. I could not see the Wandsworth Common up starting-signal as soon us I moved across the engine, as some trees interfered with the line of sight.

Joseph Burn, fireman four years, states: I was acting as fireman to Wm. Hornby on the night of the 6th November last. I do not know whether we were late in leaving the Crystal Palace that night or not. The signals at Balham junction were off for us to pass

into Balham station. I did not notice the distant- signal. I rode on the right side of the engine. The starting-signal for Balham station was off. I believe my mate whistled as we ran through the station. The steam was off as we ran through the Balham station. I think we might be running from 25 to 30 miles an hour. I did not notice the Wandsworth Common up distant-signal, and the Wandsworth Common up stop-signal was off when I first saw it. I was 100 yards on the Wandsworth Common side of the Balham station starting signal, when I saw that the up stop-signal at Wandsworth Common was off for the up local line. I cannot say how the stop- signal for the up main line stood. I just saw the red light on the engine, on the right-hand side, on the buffer. We were not above a couple of engine lengths from it when I first saw it. My mate had just put on the steam when I first saw it. We were running at from 20 to 25 miles an hour when he turned on the steam. My mate put on the steam as soon as he saw off for us to proceed. I was severely injured, and have not yet returned to my duty. My watch was taken out of my pocket at the hospital; it had stopped at 8.22 p.m. I was rendered insensible at the time by the collision.

William Hill, guard 12 1/2 years, states: I was guard of the 8 p.m. up passenger train from Croydon to Willesden on the night of the 6th November. My train consisted of six coaches. I rode in a break compartment of the last vehicle in the train. We left Croydon at 8 o'clock, the proper time, stopped at Norwood Junction and the Crystal Palace, and left the latter station two minutes late, at 8.13 p.m. It was a wet night. I was on the look out. The Balham junction signals were off for us to proceed.The driver whistled before we got to them. After we passed the Balham junction stop signal, I saw that the Balham station starting signal was off. The driver had whistled. The driver whistled for running through the Balham station, as we were approaching the station to run through it. The up distant signal worked for Wandsworth common was on, and it was on when we passed it. I think we were running about 30 miles an hour. It is a rule on the London and North Western Railway to reduce the speed when a distant signal is on at "danger." I do not think there was any reduction of speed on approaching that distant signal standing at "danger." I believe the steam was off. I think the steam was shut off on passing that distant signal. The up stop signal for the local line was off when we passed the up distant signal worked from Wandsworth Common. The driver had whistled the up stop signal off. The train was just passing the up distant signal (Wandsworth Common), when the driver whistled the up stop signal off, and we had just passed the up distant signal when the up stop signal was taken off. I had been on the look out from Streatham Hill on the line, but I could not see any tail lights on the engine or tender in front. I was not aware, before the collision occurred that there as anything in front. The collision occurred 8.22. There was no slackening of speed before it took place. There was no whistle from the driver after he whistled for the Wandsworth Common up stop signal to be taken of, and there was no diminution of speed before the collision took place. I cannot say whether the steam was on or off when the collision took place. I was injured in the head and face. I had no knowledge that a collision was likely to occur until happened. I have not yet been enabled to return to my work. The main line up signal was off, as well as the local up signal.


From the preceding statements, it appears that on the night in question, the 7.24 p.m. up passenger train from Sutton to Victoria, passed the Balham junction signal-box at 8.9 p.m. It was signalled forward from thence to Wandsworth Common station at the same time, and "Line clear" was received at Balham junction from Wandsworth Common signal-box for that train, at 8.18 p.m.

The passenger train had passed on to New Wandsworth station at 8.14 p.m., but the signalman at Wandsworth Common having to send on a goods train, which was standing in a siding on the down line at Wandsworth Common station, to New Wandsworth, did not give back "Line clear" to Balham junction, until that goods train had got away at 8.19 p.m., the clocks in the two signal-boxes appearing to differ by about one minute.

A warning signal from Streatham Hill was received at the Balham junction signal box for a light engine, at 8.10 p.m., and "Line clear" was given back to Streatham Hill for that engine to come on, at 8.13 p.m., and the Balham junction up-signals on the line to Streatham Hill were taken off for the light engine, and it entered the Balham station at 8.15 p.m. It is stated to have had a tail-light on, and the signalman noticed that it was burning brightly.

At that time, the "Line clear" from Wandsworth Common for the 7.24 p.m. up passenger train had not been received at Balham junction signal-box, and the light engine passed through the Balham station, and stopped at the starting signal.

The signalman on duty in Balham junction signal-box (J. Smith): had entered at the bottom of a page in the telegraph book, the entry of 8.18 as the time when he had received "linclear" from Wandsworth Common for the 7.24 p.m. up passenger train, and he had also  made an entry of 8.18 p.m. at the same place in the book, as the time when he had signalled forward the light engine to Wandsworth Common, as he ought to have done, but which he omitted to do, through a mistake, having forgotten that the light engine was then standing, waiting at the Balham station starting-signal for that signal to be taken off; that signal being 506 yards north- west of Iris signal-box, from which spot the tail lights on the light engine could not be seen.

The Balham junction signalman received a warning signal from Streatham Hill signal-box, for a Loudon and :North-Western up passenger train at 8.19 r.m., and he gave " Line clear " back to Streatham Hill for that train to come on, at 8.19 p.n1., and took off the up distant and up home signals on the line to Streatham Hill, and also the Balham. station up starting signal, and he supposes the light engine left Balham station when this signal was taken off for the London and North-Western up passenger train.

The London and North-Western up passenger train, 8.0 p.m. from Croydon to Willesden, was signalled forward to Wandsworth Common from Balham junction signal-box at 8.20 p.m., and it was acknowledged from Wandsworth Common at the same time.

The London and North-Western up passenger train consisted of a tank engine and six carriages: the engine having an hydraulic break on it, and the carriages were fitted throughout with the chain break, the three front carriage breaks being under the control of the engine-driver, and the breaks on the three last carriages under the control of the guard of the train riding in the last vehicle in the train.

This train, according to the Balham junction signalman, passed his box at 8.21 p.m., running at from 40 to 45 miles an hour; the engine whistling as it ran through Balham station, as the Wandsworth Common up distant-signal for the local line was on at "danger" against it.

The Balham junction signalman found ~ut the mistake he had made about the light engine, when he thinks the London and North-Western up passenger train was close to Balham station starting-signal, but it was then too late to rectify the mistake.

The driver of the London and. North-Western up passenger train, Wm. Hornby, states that the up signals at the Balham junction were off, as well as the up starting signal for Balham station and he saw this just as he passed the advanced signal at Streatham Hill; that the starting-signal was taken off at the same time as the Balham junction. signals were taken off; and so far there is no contradictory evidence. He passed Balham junction at about from 28 to 30 miles an hour, with the steam off, as he bad shut it off at Streatham Hill; and he passed through Balham station the up distant-signal worked from Wandsworth Common was on at 'danger,' and the Wandsworth Common up home or stop signal was also on at 'danger'; that he had not turned on the steam again after shutting it off at Streatham Hill, and he passed the Wandsworth Common up distant-signal running­ at from 28 to 30 miles an hour; it might not have been so fast, as the gradient rises from Balham junction through the station ; that he whistled for the Wandsworth Common up distant and home signals to be taken off-three whistles, and he had just passed the up distant-signal when the up home-signal was taken off, but he did not puon the steam again. He had to cross the engine to get a sight of the Wandsworth Common up starting-signal, and when he saw it, that also was off; that he did not turn on the steam ; it was all down hill, and the steam was not required; that when he got back to the other side of the engine he saw something in front, but did not know what; they were close on it before he saw it, and he saw the tender of an engine first, and he saw that before he saw a red light which was on the right-hand side ; that red light was a tail-light; he had just caught sight of it before they came to it, and that w'1.s all; he thinks they might he still running about the same speed, as the signals were all off; he had not tin1e to danything, and he had not time to speak to his mate before the collision occurred, and he had run into the tender of the Brighton engine..''

He says, He saw no tail-light or an engine standing at the Balham station up starting-signal, which is on the same post as the Wandsworth Common up distant- signal.

He also stated, That when he saw the Wandsworth Common up distant and up home signals both on at 'danger' he did not see the tail-light of an engine standing near them.

This man's fireman (J. Burn) says, His mate whistled as they ran through Balham station with the steam off, running at from 25 to 30 miles an hour; he did not notice the Wandsworth Common up distant-signal, but the up stop-signal was off when he first saw  it, when he was 100 yards on the Wandsworth Common side of the Balham station starting-signal; that he first saw the red light on the engine on the right-hand side of the buffers, and they were not above a couple of engines' length from it when he first saw it; that his mate had just put on the steam,.when he first saw it, and that they were running at from 20 to 25 miles an hour when he turned on the steam; that his mate put on the steam as soon as he saw that the up stop-signal at Wandsworth Common was off for them to proceed.

This train is not appointed to stop between the Crystal Palace and Clapham junction stations, and it is allowed sufficient time to require it to travel at an average rate of Speed of about 30 miles an hour.

The signalman on duty in the Balham junction signal-box estimates the speed at which the London and North-Western up passenger train  at from 40 to 45 miles an hour as  it passed his box. The head porter at Balham station says that while the North-Western train was running through the station the steam was on, and the train passed the Wandsworth Common up distant-signal whilst it was still on at 'danger;' that the engine was whistling as it ran through the station, and the whistling continued until the train passed the udistant signal and beyond it, and then the driver gave a, short whistle, as drivers some times do when the signals are taken off; that he heard the crash, and looked towards Wandsworth Common, and saw that the up stop-signal was off; that might be three or four seconds after the short whistle was sounded. He could not give any information as to when the steam was shut off before he heard the crash, but while the train was running through the Balham station the steam was on. 

A postman standing on the down platform at Balham station speaks to the London and North-Western train travelling through the station at an unusually fast Speed, and he did not believe the steam was off.

The driver of the light engine (J. Haynes) states that the Wandsworth Common up home or stop signal was on when the collision occurred. He thinks the steam was on, and that the London and North-Western train , was travelling ~about 35 miles an hour.

I have thus shown that the evidence is very contradictory as to what the engine- driver of the London anNorth-Western up train did between Streatham Hill and Wandsworth common; but there is no doubt whatever that the original cause of the collision was due to the failure in the block working, owing to the signalman at Balham junction having forgotten that he had admitted a light engine into Balham station, and had neglected by mistake to signal it forward to Wandsworth Common before he permitted the London and North-Western up passenger train to pass the Balham junction np signals, and to signal it forward to Wandsworth Common.

This failure in the system of block working could not have occurred if the union of the lock and block systems (Hodson's Patent) of working, as established on some of the Company's lines, had been in operation on this portion of line.

Notwithstanding this mistake on the part or the signalman (J. Smith) in the Balham junction signal-box, no collision ought to have occurred if the Company's rules and regulations had been obeyed, and a proper look-out been kept by the engine-driver and fireman or the London and North-Western up passenger train engine.

Thus, the rule adopted by railway companies with respect to distant-signals is as .follows:-

When an engine-driver finds a distant-signal at 'danger,' he must immediately shut off steam and reduce the speed of his train, so as to be able to stop at the distant-signal post; but if he sees that the way in front of him is clear, he must proceed slowly and cautiously within the distant-signal, having such control of his train as to be able to stop it short of any obstruction that may exist between the distant-signal post and the home signal, and must bring his train to a stand as near the home-signal as the circumstances of the case will allow.

Now in this instance there is no question whatever, but that the Wandsworth Common up distant-signal was on at "danger " against the engine-driver of the London and North-Western train as he approached it, and the up stop-signal was also on at "danger" at the same time, and yet he passed the distant-signal at "danger " at from 28 to 30 miles an hour, if not faster, without taking any steps whatever to reduce his speed while travelling down a steep decline of 1 in 97, beyond shutting off the steam; and that is very doubtful; while, if he had kept a good look-out, the tail-light of an engine standing at the Wandsworth Common up stop-signal could be seen by the driver of the London and North-Western engine before the up distant-signal was passed; and if the light-engine had been standing at the Balham up starting-signal as the London and North-Western engine was passing Streatham Hill, the tail-light could be seen at 1,078 yards back from the Balham station starting-signal.

It is distinctly stated that there was no diminution of speed in the London and North-Western train up to the moment when the collision took place, but I think it likely, from a careful consideration o.f the whole of the evidence, that the Wandsworth Common up stop-signal was taken off. a few seconds before the collision occurred. the light-engine was knocked ahead a-bout 265 yards.

I understand that the engine-driver, Wm. Hornby, of the London and North- Western engine, has brought an action against the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company under the Employers Liability Act.

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