5th JANUARY 1883




Extracted and adapt from a report 

by W. Yolland Colonel

A collision that occurred on the 5th January, at Horeham Road stationon the Tunbridge Wells and Eastbourne branch of the LondonBrightonand South Coast Railwaybetween a passenger train and the buffer-stops at the end of a siding at the south end of the station.
One passenger complained at the time of being slightly injured, and the fireman of the engine was also hurt.
The buffer-stops were destroyed. The leading buffer-beam of the engine was damaged, and the driving-wheel spring was broken ; trailing guard irons bent and broken. No. 136, break-van : two buffer-rods and one draw bar bent, one scroll iron,
two Westinghouse pipestwo links and pins brokensole damaged. No. 292, first-class carriage, had one head-stocktwo buffer-castingsand three lights broken. No. 356third-class carriagehad three buffer-castings and one light broken.

The Tunbridge Wells and Eastbourne branch of the LondonBrighton, and South Coast Railway is a single linewith portions doubled at most of the stations to be used as passing-places for up and down trainsHoreham Road station is among those used as passing-places it is provided with up and down platforms, and is pro perly signalled with startinghomeand distant signals in each direction, interlocked with each other, and with the facing-points at the ends of the loop or double portionso that the starting-signals for the up or down trains cannot be lowered until the facing-points are set right for a train to proceed on the single line in each directionThere are some sidings at the south end of this station at the western side of the lineand these end at a three-arched over-bridge at about 320 yards from the south end of the up platform.

There had been a slip in an embankment a short distance to the north of Horeham Road station a few days before this collision occurredand the traffic towards Tun¬ bridge Wells from Eastbourne was not carried further north than Horeham Road station until the slip had been repairedand some of the trains from Eastbourne were started back from Horeham Road from the up or wrong platform.

Frederick Rickardssignal-porter since last Novemberstates was on duty on the 5th January in the signal-box at Horeham Road station, and I came on duty at 7.30 a.mam 21 years of ageslip had taken place on the line short distance to the north of Horeham Road station some days before this collision took place, and, in consequence, the traffic from the south (Lewes and Eastbourne) stopped at the this station. The 4.55 up passenger train from Eastbourne on the 5th January was due here at 5.36 p.m.and it arrived here at 5.36 p.mIt was appointed to leave this station for Eastbourne at 6.54 p.mSome of the up trains that arrived at this station were started back to Eastbourne from the up platformand others were taken across and started back from the down platformThe 4.55 up trainwhich had stopped at the up platformwas directed to be started back to Eastbourne from the same platform by the station master MrWoolrich)I hanothing to do with its being started from the up platformIt was quite darkThe engine after it arrived here had some shunting to do in the goods yard on the western side of the line at the south end of the stationand when that shunting was done it backed to the south end of the train and was hooked on to itThe driver whistled at the proper time for the train to leaveand showed the driver a green light with a hand lamp for the train to proceedThere is no regular starting-signal for a train to leave the station going to Eastbourne from the up platformand was obliged to make use of a green lighthad shifted the points to enable the engine to back to the south end of the train from the sidingsand after the engine had passed them shifted the points moved by lever No11but did not touch the lever No.12 that moved the trailing-points on the up lineWhen the driver whistledbefore I showed the green light I shifted lever No.11 again, by mistake, and the crossover road then stood open to the siding. The train started and run along  the proper linedid not discover that the train was travelling along tho wrong road until it had passed my boxthen gave the driver a hand signal a red lightbut he did not notice it.

George Majorengine-driver 2 1/2 yearsstates was driving engine No231 in front of the 4.55 p.m.train from Eastbourne to Horeham Road station on the 5th JanuaryMy train consisted of a tank-engine and four carriages and four carriagesone of which had a break compartment in itand a break-van at the tail of thee trainwith one guard riding in the break-vanThe train was fitted throughout with the Westinghouse automatic breakWe left Eastbourne at 4.55 p.m., and reached Horeham Road station at 5.33 or 5.34 p.m had some shunting to do in the yardand had finished it a little before 6 p.m., and I then backed to the south end of the train, which was in the same state as I had brought it from Eastbourne. This was the third time that I had been at Horeham Road station that day. I started back from the up platform on the two previous occasions on that day, as well as with the 6.54 p.m. down train. The first train in the morning is due here at 8.10 a.m., and the next train to leave for Eastbourne was at 8.12 a.m. The next train from Eastbourne was due here at 10.42 a.m., and the next train back would be due to leave at 11.19 a.m. I was not told to take the train over to the down platform in either of these casesWhen the 6.54 p.mdown train was ready to startthe station-master gave the signal to startsounded the whistleand got green light from the signal-boxand we started at 6.54 p.mAs passed the signal box showed the signalman the train staffand he then showed me a white light with a hand lampput the staff in its proper place and moved the lever to the middle notchand almost directly after saw the column of the over-bridgeshut off the steam and applied tho breakand then steam the buffer-stopsthink was running about 10 or 12 miles an hour when saw the column of the over-bridgethink might be about 40 yards from the column of the bridge when I first saw itand was running about the same speed when we ran into the buffer-stopswhich were knocked downThe engine did not get off the rails. The first pair of wheels of the break van next the engine got off the rails. No other vehicle got off the rails. I was only running with the chimney of the engine behind. My fireman was slightly hurt. We were both on the engine when the collision occurred. I did not discover that we were running on the wrong road, in consequence of its being so dark.

William John Woolrich, station master at Horeham Road about two years, and 14 years in the Company’s service, states: We left the 4.55 p.m. up train standing alongside of the up platform. The engine was disconnected, went into the siding and did some shunting, and was the hooked on to the south end of the train. At the proper train, 6.54 p.m., I gave the driver the signal to leave. He whistled, and was shown a green light from the signal box, and then he started. I did not know that he ran out on the wrong road. I had no idea of it. I allowed the  train to be started from the up platform so as to avoid the necessity for lighting up the other platform. There were six or seven passenger in the train, One complained of being injured.

From the preceding statements it appears that, a few days before the collision occurred, a slip in an embankment had taken place a short distance to the north of Horeham Road stationand the traffic from Eastbourne towards Tunbridge Wells had only been taken as far north as Horeham Road station, and the traffic southwards was run from the Horeham Road station towards Eastbourne, as no portion of the Horeham Road station had been interfered with in any way to prevent its being properly carried from that station.
On the day in question the 4.55 p.m. up passenger train from Eastbourneconsisting of a tank-engine and four cairiagesreached the Horeham Road station and stopped at the up platform at about 5.36 p.m.and this train was appointed to return to Eastbourne at 6.54 p.m.
The engine was disconnected from the train of carriages (which were left standing alongside of the up platform) and drew ahead, and then returned to the south end of the station and did some shunting in some sidings in the goods yardand when that was completed it was backed out of the sidings on to the up line, and was hooked on to the south end of the train of carriages, in readiness to start from the wrong or up platform for Eastbourne at the appointed time.

The station-master had directed that this train should be started southward from the up platform, and as a consequencewhen the appointed time (6.54 p.m.for this train to leave had arrived, the signal-porter in the signal-box, who had only been doing duty as a signalman for two monthswas obliged, when the driver whistled for a signal from the box for the train to start, to show the driver a green light from a hand-lamp, as there was no starting-signal for a train to leave that platform for the south.

I should explain that the two ends of the cross-over road from the sidings at the south end of the station to the up line were worked by separate levers in the signalboxand it joined the up line by a pair of trailing-points moved by lever No. 12The points at the other end of the cross-over road were shifted by lever No. 11and when the engine had done the shunting these levers both required to be shifted before the engine could get to the up line for the purpose of being hooked on to the trainand the signal porter states that after the engine had reached the up line he shifted the points moved by lever No. 11, but did not touch the lever No. 12 that moved the trailing-points on the up lineso that these points were left standing open to the siding. The signal-porter further states that when the engine-driver whistled for the signal to start, before he showed him a green light he shifted the lever No. 11 again by mistakeand the cross-over road thus stood open for the siding.

The driver says that as be passed the signal-box at the south end of the station he showed the signalman the train staffwho showed him a white light with a handlamp; that he then put the train staff in its proper placemoved the lever to the middle notchand almost directly afterwards saw the column of the over-bridge ; that he then shut off the steamapplied the breakand then struck the buffer-stops when he was running at about 10 or 12 miles an hour, and that he did not see the column of the over-bridge until he was about 40 yards from itand that he did not discover that he was running on the wrong roadin consequence of its being so dark.
The engine knocked down the buffer-stopsbut did not get off the rails, but the leading-wheels of the break-van next the engine got off the rails.
The collision was directly caused by the mistake of the signal-porter in having omitted to shift the trailing-points by lever No. 12 before he showed the enginedriver a green light with his hand-lampand by tho engine-driver or fireman having failed to discover that the train was travelling out of the station on the siding or wrong line ; but the person most to blame was the station-master in permitting the train to be worked out of the station from the up or wrong platform, thus doing away with all the advantages as regards the avoidance of mistakes in signalling which are secured by the interlocking of points and signalsand the reason assigned by the station master for making this change was worthless, that he allowed the train to be started from the up platform so as to avoid the necessity for lighting up the other platforminasmuch as he had previously caused two other trains, during broad
daylightto be started from the up platform.

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