4th JANUARY 1887


Brighton Driver Henry Harland 

and Fireman Unknown


Driver Henry Temple 

and Fireman Joseph Frederick Groves

Depot Unknown 

extracted and adapted from the report by

F.A. Marindin Major.

A collision which occurred on the 4th January, 1887, at Glynde station, on the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway. In this case, the 8.46 p.m. up train from Eastbourne--consisting of engine and tender, horse-box, one first-class, one composite, and one third-class carriage As, and break-van- when approaching Glynde station, where it was due to stop at 9.16 p.m., came into collision at about 9.17 p.m. with an empty goods waggon which was foul of the up main line, having been pushed off the rails of a parallel siding by the 6.26 p.m. up goods train when shunting. The empty waggon was thrown on one side by the engine of the passenger train and much damaged, but none of the vehicles in the passenger train left the rails, although the whole of them were damaged on the left-hand side by striking against the wrecked waggon. No passengers were injured, but the guard of the passenger train, who was sitting in the project.ion in his van, was badly hurt, three of his ribs being broken.


Glynde is an ordinary roadside station with two platforms on the line from Eastbourne to Lewes, here running from east to west, and with sidings on both sides of the line, both at the east and west ends of the station. The point of collision was 233 yards east of the east end of the up platform, and here the line is quite straight and level. There are two lines of sidings outside the up line at this point, and the points connecting these sidings with the up line are close to the east end of the up platform. The sidings are nearly straight, and are 277 yards in length from the points to the buffer-stops. The whole of the points and signals at Glynde are 
interlocked, and are worked from a signal-cabin which stands at the west end of the down platform, 86 yards west of the points of the east sidings, and 319 yards west of the point of collision.

The line curves at the entrance to the station, and an obstruction at the point of collision could not be seen from the signal-box.

The passenger train was fitted with Westinghouse break.


George Cookson states : I am station master at Glynde, where I have been for 17 years. On th 4th January. I was on duty when the 6.25 p.m. up goods train from Eastbourne to Brighton arrived at 8.50 p.m.

That was about the correct time for it to arrive. It is booked to shunt at Glynde to allow the 8.45 p.m. up passenger train from Eastbourne to pass at 9.16 p.m. Immediately on arrival the goods train commenced shunting. It had one waggon to pick up from back road of the east sidings. It put 16 waggons, including the van, in the outside road,” that is the one next to the main line, and it then put back the remainder of the train on to the truck of lime for Crowborongh on the “back road." It had got into the back road at about 9.5, at which time the road was cleared to Berwick. There was no shunter in charge of the operations, which 
were conducted by the men with the train. Before this train-arrived there were standing on the outer road nine empty goods trucks. The two nearest to the buffer-stops stood some distance from the stops, and had been put thereby the same train two days previously. Between these two wagons and a group of seven others in front of them, which had been left there the previous night, there was some interval of space. As far as I know all these wagons were in good order. I stood on the platform and watched the shunting operations until the train was clear. They were carried out in the usual manner; there was no hurry, and there was nothing to find fault with in the speed at which the driver set back into the outer road. The next train which arrived was a down train, which left the station at 9.17 p.m. Immediately afterwards I was informed that the 8.45 p.m. up train had come into collision with a truck which had been foul of the up road. I went down to the spot and found the train standing. 
Neither the engine nor any of the vehicles in the passenger trains had left the rails. The sides of several of them were damaged. 

The end of the truck was broken up. The whole train had run past the obstruction. No passengers were injured. There were very few in the train. The guard appeared to be shaken, but he made no complaint at the time and went on with the train. I am informed that he is now alway off work from the injuries he received. The train consisted of a horse box, one first class, one second class, and one third class carriages, and break van. There was a good deal of snow on the ground. It was fresh snow, of which 3ins. or ins. had fallen that day. It was freezing hard at the time. I could find nothing whatever to account for the truck leaving the rails. There was no scotch or large stone about that I could see. The seven wagons had been put back on the other two. I am sure that after the seven wagons had been put on the outer road the wagon which was afterwards thrown off the rails was then standing all right. Judging from the marks on the rails I do not  think it had been pushed back for more than half its length before leaving the rails. I do not remember any similar case occurring. The signal box is at the west end of the station, and even in daylight the signalman could not have seen that the truck was foul of the main line. Both goods guards were with their train when the collision occurred.

Egbert Suter states: I have been about five years in the service, and a signal porter about 3 1/2 years. I was on duty in the signal box when the accident happened. I had been on the siding between 7.15 and 7.30 p.m. the same day, checking the trucks which had to away. I am sure that the truck which was afterwards in collision was then upon the rails. I saw nothing which could have thrown it off. The engine of the goods train came back very steadily when making the shunts. nothing had been shunting on that siding before on that day.

Alfred Gumbrill states; I have been over 13 years in the service, and over nine years a good guard. on the 4th instant I came on duty at Brighton at 11.45 a.m., and was due off at Brighton 11 p.m. I was working all through the day on the line betweenBrighton and Eastbourne, up and down. I was head guard of the the 6.25 p.m. up goods train from Eastbourne to Brighton. We started at right time, and arrived at Glynde, where we had to shunt the 8.45 p.m. up passenger train, at right time. 

The train then consisted of 35 vehicles, including two break vans, one in the front and one at the rear of the train, mostly empty wagons. There was one wagon to lift from the back siding. The train was pulled up clear of the points, and then backed into the outer road. it stopped twice opposite the platform on the was back to load the luggage box goods. Only the rear part of the train went back into the outer road. Wit had stopped I uncoupled in front of the 15th wagon, leaving 15 wagons and the rear van on the outer road. The train then pulled out again and set back into the back siding. I hooked on one wagon, the only one on the siding, and the train was pushed back until the engine was clear of the points. The driver then whistled, and the points were closed. I then came up to the signal box for my bills, and stopped on the platform until the collision occurred. When the train was being put back into the outer road I did not go back to the rear of the train at all.I did not go farther than the 15th wagon from the rear where I uncoupled. I ride in the front van. The rear guard was holding the points when the train went back into the back road. When the train was setting back into the outer siding I was standing beyond the points between the sidings. My mate was standing on the up platform near the points. I was calling the train back steady with a green light, as I knew there were wagons on the siding. I could see the wagons. My mate did not to the back of the train at all when it was on the outer road. The train was pushed steadily back. After the collision I went down to see what had happened. I found that the rear wagon on the siding had been pushed off the road foul of the main line. i think it had been pushed back from where it had been standing about three lengths before leaving the rails. I could see nothing which could have thrown it off the rails. no big stone or scotch of wood was lying about. I can only imagine that the wheels were clogged by the snow, of which there was a good deal about. I think it is my duty to see that my train is clear of the line when shunting, but I do not think that duty extends to looking round any other vehicles which may be standing on the siding. If a train of which I was in charge was shunted back in an unusually violent manner against such vehicles, I would then think it my duty to see that all was right. There was nothing of that sort upon this occasion. The only goods wagon damaged was the one foul of the main line, the corner of which was knocked off. If I had gone back to the rear van of my train when it stopped on the outer road I could have seen the position of the empty wagons on the siding, supposing I had been on the outside of my train, between the siding and therein line.

Robert Reeves states; I have been about nine years in the service, and about three years a goods guard. On the 4th instant I came on duty at Brighton at about 11.45 a.m. I was riding in the rear van of the 6.25 up goods train. My head guard’s evidence is correct as far as I know. When the collision occurred I was standing near the engine of my train. I had been holding the points. I had got out of my break van when we arrived, and helped with the luggage box goods. I did not go back to my van at all.   

Joseph Frederik Groves states : I have been between 10 and 11 years in the service, and nearly seven years a fireman. On the 4th instant I was fireman with driver Henry Temple. He is not here to-day, being away on leave. When we arrived at Glynde with the 6.25 p.m. up goods train we made two shunts. We set back very steadily indeed, being stopped twice on the way back in the first shunt into the outer siding. There were some empty wagons on the siding which were pushed back for a little way.

Henry Harland stales: I have been over 36 years in the service, and 26 1/2 years a driver. On the 4th instant I came on duty at 8 a.m. at Brighton. My engine (No. 163) is a single engine with 7 ft. 3 in. driving wheels, and with a six-wheeled tender. I was driver of the 8.45 p.m. up train from Eastbourne. It had five vehicles on. I had a Westinghouse Break all through the train, in good order. I used it to stop  between Eastbourne and Glynde. It was a misty night. The signals were clear enough, but there was a frost and fog hanging about the ground. After leaving Berwick I found the distant signal from Glynde at danger, causing me nearly to stop my train. I came forward slowly, and saw, on passing the distant signal, that the stop signal was off. I released my break and applied steam slightly to run into the station. I was running at nearly 15 or 20 miles an hour at the east sidings when I saw about three or four yards in front of me something foul of the up road. i applied the air break immediately, and it was on when I struck the obstruction. I was running with 60 lbs. pressure. There was a very slight shock from the collision. My train stopped in about its own length. I was not injured, nor was my fireman. My guard, who was in the rear van, was a good deal here. After the collision I went back, and found him just getting out of his van. His head was bleeding, and he said his side was hurting him badly. The side projection of his van had been knocked away. The buffer, left outside framing, and steps of my engine were damaged. My train was not delayed for above 10 minutes or a quarter of an hour.  


From the foregoing evidence it appears that this slight collision, which might have been a very serious one if the passenger train had been an express instead of a stopping train, was caused by an empty waggon being thrown off the rails of a siding alongside the up main line during the shunting operations of a preceding goods train.

The empty waggon was the rear one of two which had been placed upon this siding on the evening of the 2nd instant, and which were standing 44 yards away from the buffer-stops at the end uf the siding, and about 10 yards behind another group of seven empty waggons which were left there on the night before that on which the collision occurred.

During the shunting operations the goods train was first set back on to the empty wagons, and, the rear 15 vehicles being uncoupled, was drawn out again and then shunted back into a parallel siding, where it was standing when the collision took place.

It is quite clear that the waggon was thrown off by the group of seven wagons being driven back against the two which had been standing there for two days, and, as all the witnesses agree in stating that there was no unnecessary violence in the shunting operations, it is difficult to explain why this waggon left the rails. There were several inches of snow upon the ground, and the marks showed that the waggon had been pushed back for about 23 yards before it left the rails, and afterwards for about 14 yards on the ballast. I think that owing to the effect of the hard frost on the axle-boxes the wheels did not revolve, but pushed back the snow in front of them, forming a heap which threw them off the rails.

The waggon had been standing foul of the main line for about 14 minutes before the collision took place, so that if any person had gone to look at these wagons the position of the rear one would have been detected.

There is a rule in the Company's book of regulations which makes it the duty of a guard, when performing shunting operations, to take care that the "vehicles are left clear of the main line, and within the safety-points and scotch-blocks''; but this rule seems to refer more to the front than the rear of a train shunting, and certainly does not impose upon the guard the duty of looking round other vehicles on to which his train is set back.

Under these circumstances I do not think that the guards of the goods train should be blamed for this collision, but there would appear to be a necessity for some regulation to guard against any similar occurrence in the future.

Certainly, where there are two guards, as in this case, the post of one of them ought to be at the rear of his train when shunting; and if the rear guard of this goods train had been in or near his van when the train was coming back, instead of attending to other duties, he would probably have seen the waggon thrown off the rails, and have been able to avert the collision.

The driver of the passenger train, which had about 310 yards further to run before stopping at the platform, had no chance of seeing the obstruction until he was close upon it, and too late to do more than get his Westinghouse break applied, and to slop 
his train in about 50 yards.

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