22nd January 1901


On the footplate of Empress, 
Driver Walter Cooper and his Fireman F.W. Way.

Queen Victoria died on 22nd January 1901.  On Friday 1st February, her coffin was taken on board the Royal Yacht, Victoria and Albert for the passage across the Solent to the Royal Clarence Yard, Gosport.  On the day of her funeral, Saturday 2nd February, Victoria station, was closed to the public and ordinary traffic between 9 a.m.  and 11 p.m. in preparation for receiving the royal train, the advertisement and placards were removed and parts of the station structure cleaned up. The journey was to begin on the L.S.W.R. with the train being attached to a Brighton locomotive at Fareham.

Operating difficulties caused the carriages of King Edward’s L.B.S.C.R. train to be reversed into the platform and, according to the prepared seating plan; the coaches were the wrong way around. This was much to the annoyance of the royal and distinguished mourners, including the Kaiser.


There was a delay on changing the engines at Fareham with Brighton ‘B4 class 4-4-0 No. 54 Empress’, coming on to the train. The pilot engine, also a ‘B4, No. 53 Sidar’, was sent off in advance. By the time the funeral train was ready a further two minutes had been lost.
On the footplate of the train engine were L.B.S.C.R. Locomotive Superintendent, R.J. Billinton, with his Outdoor Locomotive Superintendent, J. Richardson, Driver Walter Cooper and Fireman F.W. Way.  Richardson told Driver Cooper that for heaven’s sake he was to make up some time at all cost as the new King would be livid if kept waiting at Victoria.

The old Queen had always insisted that no train in which she travelled should ever exceed 40 m.p.h. during daylight and 30 m.p.h. at night. Driver Cooper did as instructed and the Queen’s remains found themselves travelling at 80 m.p.h. on the flat between Havant and Ford. To Victoria, a top speed of 92 m.p.h. was then reached down Holmwood bank. With such speeds, quite unbecoming for the ultimate Victorian funeral, the train reached Victoria station two minutes early. The German Kaiser was so delighted with the high speed journey that he sent an equerry to congratulate the Driver and Fireman. The King was, at point, none the wiser and completely unruffled. This was not to last.

From Victoria station, the coffin was conveyed on a gun-carriage through London to Paddington Station for the last stage of the journey to Windsor. Before departure of the train, the King was heard to say to the emperor, ‘come along, hurry up we are 20 minutes late!’ On arrival at Windsor the hawsers provided to haul the gun-carriage frozen up and the horses had become restive in the intense cold. Communication cords had to be taken from berthed G.W.R. coaches to enable seamen to haul the gun-carriage. 

Extracted from the book

Going of the rails


30 January 1901

Newhaven Engine Cleaner Alfred Lower (aged 19), whilst about the track at Newhaven, fractured his right elbow.  Alfred Lower was assisting Newhaven Passed Fireman Fred Harris shunting  coal wagons. Harris told Lower to hold some hand points, but Lower did not him clearly. He turned to ask what he said and fell over the exposed point rod. The accident was caused by badly exposed point rod and the fact it was dark in the area. It was also stated that Lower was acting contrary to the Company rules, but Lower had not received a copy of these. The recommendation made, that the exposed point rods should be made safe. Also, engine cleaners should not operate couplings without having a copy of the rules. Finally, hand lamps should be given to those doing shunting operations.

4th February 1901

Newhaven Fireman James Beach (aged 31) was on a tank engine approaching Seaford, and he tried to put water into the boiler, but the pup did not work. He went on to the side frame and opened a tap, but on returning fell to the ballast and was concussion of the brain. Beach was partly at fault, for he would have waited until the train reached the station. But the design of the engine meant  that enginemen were likely to take risks if the water pump did not work. The company should consider making arrangements enabling enginemen to open pet taps or pump valves from the footplate of all engines.


extracted from the R.C.T.S. book of L.B.S.C.R. Locomotive

Fireman James Beach who was working an A Class Terrier Tank No. 41 'Piccadilly', on the 4th February 1901, On this morning he was running light engine from Newhaven to Seaford, there to undertake a spell of shunting before working a goods back to Lewes. When about three hundred yards from Seaford beach he attempted to feed water to the boiler only to find the pumps would not to work, so he had to walk along the side framing and opened the left hand pet tap. On making his way back to safety of his cab a sudden jerk upset Driver Beach’s grip and he fell to the  ballast. fortunately the engine wheels missed him.

Purley & Stoat’s Nest (Coulsdon) Branch of A.S.L.E. & F. 

was founded on the 21st March 1901

The branch was made up of members from both railway companies (the L.B.S.C.R. & S.E.R.) which would off included any members from Caterham & Tattenham Corner steam sheds

Railway accident on the 


London Bridge 9th April 1901


29th May 1901

New Cross engine driver Upton, on the 29th May 1901, whilst working in the Clapham Junction area, received injuries when his engine ran off the catch points


15th June 1901

New Cross engine driver, Zachariah Hubbert, after backing his train into Victoria Carriage Sidings, Hubbert went under the engine to oil the motions. Two more carriages were loose shunted by the pilot engine into the siding. Hubert was fatally crushed as they made contact with his engine.The accident was caused by Shunter Norris's lack of judgement in directing the pilot driver to loose shunt the carriages to make up the train quickly. The pilot used too much force, and Norris was unaware Hubbert under engine. Recommendations, that the shunter be prohibited from loose shunting coaches into the sidings where engines were standing unless controlled with a handbrake. 


12th July 1901

Fireman Alfred Boswell (aged 30), whilst oiling underneath his engine at London Bridge, another engine proceeded to hit it and caused him injuries to abdomen and ribs. The other driver failed to see the driver and fireman oiling their engine. 

Drivers Robert Graham and Charles Winslet are mentioned in the accident.


25th July 1901

Engine driver Alfred Boswell (aged 39) left the footplate to see if he had enough water. His measure hit the footbridge at Gatwick and hit his eye. Cause of the accident was there was  gauge glass, and he had to leave the cab whilst in motion. The recommendations was to fit gauge glasses and to forbid leaving the cab in motion.


24th November 1901

Engine driver James Weller (aged 42), whilst in charge of tank engine No.355 with his fireman T. Seager, were  travelling from Sydenham to Crystal Palace. Engine driver James Weller fell from his engine and received a fractured skull and remained off work at the time of the inquiry. There is no exact cause of the mishap but with the engine slipping, and sand was applied and Weller may have fallen checking if it was running from the sand box. Fireman T. Seager was looking over the opposite side. The accident was caused by doors are not fitted on this engine, between the upright hand pillars, so it is suggested that the Company fits such doors for future safe.



On the 21st December 1901, a speed ran with the down express to Brighton, with a Billinton 
B4 Class No. 70 'Holyrood,'  in 53 minutes and 49 seconds at an average speed of 57 ¼ 
m.p.h. while on Christmas Day of that year, another B4 Class, No. 68 'Malborough,’ 
completed the same journey in 51 minutes 11 seconds with a maximum speed of 88 m.p.h. 
near Horley.

This, however, was but a foretaste of what these engines could really do when given their 
head. About this time there were proposals in the air for a rival electrified line to Brighton, 
coupled with the specious promise of fifty miles in fifty minutes, and the L.B. & S.C.R. 
decided to show that whatever electricity could do, steam could do better. 

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