1910

STOAT'S NEST


ON THE 29th JANUARY 1910


INVOLVING BRIGHTON DRIVER JOHN THOMPSETT, 


HIS FIREMAN IS UNKNOWN


Extracted and adapted from the report



 PHOTOGRAPHER UNKNOWN 

On the 29th January the 3. 40 p.m. up train from Brighton to Victoria, consisting of an engine, tender, and ten vehicles, was approaching Stoat’s Nest Station, the six rear vehicles of the train were derailed to the left side of the line on which they were travelling; the leading derailed vehicle, which broke loose from the front portion of the train, was swung broadside on to the direction in which it was travelling, and in that position came into collision with the ramp of the station platform; this vehicle was totally wrecked, and five of the passengers who were travelling in it were killed instantaneously, as also were two men standing on the platform at the time. The five rear vehicles of the train were also derailed, but they were comparatively slightly damaged, and none of them were fatally injured; 65 of the passengers in the train, however, notified the Company of personal injuries sustained, but of these only eight were detained in hospital for more than 24 hours, and it is not anticipated that any of these latter cases will terminate fatally.

The engine of the train was a four wheels coupled tender engine with a leading bogie and one trailing pair of wheels. It was fitted with the Westinghouse automatic brake, working on the bogie wheels, and the coupled wheels, and the tender wheels, and it was also fitted with a hand brake working the blocks on the tender wheels.

The train consisted of the following vehicles, attached to the engine in order:-

                                         No. of  Wheels   Weight

Brake van No. 368,                          6         16 tons
Pullman car Albert Victor,               8         28 tons
Pullman car Prince                           8         28 tons
Bogie third brake 804                      8          23 tons
Bogie lavatory third 1325                8          24 tons
Bogie Composite 113                       8          25 tons
Pullman car Princess Patricia          12         40 tons
Bogie Composite 525                       8          25 tons
Bogie Composite 77                         8         25 tons
Bogie third brake 803                       8         23 tons

These vehicles were all fitted with the Westinghouse automatic brake, working blocks on all the wheels, with the exception of the centre pair of wheels of the six wheeled brake van next the tender. The brakes on both the engine and vehicles of these train are reported to have been excellent order.

The vehicles of the train were all provided with the electric communication apparatus, the application of which rings bells on the engine and in the guard’s.

  PHOTOGRAPHER UNKNOWN 


Description 

Stoat’s Nest Station is situated on the line, 6 ¾ miles in length, constructed about 10 years ago between Stoat’s Nest and Earlswood, and which now forms the route for the express traffic between London and Brighton. 

The station consists of three platforms, lying approximately north and south, viz., the up local platform on the west side of the line, the down local through platform on the east side of the line, and the island platform lying between the above. The only platform however, which is connected with this accident is the one on the east side of the station, viz., the down local through platform, between which and the island platform lie the up and down local through lines. The up and down main lines do not pass through the station at all, but run past it close to the back or east side of the down local through platform, the up main line lying on the west side of the down main line. 

There is a signal box, known as the Stoat’s Nest south signal box, on the west side of these up and down main lines, and it is situated 160 yards to the south of the south end of the down local through platform. At a spot situated 150 yards to the south of this signal box there is a double junction on the main lines, the facing connection being on the up main line; the two right hand lines at this double junction continue straight on, forming the up and down main lines, whilst the two other lines branch off towards the left and run into the station, forming the up and down through local lines.

About 10 yards to south of this double there is a through crossing on the up main line leading from the down main line to some sidings on the west of the line, and 40 yards to the south of this through crossing there is on the up main line a trailing connection of a cross over road between the up and down main lines. 
The train concerned in this accident was running on the up main line, and was due to run through on that line without passing through the actual station at all.
 

The up main line is almost perfectly straight both in approaching, and running past the station, and in approaching the station, and in approaching the station it is on a falling gradient varying from 1 in 100 to 1 in 125 for just over half a mile. 

The permanent way was generally in the neighbourhood of the spot where this accident occurred was found to be in excellent condition; the rails are bull headed ones, weighing 96lbs to the yard; the fish plates weigh 32lbs the pair, and the chairs 42lbs each; the sleepers are of the usual dimensions, and there are 18 of them to each 45ft rail length; the ballast is of gravel and granite chippings. The double junction had been completely relaid with new materials in October 1909. 

The facing points of the double junction near the south signal box was fitted with usual safety appliances; it was provided with a plunger, a locking bar 35 feet in length, and a detector; there was also a treadle fixed about 50 yards a head of the facing points, by means of which it was rendered impossible for the signalman, after he had lowered his signals, to put the signal lever completely back in the frame until the train had reached that treadle; it was therefore impossible for the signalman to shift the points until the engine reached the treadle, and then the locking bar would bar prevent his shifting them until the whole train was clear of them. 

The switches at the facing points were examined immediately after the accident, and were found to be in excellent working order; the only trace of the derailment to be found on them being that two of the fiver stretcher rods were slightly bent. The guage of the line at the actual point of the switches was practically correct, but ahead of the points it was slightly tight to gauge, it being the Company’s custom to make the gauge of the line a quarter of an inch tight at the crossing. These facing points were laid in new in October, 1909, when the double junction was relaid.

It should be note that the curve portion of the up local line ahead of the facing points has a check rail fitted on the inside of its left hand rail; this check rail, which commences at a spot 34 feet ahead of the facing points, has its end secured at that spot to the left hand rail of the up main line.

The following are respective distances of the various signal boxes referred to in this report from the Stoat’s Nest south box:-
1, Star Lane box, 1 mile 66 chains south of the south box.
2, Cane Hill box 53 chain south of ditto.
3 Stoat’s Nest central box, 21 chains north of ditto.
4, Stoat’s Nest north box, 41 chains north of ditto

On the line between Stoat’s Nest and Earlswood there is a covered way and two tunnels, and the following particulars show their respective positions and lengths:-

Stoat’s Nest Junction south signal box to the north end of Cane Hill covered way, 14 chains, 63 links.

North end of Cane Hill covered way to south end of ditto 13 chains 78 links.
South end of Cane Hill covered way to north end of Merstham Tunnel 2 miles 28 links.
North end of Merstham Tunnel to the south end of ditto 1 mile 5 chains and 70 links.
South end of Merstham Tunnel to north end of Redhill tunnel 2 miles 29 chains 32 links.
North end of Redhill Tunnel to south end of ditto 27 chains 13 links.
South end of Redhill Tunnel to centre of Earlswood station 46 chains 27 links
The clock of St Anne’s School, which is alluded to by one of the witness is visible when the train is just to the north of the north end of Redhill tunnel, i.e., at a distance of about 5 ¾ miles from Stoat’s Nest.


 PHOTOGRAPHER UNKNOWN 


Evidence 
John Thompsett, driver, states: I have been over 36 years in the service of the Company, and passed for driver nearly 29 years ago. I came on duty on the 29th January at 7.30 a.m., and was due to come off duty at 7.20 p.m. we arrived at Brighton at 1 p.m., to leave again at 3.40 p.m., so that I got an interval of rest at Brighton. I came off duty on the previous evening at 9.15 p.m. I was in charge of the engine of the 3.40 p.m. train from Brighton to London, I had worked the 8.45 a,m. express train from Brighton to London that morning, and brought back the 11.40 a.m. down train from London to Brighton, and I then took the 3.40 p.m. up train to London. I had had the same engine on each of the journeys, but the coaches on these three trains were not the same. My engine was a four wheeled coupled tender engine with leading bogie and a trailing pair of wheels. It was fitted with the Westinghouse automatic brake, working blocks on the bogie wheels and on the coupled wheels, also on the tender wheels, and it was fitted with a hand brake working blocks on the tender wheels. My brakes were in good order. We left Brighton punctually at 3.40 p.m. until reaching Stoat’s Nest, nothing in the least unusual had occurred on the journey. Just after we passed the facing points at Stoat’s Nest. I found that the automatic brake was applied. As near as I can say, my engine was close to the Central box up through home signal when I felt the automatic brake applied. I thought, from the brake being applied, that one of the brake pipes burst, so I told my mate to put the air pump on so as to keep the pressure up. I had a pressure of 80 in the main reservoir, and only 65 in the train pipe, so I turned the Westinghouse handle so as to put full pressure into the train pipe, hoping to be able to get the train on to East Croydon. I found, however, I could not keep the pressure up so thought there must be something else wrong. I accordingly looked back over my side and saw that the train had parted. I stopped my engine then as quickly as I could. I was just down below the north box when I came to a stand. I found that there were four vehicles attached to my engine. I estimate my speed at the time that the automatic brake was applied at just over 40 miles an hour. There was a speed indicator on the engine, and I looked at it afterwards and found that it registered 40 miles an hour. About mile from Stoat’s Nest Station I had reduced the pressure a little, but did not shut the regulator, only eased it a little. I had not applied any brakes at all on the engine whilst approaching Stoat’s Nest. Before reaching the facing points I noticed nothing unusual with the running of my train.

James Wood, guard, states: I have been over 34 years in service of the Company and have been a guard for 33 years. I came on duty on the 29th January at 7. a.m. and was due to come off duty at 5.20 p.m. I was head guard of the 3.40 p.m. up train from Brighton to London, and I joined the train at Brighton. My train consisted of an engine, tender and 10 vehicles, and I was riding in the fourth vehicle from the engine which was a bogie third brake. The vehicles of the train were fitted with the automatic Westinghouse brake working on all the wheels of the train except the centre pair of the leading brake van. My brakes were in good order. We left Brighton punctually at 3.40 p.m. I should estimate our speed at from 45 to 50 miles an hour when we were approaching Stoat’s Nest. Previous to reaching Stoat’s Nest I had noticed nothing unusual with the running of the train. Just after my vehicle passed the south box I noticed that the rear part of my brake van was shaking about. I myself was riding in the front portion of it. The vehicle shook about just for a second and then became steady again. I then looked out and found the train had parted in rear of my brake van. I then tried attract the driver's attention so as to get him to stop. Just about the same time that I noticed my vehicle shaking about the automatic brakes were applied sharp. We ran on to the north signal box and came to a stand there. My vehicle had passed the facing points before I noticed the shaking of my vehicle. Before reaching these facing points I had notice no shaking whatever in my train. I did not notice any variation in the speed of the train when approaching Stoat’s Nest nor had the automatic brake been applied at all. The brake had certainly not been applied previous to my vehicle shaking about. Before leaving Brighton I had myself examined the couplings of the train and I could see nothing in them defective at all. The train had not stopped at all since leaving Brighton. I do not think there were more than eight people travelling in the vehicle immediately behind mine. I saw our signals at Stoat’s Nest and they were all off for us, including the distant. I had very little luggage in my van that day. None of the passengers riding in my vehicle complained of any discomfort on the journey. I did not hear any grinding of the wheels anywhere on the journey. We had a clear road all the way up from Brighton – all the distant signals being off for us. We are booked to leave Brighton at 3.40 p.m. and we left at 3.40 p.m. We were due at Keymer Junction at 3.56 p.m. and we passed at 3.55 p.m. We were due at Three Bridges at 4.11 p.m. and passed there at 4.10. p.m. We were due at Earlswood Junction at 4.20 p.m. and passed it 4.19 p.m. We were due at Stoat’s Nest at 4.30 p.m. and passed it at 4.29 pm. We picked up a minute in running from Brighton to Keymer Junction and after that we adhered to booked times until reaching Stoat’s Nest.

Reginald James Leggett, signalman, states: I have been in the service of the Company about 7 years and have been a signalman about 4 1/2 years. I am now employed at Star Lane and have been employed there for two years. I came on duty on the 29th January at 2 p.m. to work till 10 p.m. I came off duty at 10 p.m. the previous day. The 3.40 p.m. up train passed my box at 4.26 p.m. I noticed it running past my box. The train passed my box at its usual speed. I noticed unusual with running of it. The second portion of the train passed my box at 4.33 p.m. The first I heard of the accident was a telephone message from Cane Hill telling me the second portion of the train was stopped at that box. The second portion had been duly accepted by Cane Hill.

Edward Burstow, signalman, states: I have been seven years in the service of the company, and have been a signalman for one month. I am employed at Cane Hill signal box have been employed there for one month. The first portion of the 3.40 p.m. up train passed my box at 4.25 p.m. I noticed the train running past my box. I noticed nothing unusual at all with its running, and its speed was about the same as usual. This train had been accepted from me by Stoat's Nest south at 4.21 p.m. The first I knew of the accident was at 4.27 p.m., when I received the Absolute Block signal from Stoat's Nest south signal box. At 4.26 p.m. I had accepted the second portion of the train from Star Lane. On receiving the Absolute Block signal from Stoat's Nest, I put all my signal to danger, and about doing so, the second portion arrived. It came to rest at my home signal. I did not hear any unusual noise when the first portion of the train ran past my box. The window of my box was open at the time, so had there been any unusual noise I should probably have heard it. I had not offered the second portion of the train to Stoat's Nest south, and had not received Line Clear for it. I was mistaken in saying I put my signals back to danger for the second portion as the signals had never been lowered for that portion.

Albert Knight signalman states: I have been 23 years in the service of the company, and have been a signalman for 18 years. I am now employed at Stoat's Nest s south, and have been employed there for 10 years last October. I came on duty on the 29th January at 2 p.m., to work to 10 p.m., and had come off duty at 10 p.m. the previous night. At 4.24 p.m. I had accepted the first portion of the 3.40 p.m. up train from Cane Hill, and at 4.25 p.m. I lowered my signals for it, when the central box had accepted the train from me. The train passed my box at 4.28 p.m. I noticed it passing the box. It passed my box at the usual speed of this train. The first thing I noticed unusual about the train was that some sparks were flying from underneath one of the coaches about the centre  of the train. At the time I noticed these sparks, the vehicle from which they were coming had not passed my box. The vehicle was about 100 yards on the south side of my box when I first noticed the sparks. I cannot say for absolute certain from what portion of the vehicle the sparks were coming, but I took it to be from the front. The sparks appeared to be coming from the left-hand side of the train. If they had been from the right hand side I should probably not have seen them. As the train passed my box I was watching it, and I noticed that a portion of the train left the line. It was a vehicle near the centre of the train that seemed to leave the line, and it appeared to the vehicle from which the sparks were coming. It left the line towards the left. The derailed vehicle appeared to go crossways, and the further it went the more crossways it got. I cannot say what happened to the vehicles in front of it. I saw that the vehicles behind the derailed one were also derailed, some in one direction and some in another. There is a facing point about 50 yards south of my box. As far as I could see, all the vehicles went through the facing point correctly. I had no difficulty in working the facing points after the accident. The facing point was entirely uninjured by the accident. At the time the accident happened, all my signals were lowered for the train. I had not put any of my signals to danger at the time the accident happened. I had not shifted the facing point at all while the train was approaching the station. The facing point is provided with a plunger and a bar, and the interlocking makes it impossible for me to shift the plunger whilst the signals are lowered. There is a treadle fixed someway to the central box, and until the train is clear of the treadle I cannot put the signal lever fully back so as to release the locking. I formed no opinion at the time as to what had been the cause of the derailment. I have never had any trouble with the facing points. At first I thought that the sparks must be coming from the the axle box, but when the vehicle passed me I did not think it was from a hot axle, on account of their looking like electric sparks. The sparks were of an unusual appearance, and I had never seen similar sparks coming from a vehicle before. After seeing the sparks coming from the vehicle, I was on the point of going to the instrument to send the Stop and examine train signal, but before I could do so the derailment occurred. As soon as the vehicle came into my view, I saw the sparks flying from it. My box is on the west side of the line. The boxes at Star Lane and Cane Hill are on the east side. The sparks were somewhat similar to those coming from a blacksmith's anvil. I did not notice any smoke, but I could hear the sparks as the train was coming to me. The vehicle did not appear to be lurching at all from side to side. As far as I could see it was running quite steadily until got to the corner of my box. The sound was a sort of hissing sound. I did not hear any noise from the sparks when I first saw them, but I heard them as the vehicle approached my box. The moment the derailment occurred I blocked all the lines. Twenty four trains had passed through these facing points since 6 a.m. that day.

Frank Bowers, signalman, states: I have been 18 years of the company, during the whole of which time I have been employed as a signalman. I came on duty on the 29th January at 2 p.m. to work till 10 p.m. I came off duty at 10 p.m. on the 28th. I am employed in Stoat's Nest Central Signal box and have been employed there for 10 years. I was offered the 3.40 p.m. train from the south box at 4.24 p.m.; I accepted it at 4.26 p.m. I offered it to the north box at 4.26 p.m. and he accepted it forthwith. I lowered my signals for it at 4.26 p.m. I saw the engine of the train as it was coming past the station. I noticed nothing unusual about it. As the engine and the vehicles attached to it passed my box I noticed it was much smaller train than usual. I was surprised at not seeing at not seeing the train of the usual size, and on looking back I saw the wreckage of the rear portion of the train at the station. I did not see the derailment actually occur and can throw no light on the case of it. The front portion of the train passed my box and came to a stand near the north box. The train passed my box at a much slower speed than usual. I noticed that there was no tail lamp on the train when it passed my box, and it was on then looking back that I saw the rear portion of the train was wrecked. I at once sent the Stop and Examine train signal to the north box, and I received the blocking signals from the south box. All my signals were off for the train at the time.

 Mr. Alfred Chalker states: I am stationmaster at Stoat's Nest and have been employed as stationmaster there for two years and nine months. At the time of this accident I was a few yards from the porters' room door on the up local platform, No.1. The first I knew of the accident was hearing the noise, and I turned round and just saw a derailed carriage sliding up the ramp of the down local through platform. The derailed vehicle travelled up the ramp broadside on. It seemed to just reach the water column and then stop. The water column was knocked down though I did not notice it at the time. I at once ran over and saw what had happened . From what I saw myself I can throw no light on the cause of the accident. It was quite a clear afternoon and there was no difficulty in seeing the signals.

Mr. James Petrie states: I am divisional engineer of the Brighton Railway and have held that appoint for seven years. I was travelling in the train that was derailed, and I was travelling in the rear end og the Pullman car which was the seventh vehicle of the train. Just before reaching the facing points I noticed that the train was slightly checked, and immediately after this the vehicle in which I was, was derailed. I felt that the vehicle in which I was  travelling had mounted the rails on the left side and that it threw us over towards the 6-foot, and directly we got over the left hand rail the vehicle turned over towards the near side. We ran a short distance like that and then came upright again. I am accustomed to travelling in this carriage, and on this occasion I noticed there was a little more oscillation than usual but nothing to call for special remark. If no accident had occurred I should not have taken any steps to report the matter. Until the check occurred nothing had occurred to cause me to form the opinion that of the vehicles in front of mine were not running properly. I should estimate our speed running through the covered way at Stoat's Nest at between 45 and 50 miles an hour. The brakes were not applied but I recognised that the driver had eased the speed a little before reaching Stoat's Nest. I can give no define evidence as to the state of the couplings, but as far as the riding of the train was concerned there appeared nothing wrong with them.

 Thomas Youatt, Pullman car conductor, states: I have been about three years in the service of the Pullman Car Company. I am employed as a Pullman car conductor and was travelling in the seventh vehicle of the train. When my vehicle was passing the south signal box I felt a sort of wrench and then we went on and jostled from one side to the other, and we went on until we reached the corner of the platform when the vehicle stopped. At the time the wrench took place some force seemed to pull my vehicle away from the straight line towards the left. Previous to the wrench occurring I had noticed nothing unusual in the running of the vehicle. It is only on Saturdays that I travel in that vehicle, but I have worked that vehicle a great many Saturdays. I noticed nothing whatever at all unusual in its running on that Saturday. At the time of the accident I was collecting my tickets, and if the train had previously been running unevenly I should have notice it. Until the accident occurred I had no idea that there was anything wrong with the train at all.

John Mitchell, district inspector, states: I have been 28 years in the service of the Company and gave been district inspector for 10 years. I am in charge of East Croydon District which includes Stoat's Nest. My district includes all the points to the south of Stoat's Nest station. On Friday last, 28th February, I had walked over the up main line opposite the Stoat's Nest south box with the ganger. We walked over and looked at the facing points near the south box. We found nothing wrong with them. We did not gauge the line at all on the occasion. My instructions are to keep the gauge at the points of the switch to 4 feet 8 1/2 inches and at the heel of the switch to 4 feet 8 1/4 inches. These points were put in new on the 3rd October last, and on the 4th October Chief Inspector Taylor and I checked the gauge together. On that day we found the gauge to be precisely in accordance with the figures given above. I have never checked the gauge of these points since myself. The points have worked well ever since they have been in and we have never had any complaints about them. To my knowledge the signalmen have never made any complaints about these points. I myself examined the points on the Monday after the accident, that is January 31st. I found the gauge at the points of the switch 4 feet 8 1/2 and at the heel slightly tighter than 4 feet 8 1/4 inches. The gauge has not been altered since the accident. As far as I can say, there was nothing in the condition of the points to have led to the accident. The rails at this point are 96lbs. to the yard. As far as I know the line near the south box is in good order. The new facing points were put in in October simply because the old ones were somewhat worn, in fact in October we relaid the double junction altogether. The facing points were uninjured with the exception that the tie rods were slightly bent. The points worked quite well after the accident and nothing has been done to them since.

James Ernest Taylor, chief inspector, states: I have been 25 years in the service of the Company and have been chief inspector four years. I am chief inspector of the northern district and am well acquainted with all the lines through Stoat's Nest station. I am well acquainted with the facing points near the south signal box. I myself examined these points on Monday 4th October, the day after they had been newly laid in. I gauged them and found the gauge to be 4 feet 8 1/2 inches at the point of the switch and 4 feet 8 1/4 at the heel. That is the usual gauge to which we make out points. I have not critically examined them since that date but have walked over them. The last occasion before this accident on which I looked at these points was January 1st, 1910. I only looked at them on this occasion but found nothing whatever wrong with them. I examined the points on the evening of the day on which the accident occurred. I did not gauge them until Sunday morning. On the Saturday night I noticed that the stretcher rods were slightly bent and that there was a slight foreign mark on the back planing of the closed  switch. This mark was between the second and third stretcher rod. I formed no opinion at the time as to what had caused the accident. There appeared to be no defect in the facing point, it could not have been in a more perfect condition. It was on Sunday, the 30th, that I gauged the line again. I found the gauge at the point of the switch to be 4 feet 8 1/2 inches and at the sleeper where the check rail terminates I found the gauge to be 4 feet 8 1/8th inches which is 1/8th tight to gauge. I have never received any complaint as to the working of these facing points. The points had not been touched after the accident until I gauge them on the Sunday, and I gave instructions they were not to be touched at all and they have not been touched since. There was no evidence of a wheel having taken the wrong road until you get beyond the heel of the points. I attribute the alteration of gauge to pressure on the check rail.

Thomas Sullivan, ganger, states: I have been 18 years in the service of the Company and have been ganger for three years. I am in charge of Stoat's Nest station lines and have had charge of them for three years. On Friday, 28th January, I had inspected the up main line near the south signal box. I had found no defeat in it calling for attention. I always take great precaution at the facing points and had looked at them on this occasion. I found nothing whatever wrong with them. I took the gauge of the points that Friday afternoon. I found the gauge at the points themselves to be exactly 4 feet 8 1/2 inches. I tried the gauge also at the heel of the switches and found them rather tighter than 4 feet 8 1/4 inches. I did not consider this was enough to cal for alteration, and I did not alter them at all. I have never had any trouble with these points since I have been in charge of them. The signalman had never made any complaint of faulty working. I examined the points again on the Saturday immediately after the accident and I then found no defect in them. I did not, however, have them worked from the box to see if they would work right. No alteration has been made to the points since the accident. No work has been done on these points either by me or the linesman since the accident. I am in charge up to the crossover road about 100 yards south of the signal box. I keep the gauge of the lines on the straight at 4 feet 8 1/2 inches. Generally speaking the up line through Stoats Nest gives me no trouble at all. On the day of the accident I had walked through my line and examined the portion near the south box both at 7 a.m. and at 1 p.m. I have not noticed that points got tight to gauge at the heel of the switch. The points were laid new in October and no alteration has been made to them at the heel since they were laid in. No adjustments to gauge has been made anywhere near the heel of these points.

Edwin Axford, signal linesman, states: I have been nearly 45 years in the service of the company and have been a signal linesman 33 years. I am in charge of the signal fittings at Stoat's Nest, including the facing point near the south box. The present facing point was fixed on the 3rd October, 1909. I have been responsible for the working of it ever since. I have not had the least trouble with these points. No complaints have been made as to the working of these points. I walked over the points on the Wednesday previous to the accident. I did not make any special examination of them but only looked at them. I did not see them work. They appeared to me to be in good order. I arrived on the scene of the accident about 6 p.m. on the 29th and at once went to the points. I found no defect in them. I found the points still set for the main road and did not alter them. I have not since found any defect in the points which would account for the accident. No alteration has been made to the points since the accident. To my knowledge these points have never been altered or adjusted since they were fixed in October last. 

Henry Batchelor, train examiner, states: I have been in the service of the Company for nearly 40 years and have been employed as a train examiner for 18 years. I am now stationed at Brighton. At 3 p.m. on the 29th January I examined the vehicles of the 3.40 up train to London. The vehicles were then standing in No. 5 road, Brighton station, marshalled ready to go away. There were 10 vehicles all coupled together. I walked down both sides of the train. The vehicles were all coupled up together, and I examined all the couplings and couplings and could find no defect in them. I looked underneath every carriage so as to examine the condition of the wheels. I think if there had been anything wrong with the wheels my examination would have detected it. I did not actually gauge any of the vehicles. If these had been any axle slightly bent I think I should have detected it. I had been examining this train every day of that week.I do occasionally detect a worn flange. I have never at these inspections detected a wheel that was wrong to gauge. As far as I could detect everything was in good working order when the train left Brighton. I examined the same train on its arrival at 1 p.m. the same day and then examined all the axle boxes. None of them showed any signs of running hot. There was no defect which I could detect when the train arrived at Brighton.

James Walter Betts, carriage lifter, states: I have been in the service of the Company about 3 1/2 years and have been employed as a carriage lifter about 10 months. I am now stationed at Victoria. I examined the 11.40 a.m. down train from Victoria on the 29th January. I examined it about 11.25 a.m. It was then standing in No.7 Road at Victoria station. It was all coupled up and marshalled ready to go away. I walked down the ballast side of the train and tapped all the wheels and then walked down the platform side and inspected them as well as I could. I found nothing wrong with the wheels. I examined the axles as far as I could from the side. I just looked at all the couplings but did not detect anything wrong with them. As far as I was able to detect I could not find anything wrong with the train. I looked at the axle boxes and they appeared to be all right. I felt the axle boxes and  none of them were running hot. There were no signs of any axles having been hot.

Mr. D. Earle Marsh state: I am locomotive and carriage engineer for the Company and have held that appointment just over five years. I came on the scene of the accident in a break down train from Brighton arriving at Stoat's Nest at 8.5 p.m. I examined the condition of the rolling stock of the train on my arrival. The engine    and four front vehicles had already left for Victoria when I arrived, so I did not examine them. The leading vehicle of the train which was at Stoat's Nest on my arrival was an eight wheeled third class bogie coach. The coach was completely wrecked.  It was lying practically at right angles to the line which it should have been on, and the bogies were knocked from under it. The bogies were in an extraordinary state of preservation considering what they had been through, and the underframe of the coach was also intact except that one of the tie bars was  knocked off, and it was an extraordinary thing under the circumstances that the coach was not entirely smashed to pieces. The body of the coach was more or less smashed up. My assistants had commenced to lift the coach before my arrival and had doubtless done a certain amount of damage to it thereby in order to get the chains round it. This was constructed in December, 1905, and has been in use more or less ever since though at times it has been in for examination. When it was of entirely new construction and design. It weighed 24 tons and had a seating accommodation of 70 passengers. This coach was in the shops in December, 1909. After it had been lifted and examined all the wheels taken out and the wheels either re-turned or replaced with wheels which had just been re-turned and re-gauged, and a thorough examination made of all the running parts, it was sent into traffic again on the 24th December. Before going out into traffic everything in connection with it would have been carefully examined especially all the running gear and all the brake gear. It has come to my knowledge that the leading pair of wheels which I have specially examined have been on the line since 1902. It was the leading pair of wheels as the coach was running to London. I have had occasion to examine this pair of the wheels specially. These wheels. have been on the line for eight years. At the time they were put on the line they were the best wheels that money could buy, in fact they cost the Company 50 per cent. more than wheels which are similarly used by other Companies. They were supplied by the Leeds Wheel and Axle Company. The axle with its where supplied together, made to the Brighton specification. I found that the wheel on the right side facing London was very much knocked about, and the wheel on the left hand side had shifted outwards an inch on its wheel seat. The shift was evidently an absolutely new one. The surface where the wheel had been on the axle showed a bright metal to metal contact. The wheel has to be pressed on to the axle with a pressure of 60 tons, and under these circumstance it must have taken a very big pressure to moved it, a greater pressure than the pressing on pressure. I know from experience it takes a much bigger pressure to remove a wheel from an axle than the pressure with which it is fixed. The wheel which had shifted on its axle was the left leading wheel as the vehicle was running to London. If this wheel was shifted on its axle before the accident occurred it would fully account for the sparks which the signalman saw, for this reason: the outside of the tyre had been grinding on the flanges of the bogie frame adjacent to it to such an extent that the frame had at some time been red hot and had been ground away for quite an inch in depth. The frame is at the present moment not only ground away but it is bulged out as a result of contact. I cannot imagine that that all took place before derailment but after what I have heard this morning from the signal man in the South Box, I think it is highly probable that at all events a portion of it took place before the derailment. Had I not heard the evidence of the sparks I should have found it very difficult to believe that the shift of the wheel took place before the accident. To begin with, any passenger riding in the coach would have found it so untenable that they would have made use of the communication cords, and finally if the bogie frames were cut away and battered in the state are now, prior to the accident the coach would have left the road. Apart from the evidence of the sparks it would be quite credible that the wheel was shifted on the axle as the result of the derailment, seeing what it had to go through before it landed in the position it took up on the platform. It is quite evident to my mind that the leading bogie of the derailed coach took the slow road at the facing point or just after the facing point. There are marks to show it, and the position of the coupling on the leading end of the derailed coach and on the trailing end of the coach in front of it show that the coupling itself did yeoman service in trying to keep the derailed coach in its original direction. The broken screw coupling showed a perfectly sound fracture which it must have taken over 25 tons to rupture. The draw hook of the derailed vehicle is bent towards the right and the draw hook of the vehicle in front of it is bent a corresponding amount towards the left. It absolutely proves that the coupling was not broken until the derailed vehicle was off the line. The next vehicle behind the derailed one was a bogie composite. It was extraordinary and almost incomprehensible to see how little damage was done to this coach. The front board on the leading end on the left hand side was splintered, otherwise the  running gear and the frame and the body was, one might say, absolutely intact, so much so that when the coach was re-railed and put on its own bogies it was pushed out of the way by manual labour. This same coach has since been sent to New Cross on its own wheels for inspection. The only damage done to the remaining portion of the train was that the rear bogie of the Pullman car was knock from under it. This had ploughed through chalk and broken rails and was embedded in the chalk above its axles. I have never known an instance of a carriage wheel such as this one in question shifting on its axle. If this wheel had been shifted to the amount it has now shifted when it was standing Brighton station I think it would certainly have been detected by the carriage examiner. I am absolutely of belief that the wheel must have shifted its position during the journey from Brighton between the time it started from Brighton and the time I saw it. I can attribute no cause to its having shifted. I asked the witness leading questions as to the heating of boxes. The heating of a box or an abnormally heavy blow on the side of the wheel are the only causes to which I could attribute the shifting of the wheel on the axle and there is no evidence of either. The wheel on the opposite side of the axle is very muck knocked about, and if the shifting took place after the derailment, that would possibly have caused the shifting on the axle. Whenever we buy wheels from manufacturers they are pressed on the axle by the manufacturers to our specification, and we never purchase wheels except from the very best accepted firms. In fact I may say that the wheels on the Brighton Railways are the mostly costly wheels in the kingdom. I have an inspector at the works from which the wheels are purchased, and I receive a certificate from him as to our requirements being carried out. I can get from the manufactures a record as to the pressure which was used in pressing this wheel on to its axle. I cannot trace any certificate from my Inspector with regard to this pair wheels. The derailed vehicle was coupled to the one in front of it by a central screw coupling. It had no side chains. Not only does the coupling show that it was fractured after the derailment, but the buffers themselves give clear indication that this was the case. If it can be proved that the wheel shifted before the derailment took place. I shall accept it as the cause of the derailment. If it shifted before the points were negotiated it must have had a tremendous blow somewhere on the up journey. The coach was not an unusual light one; it rather borders on the heavy side. The weight of  the coach was 24 tons. The vehicle preceding it which went on to London was 10 cwt. lighter and the one immediately in the rear of it was 1 ton heavier. The front vehicle of the train was only 16 tons in weight and that is after taking into consideration that it was loaded with the accumulators for lighting the Pullman cars, which is a heavy item. That however was not a passenger vehicle. There was also a coach in the rear of the train the weight of which was only 23 1/2 tons. Practically the only heavier carriages on the train were the three Pullmans. The train is one which I would run on any service and at any speed. I examined the wheels when I first came on the spot after the accident, and I examined them again with Colonel Von Donop on Sunday at noon. I subsequently examined them myself more minutely on Sunday afternoon, when I discovered that the wheel had shifted on its seat. This wheel is still loaded in the truck as when it left here, and others have been given it is to be taken out and gauged ready for inspection be taken out and gauge ready for inspection tomorrow.

William Leppard, foreman states: I have been 35 years in the service of the Company and am now employed at the Preston Works as a carriage foreman. I remember having to do with a third class bogie carriage, No.1325, in December last. It was fitted with returned wheels. Before the wheels were place under the carriage I myself examined them. I examined all four pairs of wheels. My examination included trying the gauge of them. I remember I found the wheels absolutely correct to gauge. After that vehicle went out of the shops I should not have seen it again. I have myself seen a few instances in my experience when the carriage have shifted on the axles. I have never known exactly what was the cause in any of the cases. I have not known more than two or three cases in my experience. In all these cases the defect has been found out when the vehicles were in the shop, and not when they were out on the line. These instances all occurred in cases of wheels were not of the same modern construction as this one. I have never known a wheel shift on an axle of similar construction to this one. When I gauged the wheel I tried it at four different points in the periphery so as to prove the axle was not bent. The wheel which has shifted on its axle was one which had been running for a very long time.

Mr. E.P. Silvester, of 26, Hydethorpe Road, Balham, states: I was travelling on the 29th January from Brighton to East Croydon, on the 3.40 p.m. up train. I was travelling in the carriage which was wrecked, and I was sitting in the second compartment from the front, occupying the left hand corner seat facing the engine. I noticed nothing unusual with running of the carriage until just before we left the metals, and we left the metals before we got to the station. We were running along the sleepers for some distance before we turned. Just before we left the metals I noticed a rattling noise, which I took to come from the engine. I should say that I heard this noise for about five seconds before we left the metals. I was reading at the time. There were three other men travelling in the same compartment with me.

Miss J. Denton, of 66, Orbell Street, Battersea, states: I was travelling on the 29th January from Brighton to Clapham Junction by the 3.40 p.m. up train, and I was seated in the carriage which was overturned. I was occupying one of the centre compartments, which had central door in it; there were four other ladies travelling in the compartment, and I was seated with my back to the engine, next to a lady who was sitting in the corner seat on the left hand side of the carriage. I did not notice anything unusual with the running of the train at first, but just about when we were passing St. Anne's School the carriage creaking; I noticed the time when were passing the school was 4.20 p.m. This creaking was the first thing that I noticed amiss with the carriage. The creaking increased, and when we were passing through a tunnel the carriage commenced to sway. It was a regular long tunnel, and when I looked out of the window on the right hand side of the train, there was a dull glow, like sparks; seemed to be in front of my compartment, and below the carriage. It was on the right hand side of the train that I looked out and saw this glow. The swaying about continued to increase, but the sparks, though they still continued, did not appear to increase. It seemed to me that it was very soon after leaving the tunnel that we went over about half a minute. The creaking or grating noise, which had begun when we were passing the clock, continued right up to the end, and gradually increased; the carriage, before it turned over, bumped tremendously. I never thought of pulling the communication cord, and nobody in the compartment did so. Up to St. Anne's School the running had been very smooth. I think that the carriage was rolling about before it actually left the rails. When passing the clock I said to Miss Carter, who was travelling with me. "We shall be at Clapham Junction in half an hour," and she said in reply, "Yes, if we ever get there." I understand her remark to allude to the fact that our carriage was then shaking about. I did not hear any other passengers make any remarks about the behaviour of our carriage.

A. Steel, fitter, states I am in the employment of the Brighton Railway Company and am stationed at Brighton. I was in the train to which this accident occurred, and I was in the carriage that overturned. I do not know exactly which compartment I was in, but I was sitting in the centre of a carriage facing the engine, and I could see a lavatory door in front of me. I am quite sure that there was nothing unusual with the running of the carriage when we first left Brighton, in fact, I have never travelled in a smoother running carriage. I was just dozing, previous to the accident, and I was woke up by hearing a terrible banging, it seemed as if a wheel was hitting on iron. I looked out, with getting up front my seat, and I was just going to pull the communication cord, when I think our carriage left the line, and I was thrown down. I know nothing further of what happened. I only heard the noise just before the carriage left the line, but I think that I should have heard it sooner had it been going on for a minute or so. When I first heard the noise we were in the open. I had noticed unusual while we were running through the covered way. I think that there were a lady and two men in the compartment with me.

Thoms Welch, shunter, states: I have been in the service of the Brighton Railway Company 12 years and have been a shunter for 2 years and 6 months; I am stationed at Brighton. On the 28th January the carriage No.1325 at Brighton at 7.40 p.m., on the 6.35 p.m. train from Victoria. I took the train on its arrival to Lover's Walk; I shunted it into No.4 Lover's Walk, and I took the two front bogies off. I shot them back into another road and left the bogie third No.1325 there. I then replaced the bogie third van on the train ready for the next morning. Carriage No.1325 remained there all night. I noticed unusual with that carriage whilst I was dealing with it. Carriage whilst I was dealing with it. Carriage No.1325 was not turned round at Brighton at all. It left on the 29th January with its ends in the same direction as they had been when it arrived on the 28th.

Harry Steer, shunter: I have been in the service of the Brighton Railway Company 14 years, and have been employed as a shunter for 9 years. I am present station at Brighton. On the 29th January, when the 11.40 a.m. train from Victoria arrived at Brighton at 1 p.m., I took the rear bogie brake off the train and took it into the dock; I coupled it up to the bogie third, and took it back and put it on to the train again. I was thus forming the 3.40 p.m. train to London. This carriage, No.1325, had been stationary at Brighton all the morning. I did not notice anything unusual with the carriage when I coupled it up to the train.

John Thomas Guy states: I have been in the service of the Company 10 years and 9 months and have been employed as a carriage examiner 3 years. I am now stationed at Victoria. I examined the vehicles of the 6.35 p.m. down train on the 28th January; the train was then standing alongside No.6 platform, Victoria. I examined all the vehicles of that train. I thoroughly examined all the underneath running gear, and then I examined the top parts of the carriages. I examined the underneath part more thoroughly than the upper part. I noticed nothing whatever amiss with any portion of the train. I tapped all the wheels from the west side of the train as it was standing in Victoria Station. If the wheel had been shifted on its axle at the time I examined the train. I think I should have seen it from the position in which I was.

John Kellingley states: I have been in the service of the Company 48 years, and have been a carriage examiner for 33 years. I am now stationed at Brighton. I remember the 6.35 down train arriving at Brighton on the 28th January. It was my duty to examine that train on its arrival, and I did so. I tapped all the wheels of the train on the west side as it arrived at Brighton; I noticed no defects thereby. This tapping of the wheels was done when the train was at rest. I then examined the springs and axle boxes, and also the buffers, buffer castings, and brake gear. I found nothing whatever wrong with any of the vehicles at all. If the wheel had been shifted on its axle then, I think that my examination would have been enabled me to have detected. I examined all the axle boxes to see if any of them were hot, and there was not a semblance of a hot box on the train.   

James Turner states: I have been in the service of the Brighton Railway Company altogether 24 years and have been employed as a guard during the whole of that time. I was guard of the 3.40 p.m. up passenger train from Brighton on the 29th January, and I was riding in the van at the rear of the train. Before starting from Brighton I walked down the train to that all the doors were closed on the off side of it, and at the same time I examined the couplings. I found nothing wrong with the train. We left Brighton punctually at 3.40 p.m. On leaving Brighton I noticed nothing unusual with the running of my train. We arrived at Earlswood at 4.20 p.m., which was our Brighton time for arrival there. I had not, however, to record the times in my book, so I cannot be certain to a minute or so; but I think that we were punctual at Earlswood. The first I knew of this accident was when we came out of the covered way, and I felt that the brakes were suddenly applied. I cannot say how far we were from the covered way when the brakes were applied, as I was thrown down by the shock of their application. I was stunned by the fall, and I really cannot remember anything more until my carriage had come to rest. Previously to the brakes having been employed I noticed nothing irregular or unusual in the running of the train. I estimate our speed when we came out of the covered way at about 45 miles an hour. I did not notice anything unusual roughness in running through any of the connection at Earlswood. Nor did I notice anything unusual at any of the cross over roads between Earlswood and Stoat’s Nest. I did not notice any fire or sparks on the train previous to the accident. The brakes throughout my train were in good order; they appeared to go on very suddenly when they were applied.

Mr. P.D. Braid, of 71, Shaftesbury Road, Ravenscourt Park, Hammersmith, states: On the 29th January I was travelling on the 3.40 p.m. up train from Brighton to Victoria. I was riding in the coach which was overturned. I was travelling in a third class smoking compartment, and I think it was the third compartment from the front of the carriage. I sat in the right hand corner facing the engine. There were four other people in the compartment with me, viz., one lady and three gentlemen. There was a gentlemen sitting on my left, and the lady was sitting on the left of that gentleman. I noticed nothing unusual with the running of the train when we first left Brighton. The first place that I noticed anything unusual with the carriage was when we were coming through the tunnel before reaching Stoat's Nest; I mean the last tunnel that we ran through before the accident occurred. It then appeared as if our carriage was running on so much gravel, and the train did a great deal of trembling. About half a minute after we left the tunnel the carriage suddenly went on to its side, i.e., it tilted up, and it ran along in that position for 200 yards. It was the left side which was tilted up. I am quite sure that it was the left side which was tilted up and I should imagine that we ran in the position for about 200 yards. While the carriage was tilted up I was able to see the platform out of the right hand window of the carriage, and I saw that it was inevitable that we should go into it. The next thing was a fearful crash and smashing; wood, iron, and glass flew all about me, and I eventually found myself landed on my feet. The carriage had turned upside down, and I was on my feet. I found a large hole in front of me, and I went out of it. The noise in the tunnel was very pronounced, so if it had been going on previously, I think I should have noticed it. Until that noise began, I had noticed nothing unusual with the running of the train. The noise I heard was a totally different noise from that made by a train running through a tunnel. The tilting up did not commence until we were outside the tunnel. I noticed no glow or sparks when we were passing through the tunnel.  

Mr. Wilson Gardener states: I am the works manager of the Leeds Wheel and Axle Company, and I have held that appointment for 17 years. It is the practice of my Company to record the pressure require to press on all wheels. I produce my record book, showing the pressure required to put on wheels Nos. 59 and 60, and from this book it appears that wheel No.59 required 62 tons to press it on, and wheel No.60 required 68 tons. In pressing wheels on, the pressure always increases from the commencement to the finish, and there is practically a steady pressure throughout. If a wheel does not require a steady pressure throughout, we should take it off again. We have a very reliable man in the works who is responsible for seeing that a steady pressure is required throughout. Every care is taken in doing the work, and the man who is responsible is paid by time, and not on piece work. The axles and wheels are gauged by independent people before he gets them. We make a different of about one-fiftieth of an inch in the gauge of the wheel and axle; it varies however with the size and with the material. We now use a recording instrument, which records on a paper the pressure required throughout the operation; but at the time these wheels were pressed on we had not this apparatus in use, and I do not think it had then been invented. All wheels which are now pressed on have the pressure recorded by this apparatus. I cannot account in any way for this wheel having shifted. This wheel was made of the best material procurable. There is no taper on the axle or the wheel; both wheel seats are perfectly parallel. We give no "lead" to the wheel. We put a little oil over the axle when we are pressing the wheel on. This particular consignment of wheels was inspected by the Brighton Railway Company's inspectors. I cannot say for certain that the inspector saw this actual pair of wheels pressed on. If the wheel went on with, say, 30 tons pressure, we should certainly take it off again. The specified pressure for these wheels was 60 tons. 

Mr. D. Earle Marsh state: I am locomotive and carriage engineer for the Company and have held that appointment just over five years. I came on the scene of the accident in a break down train from Brighton arriving at Stoat's Nest at 8.5 p.m. I examined the condition of the rolling stock of the train on my arrival. The engine    and four front vehicles had already left for Victoria when I arrived, so I did not examine them. The leading vehicle of the train which was at Stoat's Nest on my arrival was an eight wheeled third class bogie coach. The coach was completely wrecked.  It was lying practically at right angles to the line which it should have been on, and the bogies were knocked from under it. The bogies were in an extraordinary state of preservation considering what they had been through, and the underframe of the coach was also intact except that one of the tie bars was  knocked off, and it was an extraordinary thing under the circumstances that the coach was not entirely smashed to pieces. The body of the coach was more or less smashed up. My assistants had commenced to lift the coach before my arrival and had doubtless done a certain amount of damage to it thereby in order to get the chains round it. This was constructed in December, 1905, and has been in use more or less ever since though at times it has been in for examination. When it was of entirely new construction and design. It weighed 24 tons and had a seating accommodation of 70 passengers. This coach was in the shops in December, 1909. After it had been lifted and examined all the wheels taken out and the wheels either re-turned or replaced with wheels which had just been re-turned and re-gauged, and a thorough examination made of all the running parts, it was sent into traffic again on the 24th December. Before going out into traffic everything in connection with it would have been carefully examined especially all the running gear and all the brake gear. It has come to my knowledge that the leading pair of wheels which I have specially examined have been on the line since 1902. It was the leading pair of wheels as the coach was running to London. I have had occasion to examine this pair of the wheels specially. These wheels. have been on the line for eight years. At the time they were put on the line they were the best wheels that money could buy, in fact they cost the Company 50 per cent. more than wheels which are similarly used by other Companies. They were supplied by the Leeds Wheel and Axle Company. The axle with its where supplied together, made to the Brighton specification. I found that the wheel on the right side facing London was very much knocked about, and the wheel on the left hand side had shifted outwards an inch on its wheel seat. The shift was evidently an absolutely new one. The surface where the wheel had been on the axle showed a bright metal to metal contact. The wheel has to be pressed on to the axle with a pressure of 60 tons, and under these circumstance it must have taken a very big pressure to moved it, a greater pressure than the pressing on pressure. I know from experience it takes a much bigger pressure to remove a wheel from an axle than the pressure with which it is fixed. The wheel which had shifted on its axle was the left leading wheel as the vehicle was running to London. If this wheel was shifted on its axle before the accident occurred it would fully account for the sparks which the signalman saw, for this reason: the outside of the tyre had been grinding on the flanges of the bogie frame adjacent to it to such an extent that the frame had at some time been red hot and had been ground away for quite an inch in depth. The frame is at the present moment not only ground away but it is bulged out as a result of contact. I cannot imagine that that all took place before derailment but after what I have heard this morning from the signal man in the South Box, I think it is highly probable that at all events a portion of it took place before the derailment. Had I not heard the evidence of the sparks I should have found it very difficult to believe that the shift of the wheel took place before the accident. To begin with, any passenger riding in the coach would have found it so untenable that they would have made use of the communication cords, and finally if the bogie frames were cut away and battered in the state are now, prior to the accident the coach would have left the road. Apart from the evidence of the sparks it would be quite credible that the wheel was shifted on the axle as the result of the derailment, seeing what it had to go through before it landed in the position it took up on the platform. It is quite evident to my mind that the leading bogie of the derailed coach took the slow road at the facing point or just after the facing point. There are marks to show it, and the position of the coupling on the leading end of the derailed coach and on the trailing end of the coach in front of it show that the coupling itself did yeoman service in trying to keep the derailed coach in its original direction. The broken screw coupling showed a perfectly sound fracture which it must have taken over 25 tons to rupture. The draw hook of the derailed vehicle is bent towards the right and the draw hook of the vehicle in front of it is bent a corresponding amount towards the left. It absolutely proves that the coupling was not broken until the derailed vehicle was off the line. The next vehicle behind the derailed one was a bogie composite. It was extraordinary and almost incomprehensible to see how little damage was done to this coach. The front board on the leading end on the left hand side was splintered, otherwise the  running gear and the frame and the body was, one might say, absolutely intact, so much so that when the coach was re-railed and put on its own bogies it was pushed out of the way by manual labour. This same coach has since been sent to New Cross on its own wheels for inspection. The only damage done to the remaining portion of the train was that the rear bogie of the Pullman car was knock from under it. This had ploughed through chalk and broken rails and was embedded in the chalk above its axles. I have never known an instance of a carriage wheel such as this one in question shifting on its axle. If this wheel had been shifted to the amount it has now shifted when it was standing Brighton station I think it would certainly have been detected by the carriage examiner. I am absolutely of belief that the wheel must have shifted its position during the journey from Brighton between the time it started from Brighton and the time I saw it. I can attribute no cause to its having shifted. I asked the witness leading questions as to the heating of boxes. The heating of a box or an abnormally heavy blow on the side of the wheel are the only causes to which I could attribute the shifting of the wheel on the axle and there is no evidence of either. The wheel on the opposite side of the axle is very muck knocked about, and if the shifting took place after the derailment, that would possibly have caused the shifting on the axle. Whenever we buy wheels from manufacturers they are pressed on the axle by the manufacturers to our specification, and we never purchase wheels except from the very best accepted firms. In fact I may say that the wheels on the Brighton Railways are the mostly costly wheels in the kingdom. I have an inspector at the works from which the wheels are purchased, and I receive a certificate from him as to our requirements being carried out. I can get from the manufactures a record as to the pressure which was used in pressing this wheel on to its axle. I cannot trace any certificate from my Inspector with regard to this pair wheels. The derailed vehicle was coupled to the one in front of it by a central screw coupling. It had no side chains. Not only does the coupling show that it was fractured after the derailment, but the buffers themselves give clear indication that this was the case. If it can be proved that the wheel shifted before the derailment took place. I shall accept it as the cause of the derailment. If it shifted before the points were negotiated it must have had a tremendous blow somewhere on the up journey. The coach was not an unusual light one; it rather borders on the heavy side. The weight of  the coach was 24 tons. The vehicle preceding it which went on to London was 10 cwt. lighter and the one immediately in the rear of it was 1 ton heavier. The front vehicle of the train was only 16 tons in weight and that is after taking into consideration that it was loaded with the accumulators for lighting the Pullman cars, which is a heavy item. That however was not a passenger vehicle. There was also a coach in the rear of the train the weight of which was only 23 1/2 tons. Practically the only heavier carriages on the train were the three Pullmans. The train is one which I would run on any service and at any speed. I examined the wheels when I first came on the spot after the accident, and I examined them again with Colonel Von Donop on Sunday at noon. I subsequently examined them myself more minutely on Sunday afternoon, when I discovered that the wheel had shifted on its seat. This wheel is still loaded in the truck as when it left here, and others have been given it is to be taken out and gauged ready for inspection be taken out and gauge ready for inspection tomorrow.

William Leppard, foreman states: I have been 35 years in the service of the Company and am now employed at the Preston Works as a carriage foreman. I remember having to do with a third class bogie carriage, No.1325, in December last. It was fitted with returned wheels. Before the wheels were place under the carriage I myself examined them. I examined all four pairs of wheels. My examination included trying the gauge of them. I remember I found the wheels absolutely correct to gauge. After that vehicle went out of the shops I should not have seen it again. I have myself seen a few instances in my experience when the carriage have shifted on the axles. I have never known exactly what was the cause in any of the cases. I have not known more than two or three cases in my experience. In all these cases the defect has been found out when the vehicles were in the shop, and not when they were out on the line. These instances all occurred in cases of wheels were not of the same modern construction as this one. I have never known a wheel shift on an axle of similar construction to this one. When I gauged the wheel I tried it at four different points in the periphery so as to prove the axle was not bent. The wheel which has shifted on its axle was one which had been running for a very long time.

Mr. E.P. Silvester, of 26, Hydethorpe Road, Balham, states: I was travelling on the 29th January from Brighton to East Croydon, on the 3.40 p.m. up train. I was travelling in the carriage which was wrecked, and I was sitting in the second compartment from the front, occupying the left hand corner seat facing the engine. I noticed nothing unusual with running of the carriage until just before we left the metals, and we left the metals before we got to the station. We were running along the sleepers for some distance before we turned. Just before we left the metals I noticed a rattling noise, which I took to come from the engine. I should say that I heard this noise for about five seconds before we left the metals. I was reading at the time. There were three other men travelling in the same compartment with me.

Miss J. Denton, of 66, Orbell Street, Battersea, states: I was travelling on the 29th January from Brighton to Clapham Junction by the 3.40 p.m. up train, and I was seated in the carriage which was overturned. I was occupying one of the centre compartments, which had central door in it; there were four other ladies travelling in the compartment, and I was seated with my back to the engine, next to a lady who was sitting in the corner seat on the left hand side of the carriage. I did not notice anything unusual with the running of the train at first, but just about when we were passing St. Anne's School the carriage creaking; I noticed the time when were passing the school was 4.20 p.m. This creaking was the first thing that I noticed amiss with the carriage. The creaking increased, and when we were passing through a tunnel the carriage commenced to sway. It was a regular long tunnel, and when I looked out of the window on the right hand side of the train, there was a dull glow, like sparks; seemed to be in front of my compartment, and below the carriage. It was on the right hand side of the train that I looked out and saw this glow. The swaying about continued to increase, but the sparks, though they still continued, did not appear to increase. It seemed to me that it was very soon after leaving the tunnel that we went over about half a minute. The creaking or grating noise, which had begun when we were passing the clock, continued right up to the end, and gradually increased; the carriage, before it turned over, bumped tremendously. I never thought of pulling the communication cord, and nobody in the compartment did so. Up to St. Anne's School the running had been very smooth. I think that the carriage was rolling about before it actually left the rails. When passing the clock I said to Miss Carter, who was travelling with me. "We shall be at Clapham Junction in half an hour," and she said in reply, "Yes, if we ever get there." I understand her remark to allude to the fact that our carriage was then shaking about. I did not hear any other passengers make any remarks about the behaviour of our carriage.

A. Steel, fitter, states I am in the employment of the Brighton Railway Company and am stationed at Brighton. I was in the train to which this accident occurred, and I was in the carriage that overturned. I do not know exactly which compartment I was in, but I was sitting in the centre of a carriage facing the engine, and I could see a lavatory door in front of me. I am quite sure that there was nothing unusual with the running of the carriage when we first left Brighton, in fact, I have never travelled in a smoother running carriage. I was just dozing, previous to the accident, and I was woke up by hearing a terrible banging, it seemed as if a wheel was hitting on iron. I looked out, with getting up front my seat, and I was just going to pull the communication cord, when I think our carriage left the line, and I was thrown down. I know nothing further of what happened. I only heard the noise just before the carriage left the line, but I think that I should have heard it sooner had it been going on for a minute or so. When I first heard the noise we were in the open. I had noticed unusual while we were running through the covered way. I think that there were a lady and two men in the compartment with me.

Thoms Welch, shunter, states: I have been in the service of the Brighton Railway Company 12 years and have been a shunter for 2 years and 6 months; I am stationed at Brighton. On the 28th January the carriage No.1325 at Brighton at 7.40 p.m., on the 6.35 p.m. train from Victoria. I took the train on its arrival to Lover's Walk; I shunted it into No.4 Lover's Walk, and I took the two front bogies off. I shot them back into another road and left the bogie third No.1325 there. I then replaced the bogie third van on the train ready for the next morning. Carriage No.1325 remained there all night. I noticed unusual with that carriage whilst I was dealing with it. Carriage whilst I was dealing with it. Carriage No.1325 was not turned round at Brighton at all. It left on the 29th January with its ends in the same direction as they had been when it arrived on the 28th.

Harry Steer, shunter: I have been in the service of the Brighton Railway Company 14 years, and have been employed as a shunter for 9 years. I am present station at Brighton. On the 29th January, when the 11.40 a.m. train from Victoria arrived at Brighton at 1 p.m., I took the rear bogie brake off the train and took it into the dock; I coupled it up to the bogie third, and took it back and put it on to the train again. I was thus forming the 3.40 p.m. train to London. This carriage, No.1325, had been stationary at Brighton all the morning. I did not notice anything unusual with the carriage when I coupled it up to the train.

John Thomas Guy states: I have been in the service of the Company 10 years and 9 months and have been employed as a carriage examiner 3 years. I am now stationed at Victoria. I examined the vehicles of the 6.35 p.m. down train on the 28th January; the train was then standing alongside No.6 platform, Victoria. I examined all the vehicles of that train. I thoroughly examined all the underneath running gear, and then I examined the top parts of the carriages. I examined the underneath part more thoroughly than the upper part. I noticed nothing whatever amiss with any portion of the train. I tapped all the wheels from the west side of the train as it was standing in Victoria Station. If the wheel had been shifted on its axle at the time I examined the train. I think I should have seen it from the position in which I was.

John Kellingley states: I have been in the service of the Company 48 years, and have been a carriage examiner for 33 years. I am now stationed at Brighton. I remember the 6.35 down train arriving at Brighton on the 28th January. It was my duty to examine that train on its arrival, and I did so. I tapped all the wheels of the train on the west side as it arrived at Brighton; I noticed no defects thereby. This tapping of the wheels was done when the train was at rest. I then examined the springs and axle boxes, and also the buffers, buffer castings, and brake gear. I found nothing whatever wrong with any of the vehicles at all. If the wheel had been shifted on its axle then, I think that my examination would have been enabled me to have detected. I examined all the axle boxes to see if any of them were hot, and there was not a semblance of a hot box on the train.   

James Turner states: I have been in the service of the Brighton Railway Company altogether 24 years and have been employed as a guard during the whole of that time. I was guard of the 3.40 p.m. up passenger train from Brighton on the 29th January, and I was riding in the van at the rear of the train. Before starting from Brighton I walked down the train to that all the doors were closed on the off side of it, and at the same time I examined the couplings. I found nothing wrong with the train. We left Brighton punctually at 3.40 p.m. On leaving Brighton I noticed nothing unusual with the running of my train. We arrived at Earlswood at 4.20 p.m., which was our Brighton time for arrival there. I had not, however, to record the times in my book, so I cannot be certain to a minute or so; but I think that we were punctual at Earlswood. The first I knew of this accident was when we came out of the covered way, and I felt that the brakes were suddenly applied. I cannot say how far we were from the covered way when the brakes were applied, as I was thrown down by the shock of their application. I was stunned by the fall, and I really cannot remember anything more until my carriage had come to rest. Previously to the brakes having been employed I noticed nothing irregular or unusual in the running of the train. I estimate our speed when we came out of the covered way at about 45 miles an hour. I did not notice anything unusual roughness in running through any of the connection at Earlswood. Nor did I notice anything unusual at any of the cross over roads between Earlswood and Stoat’s Nest. I did not notice any fire or sparks on the train previous to the accident. The brakes throughout my train were in good order; they appeared to go on very suddenly when they were applied.

Mr. P.D. Braid, of 71, Shaftesbury Road, Ravenscourt Park, Hammersmith, states: On the 29th January I was travelling on the 3.40 p.m. up train from Brighton to Victoria. I was riding in the coach which was overturned. I was travelling in a third class smoking compartment, and I think it was the third compartment from the front of the carriage. I sat in the right hand corner facing the engine. There were four other people in the compartment with me, viz., one lady and three gentlemen. There was a gentlemen sitting on my left, and the lady was sitting on the left of that gentleman. I noticed nothing unusual with the running of the train when we first left Brighton. The first place that I noticed anything unusual with the carriage was when we were coming through the tunnel before reaching Stoat's Nest; I mean the last tunnel that we ran through before the accident occurred. It then appeared as if our carriage was running on so much gravel, and the train did a great deal of trembling. About half a minute after we left the tunnel the carriage suddenly went on to its side, i.e., it tilted up, and it ran along in that position for 200 yards. It was the left side which was tilted up. I am quite sure that it was the left side which was tilted up and I should imagine that we ran in the position for about 200 yards. While the carriage was tilted up I was able to see the platform out of the right hand window of the carriage, and I saw that it was inevitable that we should go into it. The next thing was a fearful crash and smashing; wood, iron, and glass flew all about me, and I eventually found myself landed on my feet. The carriage had turned upside down, and I was on my feet. I found a large hole in front of me, and I went out of it. The noise in the tunnel was very pronounced, so if it had been going on previously, I think I should have noticed it. Until that noise began, I had noticed nothing unusual with the running of the train. The noise I heard was a totally different noise from that made by a train running through a tunnel. The tilting up did not commence until we were outside the tunnel. I noticed no glow or sparks when we were passing through the tunnel.  

Mr. Wilson Gardener states: I am the works manager of the Leeds Wheel and Axle Company, and I have held that appointment for 17 years. It is the practice of my Company to record the pressure require to press on all wheels. I produce my record book, showing the pressure required to put on wheels Nos. 59 and 60, and from this book it appears that wheel No.59 required 62 tons to press it on, and wheel No.60 required 68 tons. In pressing wheels on, the pressure always increases from the commencement to the finish, and there is practically a steady pressure throughout. If a wheel does not require a steady pressure throughout, we should take it off again. We have a very reliable man in the works who is responsible for seeing that a steady pressure is required throughout. Every care is taken in doing the work, and the man who is responsible is paid by time, and not on piece work. The axles and wheels are gauged by independent people before he gets them. We make a different of about one-fiftieth of an inch in the gauge of the wheel and axle; it varies however with the size and with the material. We now use a recording instrument, which records on a paper the pressure required throughout the operation; but at the time these wheels were pressed on we had not this apparatus in use, and I do not think it had then been invented. All wheels which are now pressed on have the pressure recorded by this apparatus. I cannot account in any way for this wheel having shifted. This wheel was made of the best material procurable. There is no taper on the axle or the wheel; both wheel seats are perfectly parallel. We give no "lead" to the wheel. We put a little oil over the axle when we are pressing the wheel on. This particular consignment of wheels was inspected by the Brighton Railway Company's inspectors. I cannot say for certain that the inspector saw this actual pair of wheels pressed on. If the wheel went on with, say, 30 tons pressure, we should certainly take it off again. The specified pressure for these wheels was 60 tons. 

Extracts of the Conclusion

The train to which this accident occurred had left Brighton punctually at 3.40 p.m; it had reached Keymer Junction (9 ¾ miles from Brighton) one minute before its schedule time, and when it reached Stoat’s Nest (35 ¾ miles from Brighton) it was still one minute before time. It had taken 49 minutes to run Brighton to Stoat’s Nest, which gives an average speed of 42 miles an hour. 

The engine of the train was fitted with a recording speedometer, and the speed recorded thereon, on reaching Stoat’s Nest, was 45 miles an hour; this may therefore be accepted as the speed of the train at the time of the accident occurred.

The evidence of the Company’s officials who were on the train does not throw any light on the cause of this accident. Driver Thompsett states that he had noticed nothing unusual connected with the running of his train until he was passing Stoat’s Nest Station, when the automatic brake was suddenly applied; he at first though that one of his brake pipes had burst, so he applied full pressure to the train pipe, hoping to be able to get the train on to East Croydon. This was undoubtedly an error of judgement on Thompsett’s part, as he should have looked back to make sure that there was nothing wrong with his train. Finding that the pressure could not be maintained in the train pipe, Thompsett then did look back, and, seeing, that his train had parted, he at once brought his engine to a stand. Steam was turned on when passing the station; speed had been slightly checked when approaching it, but the brakes had not been applied at all. Guard Wood, who was riding in the front portion of the fourth vehicle of the train, states that just after passing the south signal box he noticed that the rear portion of his carriage was shaking about; it only shook for about a second, and then became steady again; he then looked out, and found that the train had parted in the rear of his van. He had previously notice nothing unusual in the running of the vehicle in rear of his own.

After the accident the various vehicles of the train were found in the following positions:- The engine, tender, and for leading vehicles, which had broken loose from those behind them, had run on, and had eventually been brought to a stand near Stoat’s Nest north signal box, situated just over half mile to the north of the south signal box. From the condition of these vehicles it is evident that none of them had been off the rails at all, and the only one which had sustained any damage was the fourth vehicle, a third class brake bogie; at the rear end of this vehicle the coupling was broken, and the draw bar and fixed shackle were found to be considerably bent to the left, showing that the coupling had been severely strained in the direction before it parted; the rear left hand buffer rod was also bent in the same direction. 

The fifth vehicle of the train, a bogie third class carriage, was found lying broadside across the down through station platform, about 10 yards from the ramp at its southern extremity. It was in this vehicle that all the passengers who were fatally injured were riding. It was lying on its side, its leading end being to the west of the platform and over the rails of the up local line, and its trailing end to the east of the platform and extending over the rails of the down main line. The body of this vehicle was entirely demolished, though its under frame was intact. Its bogie trucks, which were twisted, were knocked from under it, all its four axles were bent, and its wheels generally have shifted an inch towards on its wheel seat; the bogie frame adjacent to this wheel was bulged outwards, and there were four sets of indentations on the adjoining flanges of this frame showing where this wheel in its revolution had been grinding against them and cutting into them; these indentations bore distinct marks of the metal having been red hot. The coupling screw at the leading end of the vehicle was broken with a very clean fracture; the draw bar at that end was considerably bent to the right and the front right hand buffer rod was bent in the same direction. The rear end of this vehicle was partly uncoupled from the one behind it.

The remaining vehicles of the train were all standing upright, and they were all coupled together. The sixth vehicle a bogie composite, was standing across the up and down main lines; its leading end had evidently been in severe collision with the vehicle in front of it, and it had also sustained a number of minor damages, but its axles were not bent, and its wheels were all found to be correct to gauge. The remaining four vehicles were all derailed to the left of the up main line, and they were found standing in the six foot between that line and the down local through line. None of these vehicles were seriously damaged, though the rear bogie of the seventh vehicle a Pullman car was knocked from under it.



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