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3rd JUNE 1862

extracted & adapted from the report by

W. Yolland Colonel R.E.

On the 3rd June 1862 collision occurred at London Bridge injuring 24 persons as having been injured, but I am informed that on further inquiry, it is hoped that only about l5 are injured, and that the injuries are not of a serious nature.

The traffic of this company at London Bridge station is accompanied at three platforms the north, allotted to the Crystal Palace traffic; the centre appropriated as a departure platform for the Brighton and Croydon trains ; and the south platform is used as an arrival platform for the Brighton and Croydon trains. There are lines of railway on the north and south sides of each platform.

The arrival and departure of trains is governed by a signalman placed in an elevated signal box about 285 yards from the east end of the Brighton and Croydon departure platform. The signalman is a servant of the South-eastern Railway Company, and there are two high double semaphore signals ; one of these signals arriving for the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway traffic, and the other for the South-eastern Railway traffic.

There is also a low semaphore signal, No. 1, about 80 yards east of the before-mentioned departure platform, in charge of a servant of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company, for the regulation of the traffic in the yard, and also two that he was turned across towards the Crystal Palace signal boxes between No. 1 signal and the South- eastern double semaphore signals, at which pointsmen are placed, servants of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company, whose duties are to attend to the switches for the arrival, departure, and shunting of trains. 

Up train; for the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company’s yard are not permitted to pass t h e South-eastern double semaphore signals  until the signalman at No. 1 lowers the up-signal to “caution" for an up Brighton or Croydon train, and to "all right" for a Crystal Palace train, to pass ; and the departure of down trains is governed by the indications of the double semaphore and distant signals worked by the south-eastern signalman. The duty of the pointman at No. 3 box is to steady the switches for trains passing towards the Brighton and Croydon arrival platforms, and to pull them over, when a train has to moss the down lines of the London, Brighton, and South Coast and South eastern Railways. This signalman is guided by the indications of the semaphore signal No.1. If the up arm is at “caution,” he has only to steady the points, if it be lowered to “all right” he has to pull them over, so that the incoming up train may cross to the Crystal Palace platform. He has, however, nothing whatever to do with the departure of trains.

About 7h. 40m. p.m. on the day before named, the signalman at No.3 box heard the ringing of the bells in the double semaphore signal box, announcing the approaching of an up train, which arrived in about two minutes. The up arm pf semaphore signal No.1 had been previously lowered to “caution,” so that he knew, both by the number of the ring of the bells and the indication of the arm of the semaphore, that the train was to go to the Brighton and Croydon arrival platform, and he admits that he ought to have steadied the points in the position in which they then stood, which would have allowed the up trains to have passed on towards the Brighton and Croydon platforms ; but instead of merely steadying them, he pulled them over, so that the train passed on towards the Crystal Palace platform across the down line from the Brighton and Croydon platforms, and as it was crossing the down line it was run into by the 7h. 40m, p.m. down Croydon train in the act of leaving the station in obedience to the signals exhibited bp the South-eastern signalman. 

As soon as the signalman at No. 3 box discorered the mistake which he had made, he held up hie hand to the signalmen at No.2 box for him to give the signal to the driver of the 7h. 40m. p.m. train from the Croydon platform to stop, and he believes that the other signalman saw the mistake before he ww himself aware of it, 8s he turned instantly snd gave the signal to the driver as soon as he held up his hand.

No blame whatever appears to attsch to any other servant of the company. The driver, fireman, and guards of the 7h. 40m.pm. down train appear to have taken prompt measures for reducing the speed of their train and stopping ; but the distance was too short to enable that to be effected before the engine came in contact with the carriages of the up train, which was struck when about five carriages had got clear of the down line. The driver states that he had neerly stopped, and it is clear that he could not have been travelling at any great speed es only two carriages were thrown off the rails.

The driver of the 5h. 0m. p.m. up train from Hastings which consisted of thirteen carriages snd four break-vans with three guards, says that he was running past the double semaphore signals at the rate of seven or eight miles an hour, and when he found that he was turned across to the Crystal Palace Platform and saw at the same time the down train coming towards him from the opposite direction, he put on the steam in order to get his train clear ; but his efforts in this respect appear to have been counteracted by the guards, who seeing that a collision was probable, turned on their breaks in order to stop the train. 

The accident was solely occasioned by the mistake of the pointsman at No. 3 box, and it could not have occurred if the signal arrangements at the double sema- phore aignsls worked bythe South-eastern eignalmm had been in accordance with those in generd use on the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway, constructed under Saxby’s patent, or if the points and signals in the yard were arranged to be worked h m signal-box No. 1, under the same syetem.

Great credit is, in my opinion, due to the London Brighton and South Coast Railway Company fm having been the first to adopt and introduce this improved mode of working the signals and points, by which a signalman is prevented from making a mid take, which, fortunately in this instance, was not attended with my very serious results; but I would strongly urge upon the Directors of this Company the necessity of altering the arrangements in their yard at London Bridge, either in conjunction with the South-eastern Railway, or if that be not practicable entirely within their own limits, in the some way that recent alterations have been effected by them at the Victoria Station, Pimlico.

The traffic in this yard is very great, amounting, I am informed, to upwards of 180 trains per diem, and the arrangements to which have alluded, although accompanied by some outlay in the first instance would enable the work to be better and more safely done by a less number of men.

Eight of the carriages were damaged in this collision, several of them a good deal; and the persons injured were mostly riding in the up train.

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the Sussex Motive Power Depots & ASLEF Branches


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