IGNITING THE FLAME OF UNITY

THE HISTORY OF THE

 BRIGHTON BRANCH OF A.S.L.E.F.

  

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COLLISION AT

LONDON VICTORIA JUNCTION

7th SEPTEMBER 1866

EXTRACTED & ADAPTED FROM THE REPORT BY

F.H. RICH, Capt. R.E. & Major

The collision of a passenger train of the London,Chatham and Dover Railway Company with a train of empty carriages belonging to the London, Brighton, and Sonth’Coast Railway Company, which occurred on the 7th September 1866, at &e entrance to the Victoria station, on the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway. 

Five passengers are reported to have been shaken, and the second guard of the passenger train was in hospital at the time of the inquiry, but none of the sufferers are supposed to be seriousIy injured. The driver of the London, Chatham, and Dover Company’s train also complained of feeling pains in ‘hie loins since the collision. He remained on his engine, but his fireman jumped off just before the collision, having previously put on his break.

The north side of Victoria station belongs to the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway Company and the south side to the London, Chatham and Dover Railway Company. The lines leading to the south side of the station diverge from the L.B.& S.C. main lines at the west end of the yard. The point of the junction is called Victoria Junction and is commonly known as the “Hole in the Wall Junction.”

The train consisting of a tank engine, a third class, a second class, three first class, a second class, and two third class carriages, coupled in the order given, and having a guard in the break compartment of the first and one on the break compartment of the last carriage of the train, left the high level station at the Crystal Palace at 2.14 p.m.

The driver slacked speed at Battersea Bridge for signals, but on their being turned to admit him, he continued his journey to Victoria Junction, which he reached at 2.52 p.m., four minutes late. From the jerk in passing through the junction points, the driver observed that he was on the wrong road, and that instead of going into the south side of Victoria station, as he should have done, he was going into the Brighton Company’s side of the station, and that there was a train on the same line immediately in front of him. He reversed, put on steam, which was shut off at the time, called to his fireman to apply his break, and had just time to whistle for the guards’  breaks, when his engine ran into the tail of empty carriage belonging to the L.B.& S.C.R., which had just come to a stand, within about 60 yards of the junction points, after being backed out from the station platform.

Neither the engine or any of the carriages of the passenger train left the rails and the damage to this train was very slight. The buffers and draw hook of the engine were damaged, the lamps were broken, and the footplate bent. A few of the roof lamps of the carriages were broken and two of the buffers damaged.

The train of empties, which consisted of an engine and eleven coaches, was a great deal damaged. The two hind carriages were knocked off the rails, the last but one being thrown on its side.

The speed at which the passenger train came through the Victoria Junction points is variously stated at 4 to 14 miles per hour. Judging from the evidence and the effects, I thin it was probably six or seven miles an hour.

The points and signals at this junction are arranged on the locking principle by Messrs. Saxby & Farmer. Before the proper signals could be given for the passenger train to approach, it was necessary that the lever handle which works the junction points should be pushed over, so as to set these points in the proper direction for the train. The rod connecting this lever handle with the points was found broken after the collision.

A train from Hastings and Portsmouth had passed through these points into the Brighton Company’s side of the Victoria station at 2.49 p.m., and the signalman allowed the point to remain as set for that train till the arrival of the L.C. & D. Company’s train from the Crystal Palace about 2.52 p.m. He shifted the lever handle of the points, which the locking gear obliged him to do, before lowering the signals for the latter train, but in doing so he did not observe, that the points did not move, as the connecting rod was broken by the train from Portsmouth at 2.49 p.m., at an old flaw which extended almost through the rod.

All points ought to be looked at by the man working them after each train passes over them to see that they work properly, and if they are at such distances from the wpointsman’s box that he cannot observe them well, they should be furnished with an indicator. In the present case they were close under his box.

He was suspended for his neglect and had resigned his situation. He had been eight years in the company’s service and five years and seven months of that time he had been employed at the Victoria junction. He bore a good character. 

Victoria station, and particularly the entrance, is much too confined for the traffic now worked into it.

The shunting which goes on on the passenger lines or lines in connection therewith whilst passenger trains are passing, is most objectionable. 

The rearrangement of this station in connection with the new lines of the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway Company is now in progress, and it would be desirable in such rearrangement that the signals controlling all shunting on lines leading on to the passenger lines should be connected with the main line signals, so that both cannot be lowered at the same time ; as the working that necessitates or admits of a train backing out on a junction line, to within 50 or 60 yards of the junction points, while passenger trains are passing through the junction, must always be attended with great danger, although it had nothing to do with the present accident, further than that the signalman at the Victoria junction attributed his not having observed that the connecting rod which moved the points was broken, to hie attention being given to the trains of empties which was backing out and which he stated that he was watching anxiously lest it should foul the junction. 

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