IGNITING THE FLAME OF UNITY


THE HISTORY OF THE


BRIGHTON BRANCH OF A.S.L.E.F.

 

 

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LONDON BRIDGE 

7th MAY 1867

extracted and adapted from the report by 

C.S.. Hutchinson R.E. and Major

A collision of a passenger train with a pair of buffer stops at the London Bridge Station of the London, Brighton, and South 

Coast Railway, which occurred on the 7th May, and by which 20 persons were more or lees injured, the most severe apparent 

injury being a nose badly cut. 

The train ro which the accident occurred was South London train from Victoria to London Bridge. It left Victoria at 10.25 a.m. 

on the 7th May, and consisted of an engine and tender, guard’s van with break, part of it fitted for third class passengers, three 

third class, a composite second, two first class, a composite first class, one third class and a third class with break van 

attached, in all 10 vehicles, coupled in the order stated, with a guard in each van. The driver considerably over the platforms at 

Peckham and Old Kent Road, and slightly at Rotherhithe. At Peckham the head guard spoke to the fireman about not using his 

break properly. From Rotherhithe to London Bridge the train proceeded at the usual rate, and on passing the signal box near 

the Victoria or south end of the platform was going so slowly as to nearly come to a standstill at the south end of the 

platforms. About this point the driver appears to have put on steam to take him up the platform, and the train moved forward 

steadily until about 30 yards from the buffer stops, when it suddenly shot ahead as if shoved from behind by an engine. The 

driver immediately reversed his engine, and whistled for the guards’ breaks, but too late to prevent collision with the buffer 

stops. Neither driver nor fireman was thrown down by the collision; ad it is probable but little injury would have occurred to 

the passengers, had not many have their seats preparing to alight. There appears no reason to doubt but that the breaks of the 

tender and front van were on at the time of the collision, and that the cause of the sudden ahead of the train was owning to the 

guard of the rear van having taken off his break, the screw of which was found to be completely out.

The driver, fireman, and guards all well knew the road from Victoria to London Bridge, but the former had been principally 

accustomed to work it with tank engines; and had only on one previous day, and for two journeys on the morning of this day, 

been working it with an engine and tender. The guards also appeared to have been more accustomed to work with trains drawn 

by tank engines. The break power of these latter being so much greater than that of tender engines, there is a tendency on the 

part of guards to more or less neglect their own breaks when working with tank engines, and to errors of judgment on the part 

of drivers when frequently transferred from one description of engine to another.

To such an error of judgment on the part of the driver on the preeent occasion, in putting on more steam than his own break 

power would fully enable him to control, and to the error of the guard in the rear van in removing his break before the train 

had come to rest, this accident; is no doubt to be attributed.

The facts seem to point to the expediency of not changing driven from one description of engine to another more than can 

absolutely be avoided.

Although not bearing directly on this accident, I think it right to state that there was no communication in this train between 

the guards and driver. 

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