IGNITING THE FLAME OF UNITY

THE HISTORY OF THE

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

 

 

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LONDON BRIDGE 

18th NOVEMBER 1904

INVOLVING DRIVER W. TALL AND HIS FIREMAN GEORGE HARRIS

DRIVER JOSEPH REED AND HIS FIREMAN THOMAS MOODY

DEPOTS UNKNOWN

SOUTH EASTERN & CHATHAM ENGINEMEN
DRIVER JOHN SKINNER & FIREMAN ABRAHAM GREENING 


extracted and adapted from the report by 
P.G. Von Donop Lieut-Col., R.E.


On the 18th November, at about 6.40 p.m. a collision occurred near London Bridge station between a train belonging to the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company and a light engine belonging to the South Eastern and Chatham Railway Company.
In this case as the 6.30 p.m passenger train, consisting of two engines and fourteen vehicles, was running out of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company’s London Bridge on to the joint down main line it came into collision with a light engine belonging to the South Eastern and Chatham Railway Company, which was being backed out of that Company’s Low Level London Bridge Station alone their up main line.
The light engine, which was almost at rest at the moment of the collision, just touched the second engine of the passenger train and then fouled the five next vehicles of it causing considerable damage to them. none of these vehicles were, however, actually derailed though one of them was slightly tilted over. The light engine itself was considerably damaged.
No serious injuries were sustained by any of the passengers or by any of the railway servants, but the Company have received about twenty notifications from passengers of slight personal injuries sustained.
The leading engine of the passenger train was a four wheels coupled bogie tank engine, and the second one was a six wheels coupled radial tank engine; they were running chimney first, and they were both fitted with the Westinghouse automatic brake working blocks on the coupled wheels and with a hand brake working the same blocks.
The vehicles were all fitted with the Westing house automatic brake working blocks on four wheels of each of the six wheeled vehicles and on all the wheels of the remainder.
The light engine was a four wheels coupled tank engine, and at the time of the hand brakes, each working blocks on the coupled wheels. All brakes are reported to have been in excellent order.

DESCRIPTION


The London Bridge stations of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway, and of the South Eastern and Chatham Railway, are situated close together, the former being to the south west of the latter. The low level portion of the South Eastern station, which immediately adjoins the Brighton Company’s station, has for platforms lines, No.1 platform line being on the the south west side of the station and No.4 on the north east side. Each of these platform lines has connections leading to and from the up and down main lines, which run out of the station in a south easterly direction, the down line being on the north side.
The Croydon train of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway run for a short distance over these lines from just outside the London Bridge stations, and these main lines are therefore known as the Joint Main Lines. In order to give access to these Joint Main Lines the platform lines of the Brighton Company’s station have connections leading a pair of up and down lines which have a double junction with the Joint Main lines about 160 yards to the south east of the Brighton Company’s station.
The light engine concerned in the collision was being backed down the down direction from the low level station along the South Eastern Company’s up line, and the collision occurred at the fouling point between the Brighton Company’s down line and the South Eastern Company’s up line.
This fouling point is situated 60 yards to the south east of the South Eastern Company’s “B” signal box.
The running of the Brighton passenger train was controlled by three signal boxes, viz.:-
1, The Brighton Company’s north signal box, situated on the south west side of that Company’s lines and about 20 yards to the south east of their station.
2, The Brighton Company’s south box, also situated on the south west side of their lines and 120 yards to the south east of the north box.
3, The South Eastern Company’s “B” signal box, fixed across their lines at a point about 300 yards to the south east of the buffer stops at the north west ends of their station platform lines.
The signal for running from the Brighton Company’s down line through the double junction on to the down joint line is fixed on a gantry across the Brighton Company’s lines situated 30 yards to the south east of their north signal box. This signal is worked from the Brighton Company’s north box, but both the south box and the South Eastern Company’s “B” box have slots controlling it, so that it cannot be lowered without their concurrence.
Owing also to the “lock and block” arrangements which are in the use on the Brighton line, this signal cannot be lowered until the signalman in the north box has received “line clear” from the south box, and that cannot be given until the signalman in the south box has similarly received “line clear” from the “B” box.
The signal therefore for a train to run from the Brighton Company’s station to the down join line cannot be lowered until the signalmen in both the south box and the “B” box have each of them given “line clear” for the train and have also each pulled over their levers working the slots on that signal.
There is on the up line running into the low level station a facing point situated 70 yards to the north west of the “B” signal box. The left hand connection leads to No.1 platform line, and the right hand one to No.4 platform line. The light engine was standing on No1 platform line and it had to run from that line on to No. 4 platform line; it was necessary therefore for it to be backed in the down direction along the up line until it was clear of the facing point, and then to be run along the up connection leading to No.4 line. There is no signal provided for backing along the up line, but a disc signal is provided for shunting through the facing point in the up direction. This shunting signal is situated 4 yards to the south east of the “B” signal box, i.e., 74 yards from the facing point.

EVIDENCE

W. Tall, driver, states: I have been about 32 years in the service of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company, during about 18 of which I have been a driver. On November §8th I was in charge of leading engine of the 6.30 p.m. train to Stoats Nest. My engine was a four wheels coupled bogie tank engine running chimney first; it was fitted with the Westinghouse automatic brake working blocks on the four coupled wheels and with a hand brake workings the same blocks. I had come on duty that day at 3.40 p.m. to work till 1.0 a.m; I had previously come off duty at 3.30 p.m. on the 17th. We started from London Bridge at 6.38 p.m. I started from No.3 platform; the platform starting signal was off for me and the outer starting signal was off for me also. I myself saw nothing of the engine which fouled my train until after the collision occurred, and I account for my not having seen it by the fact that it was foggy and dark. It was shortly after passing the outer starting signal that the collision occurred. I think that the speed of my train was about eight miles per hour. My engine did not come into collision with the light engine at all and I do not know what part of my train did so. As the time of the collision I was looking out for “B” cabin signal box and my engine came to rest about half way between the outer starting signal and the “B” signals. I felt the automatic brake go on, and I at once turned off steam; my brakes were in good order. It was foggy at the time and I do not think I could see my signals at a distance of more than 20 yards.

George Harris, fireman, states: I have been about 12 years in the service of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company, during about eight years of which I have been employed as a fireman. On November 18th I was woking with driver Tall and I was on the leading engine of the 6.30 p.m. train to Stoats Nest. I remember our starting from London Bridge station, the weather was rather foggy. When passing the platform starting signal one could see the outer starting signal. The first I knew of the collision was feeling my train being stopped, I then looked back and saw that the doors of the train were open and that the passengers were jumping out; I was looking out on the off side of the engine. I estimate our speed at the time of the collision at six or eight miles per hour. I had not myself seen any sign of the light engine as at the time of the collision I was looking out on the off side of my engine for the signals. Our brakes acted well. Both the platform starting signal and the outer starting signal were lowered for us. I was working the same hours as driver Tall.

Joseph Reed, driver, states: I have been 25 years in the service of the London Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company, during 13 of which I have been a driver. On the 18th November I was in charge of the second engine of the 6.30 pm. train to Stoats Nest. My engine was a six wheels coupled radial axle tank engine; it was running chimney first and it was fitted with the Westinghouse automatic brake working blocks on the same blocks. My brakes were in grand order. I remember starting from London Bridge station about 6.38 p.m., it was foggy at the time; I do not think we could see our signals more than 20 or 30 yards ahead of us. I saw the platform starting signal and the outer starting signal and both of them were off for us. I could not see any other signal ahead of us. The first I knew of anything being wrong with the train was that my fireman who was looking out on the off side shouting out to me “Whoa,” at the same time I shut off steam. I estimate our speed at the time at from 10 to 12 miles per hour. I looked out on my side of the engine but I could not see what had happened. I afterwards found out that we had collided with a light engine, but I saw nothing of the light engine until after the accident had occurred. That paint was scraped off the back buffer beam of my engine by the collision, but in spite of that I saw nothing of the light engine. I attribute my not having seen it to the fog and the steam from the leading engine and my engine. I came on duty at 3.55 p.m. to work till 12.30 a.m.; I had previously come duty about 2 a.m. on the 18th. My brakes acted very well when they were applied. I could not see the outer starting signal until I was within 20 or 30 yards of it. 

Thomas Moody, fireman states: I have been over eight years in the service of the London, Brighton, andSouth Coast Railway Company, during four and a half years of which I have been a fireman. I was working with driver Reed on the 18th November and worked the same hours as he did. I was on the second engine of the 6.30 p.m. train. I remember our starting from London Bridge station. It was very foggy at the time. When we were standing in the station close to the platform starting signal we could just see the outer starting signals; I am confident of  the above, I looked out myself and could just see that it was off for us. The first I knew of the collision was feeling a slight thump. At this time I was looking ahead on the off side of my engine. On feeling the thump I looked back and I saw a door open and a man appeared to me to fall out of it. I at once hollows to my mate to stop as I thought something was wrong. I did not know what had happened and I saw nothing of the light engine which it collied. I estimate our speed at the time of the collision at about eight or nine miles per hour. My driver at once turned off the steam and applied the brake. The brake acted well.

Harry Stead, guard, staes: I have been 14 years in the service of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company, during five of which I have been a guard. Om the 18th November I was guard of the 6.30 p.m. train to Stoats Nest. I came on duty that day at 6.45 a.m. to work till 8.45 p.m. I had not been on duty the day before at all. I was riding in the leading composite carriage, which has a brake compartment. My train was fitted with the Westinghouse automatic brake working blocks on four wheels of the six wheeled stock and all the wheels of the other stock. My brakes were in good order. The first I knew of the collision was from hearing it. I at once applied my Westinghouse brake. I then got of my brake and looked after the passengers. i got out on the off side of the line, so I did not know what had really occurred. I subsequently found a light engine had collided with the leading vehicle of my train. It had not derailed it, but it had considerably damaged the near side of it, and three other vehicles of my train were injured. I cannot say what the speed of the train was at the time, but it was not very fast. I should say about 10 miles per hours. At the time of the accident I was looking out on the off side to get a light from my mate at the rear of the train, and I saw nothing of the light engine at all. I was off duty from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. I received no complaint from any of the passengers of being injured. One of the bogie carriages was tilted over a bit, and a number of passengers from it jumped out of it on the off side. I at once did my best to get them off the line. I could not see the whole length of my train. When we were about a quarter of the way between the platform signal and the girder signal I could see the girder signal.

Richard Addis, signalman, states: I have been 32 years in the service of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company, during 25 of which I have been a signalman. I am now employed in the London Bridge north box, and have been employed there for 25 years. I came n duty on the 18th November at 2 p.m. to work till 10 p.m. I came off duty the previous day at 10 p.m. The first thing I did in connection with the 6.30 p.m. train to Stoats Nest was to describe it to the south box; this was at 6.34 p.m. At the same tine that I described the train I offered it to the south box, and two minutes subsequently the south box accepted it. I then pulled off the outer starting signal, and that released the platform starting signal, which I also lowered. “B” box has control over my outer starting signal, and at the time when I lowered that signal the control was not on; this was at 6.36 p.m. I saw the train start as soon as I lowered myself signal. I did not see the collision occur. The first thing I knew of anything being wrong was seeing the train stop, and “B” box subsequently called me up on the telephone and told me what had happened. I did not see anything of the light engine at all. It was foggy at the time, and steam was hanging about very much; when the steam blew away I think I could see my signals about 50 yards or 60 yards from my box. I could distinctly see the outer starter on the girder, but I could not see the “B” signals. The south box has also a slot on the outer starting signals. The south box cannot give me “line clear” for a train until he has got “line clear” from “B” box.

Edward Hatton, signalman, states: I have been 35 years in the service of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company, during 25 years of which I have been a signalman. I am now employed in the London Bridge south box and have been there about 20 years. I came on duty on the 18th November at 2 p.m. to work till 10 p.m.; I came off duty at 10 p.m. the previous say. The first I knew of the 6.30 p.m. train was at 6.34 p.m. At this time the north cabin described the train to me; describing the train to me really meant offering it to me. I then at once offered the train to “B” box sent me “line clear” for it. I then at once pulled off my control on the north box. The signalman in that box would see by his indicator that I had pulled it off; this was at 6.36 p.m. I did not see the signal actually lowered for the train. The first I knew of the collision was being told from the north box on the telephone what had happened.

Frederick Cheeseman, signalman, states: I have been in the service of the South Eastern and Chatham Company about 25 years, during about 22 of which I have been a signalman. I am now employed in “B” box at London Bridge, where I have been for nearly two and half years. I came on duty on the 18th November at 2 p.m. to work till 10 p.m.; I came off duty at 10 p.m. the previous night. The first I knew of the 6.30 p.m. London, Brighton, and South Coast train was at 6.34 p.m.when the north cabin described it to the south cabin, and age south box offered it to me. I could not accept the train at once on account of our 6.27 p.m. train for Dorking, which was about to leave and with runs over the down joint line over which the Brighton Company’s train had also to run. At 6.36 p.m., however, when the Dorking train had gone, I did accept the Brighton train. At the same time that I accepted the train I released my control of the points and also of the outer starting signal. Both the points and the outer starting signals are worked from the south box. I did not see the signal lowered for that train. I did not see the actual collision occur. I was not myself connected in any way with the working of the light engine, but I saw it pas under my cabin. At the time it passed under my cabin I heard signalman Day shout to the driver of the light engine to stop. I at once looked out of the box, and I shouted to the driver of the light engine to stop. At the time the light engine passed under my box I should say it was going at a speed of about five or six miles per hour. At this time the smoke and steam from the Brighton Company’s trains hid my view, and I did not see what actually happened, but I heard the noise of the collision, and knew something had gone wrong. The fog was not much at the time, but the smoke hung about; when there was no smoke hanging about, I could see from two to three hundreds yards. I consider that if I had been doing the shunting I could have seen the engine coming out of the station, but as it happened I was engaged on other duties.

William Day, signalman, states: I have been about 19 years in the service of the South Eastern and Chatham Company, and have been a signalman about 10 years. I am now employed in the “B” box, London Bridge, and have been employed there since that box was opened, which is about two years and four months ago. I came on duty on the 18th November at 2 p.m. to work until 10 p.m.; I came off duty at 10 p.m. the previous day. Signalman Cheeseman was in charge of the box, and I was assisting him. I had nothing to myself with the signalling of the Brighton Company’s train, but I knew that Cheeseman had accepted it, and that it was going to run from the Brighton Company’s station to the down joint line. At 6.17 p.m. the empty mid-Kent train had arrived at Brighton London Bridge and has run into No.1 platform line. The vehicles of this train from the 6.27 p.m. train to Dorking, and another engine had to be coupled on to the rear of the train. This train left about 6.34 p.m.; the engine which had originally brought it in remained on No.1 platform line. I wanted to couple this light engine up to the vehicles of the workmen’s train which was standing at No.4 platform line; for this purpose I telephoned the inspector on  the platform, and asked him to let the light engine come out on to the up road so that it might be backed into No.4; he replied, “all right.” We have no signal for backing on to the up main. I went to the window and showed a green light, as a signal to him that I was ready. The driver seemed to see my signal, as he at once came out.I watched him come out of the station, and I saw him as far as the Brighton tank, but at this time the steam from the Brighton station prevented me seeing him until he was passing my box. I cannot say at all what his speed was on passing the box, on account of the steam from the Brighton side. At the time that I saw the engine passing the tank I changed my green light to a red one so as to ensure stopping him at my box; I was still holding a red light when the light engine passed under my box. When I saw that he was going past my box I shouted to him to stop, and signalman Cheeseman went to the other side of the box and also shouted to him. I cannot say what the driver of the engine was doing. I did not see the collision occur, but I heard it the steam prevented my seeing it. It is customary for the engine of the mid-Kent empty train to be coupled on to the workingmen’s train, and it is customary for the engine to run up towards my box in order to run back into No.4 platform line. It is a frequent occurrence for engines to run out on the up line towards my box in order to back into the other platform lines, and they generally come to rest before passing my box. I do not think I remember any previous occasion on which a light engine has run past my box unintentionally, but on some occasions I have checked them and told them to run past. It is a recognised thing, however, that drivers do not pass my box; there is, however no signal to stop them. When a light engine comes out on the up road, a shunter always comes with it to control the operation. There was a shunter with the light engine on this occasion.  

Inspector Mann, states: This engine, No.23, arrived in with empties from Catford, and these empties were to form the 6.27 p.m. out. The 6.27 p.m. out at 6.34 p.m., and after this latter train had gone away the usual thing is to have this engine out on the up road, to drop over on to No.4 low level to shunt the workmen’s train in order to release the engine for the 7.15 down train. We generally come back through No.61 crossing, about 80 or 90 yards off the end of the platform. I got a telephone message from “B” cabin after the 6.27 p.m. had gone “right out on to up road to shunt the workmen’s.” I distinctly said to the shunter, and also to the driver who was leaning over the engine the side I was, “right out on the up road, but don’t go beyond the cabin.” The fog was not very thick. From where I stood I could see nearly 200 yards. I could see the lamp this side of the box, and the shadow of the lights in the box. Every now and then the box was obscured by steam. The shunter said, “right.” Exactly the same movement is made every night by this train, and at other times when we are pressed for time. I have never had an order that this movement is not to be carried out. My instructions are to see that a shunter is on the engine when such a shunt is being made. The road was very greasy at the time, because of the wet fog. We usually run out just clear of No.61 points, and between there and the cabin. The shunter concerned has carried out a similar shunt a number of times. There is no fixed signal for the movement in question. i did not know anything was wrong until the signalman called me up on the telephone. The fog was certainly not so thick that a shunt should not be made.

Arthur Flood, shunter, states: I have been in the service of the South Eastern and Chatham Company nearly five years, during three months of which I have been employed as a shunter. I was on duty at London Bridge station on the 18th November. It is customary for the engine of the mid-Kent empty train to shunt the workmen’s train, for that reason it is customary for the engine of the mid-Kent train to run light from No.1 to No.4 platform lines, and I have often taken charge of the light engine while it carried out the operation in question. On the afternoon of the 18th November I got on to the light engine for the purpose of taking it round to No.4 line. i told the driver to pull down to the starting signal at the end of the platform. When I got on to the engine it was standing down near the buffer stops, and, acting on my instructions, the driver ran up to the starting signal. At the time when i told the driver to run up to the platform starting signal I told him that I wanted him to shunt the workmen’s train. While the light engine was running alongside the platform the inspector came out and shouted to us, “right out on the up road, and not beyond the cabin.” I was riding on the outside of the engine. At the time I certainly though that the driver heard the instructions given by the inspector; I did not repeat the repeat the instructions to the driver, as I thought he had heard them. We did not make any stop at the platform starting signal, but we ran on along the up line. I intended the driver to stop just this side of the signal box. When we got within three or four yards of the box I told him to drop his handle and stop; I cannot say what the speed was, but he was going a little beyond the ordinary. On receiving instructions from me the driver pulled his handle over. I do not know whether the driver applied his brakes; the engine slackened up but did not stop dead. Just as we were passing under the box I saw a red light. Before I saw that red light I had not seen any other light from the signal box. The signalman usually shows a green light when we run out of the station for this operation. I had looked up but I had not seen it. While we were passing under the box I also heard a fogman shouting to us to stop; just afterwards we came into collision with the Brighton train. We were travelling very slowly at the time the collision actually occurred. I generally take the light engine up close to the signal box before coming to a standstill. I thought that we were going to stop all right at the box. I know perfectly well that we ought not to go beyond the box. I don’t know that I have ever carried out this operation before with the same engine driver. It was pretty thick at the time and there were some engines near which were letting off steam. I do not think that we could see our signals at the time more than five or six yards ahead. I have never known a light engine over run the signal box before. I knew that we were going to back through No.61 points and I knew that when we got to the box we were well clear of them. I was in charge of the shunting operation, and it was very thick at the time. I trusted to the driver to stop when it was time.

John Skinner, driver, states: I have been in the service of the South Eastern and Chatham Company 15 years, and I have been a driver nearly five years. I came on duty on the 18th November a 1 p.m. to work till 11 p.m.; I had previously come off duty at 2.10 a.m. on the same day. I had been in charge of the engine which brought the mid-Kent empties into London Bridge, and we had reached London Bride station at 6.25 p.m. My engine was uncoupled from the train and another engine drew of the vehicles of my train away. My engine was left standing near the buffer stops. My engine was a four wheels coupled tank engine, and it had run into the station chimney first. It was fitted with automatic vacuum brake working the blocks on the four coupled wheels and a hand brake working the same blocks. My brakes were in good orders. After the vehicles of my train had been taken away a shunter came down and got on my engine. He said to me, “right, driver, go back to the signal,” which I took to mean the platform starting signal I accordingly moved my engine back to the platform starting signal, and during this time the inspector shouted out to me, “right back on the up road.” He did not tell me what I was to do afterwards, neither did the shunter tell me what I was to do afterwards. I did not know what I was intended to do afterwards. I accordingly ran my engine back on to the up road. I intended to stop so as just not to foul the Brighton road, which us a recognised thing. I did not intend to run past the box, as that is the recognised place at which to stop. When the engine it running out bunker first, as it was on this occasion, I myself, standing on the footplate, would be slightly beyond the box. I had intended to stop in this position on this occasion. The fog and steam were so thick that I never saw the signal box at all; and it was only in consequence of my hearing somebody shout out “whoa,” that I applied the brake. The shunter gave me no instructions whatsoever about stopping. I was going slowly when I heard a man shout out, but I cannot say at what speed; when I applied my brake the wheels skidded, and the result was that I came into collision with the Brighton train. At the time of the collision we were just about moving, and that was all. I did not see the Brighton train at all until we came into collision with it. I do not know whether my fireman saw it but he did not shout to me at all. I have never taken the mid-Kent empty train into London Bridge before, and I had no idea what my engine was going to do next. I did not see any signals shown from the signal box as we were running out to it. I know London Bridge station well. We have rules instructing us to move very carefully during fogs. I consider I acted with care on this occasion. I heard the Brighton train coming, so I reversed my engine and tried to give her steam. The shunter never said anything to me about my engine being required to shunt the workmen’s train. I have often run out of London Bridge station on the up ,ain line, and have sometimes stopped on the up main line near the signal box while a light engine ran out of the connections leading from the up to the down main line. I made no inquiries of the shunter as to what i was going to do or where I was going to. On all previous occasions when I have backed out on the up road I have always had a shunter with me, and he has told me where to stop.

Abraham Greening, fireman, states: I have been nearly 14 years in the service of the South Eastern and Chatham Company, and have been a fireman about eight years. I was on duty with driver Skinner on the 18th November, and was working the same hours as he was. On arrival at London Bridge about 6.20 p.m. our engine was uncoupled from the vehicles, and the latter were taken away by another engine, and our engine was left standing near the buffer stops. Just about the time that we were starting, a shunter got on the engine. I did not hear the shunter give the driver any instructions. Just as we were leaving the buffer stops the inspector shouted “right out on the up road.” I did not see the inspector, but I heard him; the driver took the engine out accordingly. I had no idea what the engine was going to do. I did not know where the engine was going to stop. We went out at the ordinary pace and nothing happened, and nobody told us to stop until we were right under the box, when I heard somebody shout “Whoa.” Uo to this time neither the driver or myself had made any attempt to stop the engine. We could not see the signal until we were actually passing under it; we were going at a walking pace when we passed under it. I did not see any lamps or signals shown to us from the signal box. I am rather a stranger to London Bridge station, and I have never before backed out on a light engine on the up main line. The shunter shouted out to us to stop after the signalman had shouted out, and then my driver tried to stop. Steam was shut off before, and when the driver applied the brake the wheels skidded and the collision occurred. I was standing on the side of the engine nearest the Brighton train. I only saw the Brighton train before we came into collision with it. The reason I could not see the signal box before we were actually under it was on account of the fog and steam.

CONCLUSION

All the necessary preliminaries, as described above, appear to have duly carved out before the signal was lowered for the Brighton Company’s passenger train to run from their station through the double junction on to the South Eastern Company’s down joint line. Signalman Cheeseman, who was on duty in the South Eastern Company’s B box, and signalman Hatton, who was on duty in the Brighton Company’s south Box, had duly accepted the train and had taken off their slots controlling the starting signal. Signalman Day, who was assisting Cheeseman in the B box, and who chiefly concerned with the movements of the light engine, stated that, though he had not personally dealt with the passenger train, he knew that Cheeseman had accepted it and that it was about to run on to the down joint line. Both Companies therefore agree that, as far as the starting of this train was concerned, everything had been carried out correctly, and the train accordingly started at 6.38 p.m.
The circumstances connected with the movements of the South Eastern and Chatham Company’s light engine were as follows:-
An engine, No.23, had at 6.25 p.m. brought a train of empties into London Bridge low Level station from the mid-Kent line. The train had run into No.1 platform line, and on its arrival there the engine had been uncoupled and the vehicles had at 6.34 p.m. been drawn out of the station by another engine. Engine No.23, which was in charge of driver Skinner and fireman Greening, was accordingly left standing light at the end of No.1 platform line near the buffer stops.
It is customary for the engine of the mid-Kent empties train to be employed, after its vehicles have been drawn away, in shunting a workmen’s train, which is usually standing, as it was on this occasion on No.4 platform line. With this object in view signalman Day at 6.34 p.m. telephoned from the B box to inspector Mann, who was on duty on the platform, asking him to let the light engine back out on the up road so that it might be run into No.4 platform line. inspector Mann states that he received this message, and it is evident that he clearly understood what it was proposed to do with this engine.
Meanwhile shunter Flood, who was on duty at the station at the time, joined the light engine. Flood knew that it was customary for the engine of the mid-Kent empties train to be employed in shunting the workmen’s train, and he states that he joined the light engine with the express object of taking it round to No.4 line for that purpose.
Flood states that on reaching the light engine he gave driver Skinner instructions to run up to the platform starting signal, and that at the same time he told Skinner that he wanted him to shunt the workmen’s train. Skinner, however, denies that he was told anything by shunter Flood as to the shunting of the workmen’s train.
Driver Skinner accordingly at about 6.38 p.m. moved his engine towards the platform starting signal, whilst the engine was on the move inspector Mann came out of his hut and gave further instructions. Mann states he said to the shunter, and also to the driver, who was leaning over the engine towards him, “right out on the up road, but do not go beyond the cabin.” Shunter Flood corroborates inspector Mann as to what the latter said, and Flood states that he himself did not repeat the instructions to the driver as he thought, as Mann did, that the driver had heard them. Driver Skinner appears to have only heard Mann say “Right out on the up road,” but Skinner admits that, though he did not know where he was subsequently going, he fully intended to stop his engine at the B signal box, he says, is the recognised place at which to stop when backing out on the up road. The light engine accordingly ran on long the up line towards the signal box at the same time that the passenger train was running out of the Brighton Company’s station to cross that up line.
There was a fog at the time, and it is also admitted by all witnesses that at the moment when the light engine approached the B signal box the steam from the two engine of the Brighton train was hanging about interfering considerably with the view. Consequently neither the shunter, not the driver, nor the fireman of the light engine appear to have seen the signal box until they were immediately under it.
Signal Day states that he showed a green light from the window of his signal box for the light engine to run out of the station, and he watched the engine doing so. When, however, the engine reached the tank, situated about 100 yards from his box, he lost sight of it owing to the steam, so he at once altered his lamp to show a red light. He did not, however, see the engine again until it was right under his box, when both he and his assistant, Cheeseman, shouted to the driver to stop. Driver Skinner states that he was unable, owning to the fog and steam, to see the signal box, and that the first he knew of his being near it was hearing shouts of the signalmen. He immediately applied his brakes, but owing to his wheels skidding he could not bring his engine to a stand before just coming into collision with the passenger train at the fouling point of the twines on which they were respectively running. Shunter Flood does not appear to have taken any steps to make the driver stop until they were within three or four yards of the box. He admits that he was in charge of the shunting operation, but he states that he trusted to the driver stopping in time.
There can, I consider, be no doubt that both shunter Flood and driver Skinner omitted to expertise proper care when carrying out this shunting operation with the light engine. They were both fully aware that it was not safe for the engine to run past the B signal box, and yet the engine was allowed to run up to the box at such a speed that it could not then be stopped in the length of 60 yards which intervened between the box and the fouling point between the two lines. It is allowed that, owing to the steam, they were unable to see the box till they were almost under it; but, under those circumstances, it was clearly their duty to have brought the engine to a standstill until they could ascertain where they were. Instead of doing so, the engine was allowed to run on at a speed which the shunter himself allows to have been beyond the ordinary. The occasion was one which called for special care, which neither the shunter nor the driver appear to have exercised.
Shunter Flood was in charge of the movement, so the blame must be chiefly on him, but driver Skinner must also bear part of the responsibility. No blame appears to any of the servants of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company.
The backing of a light engine in the down direction along the South Eastern Company’s up road, towards the point where it fouls the Brighton Company’s down line, is undoubtedly an operation which is attended with a certain amount of risk. The officials of the South Eastern and Chatham Railway Company recognise this fact. They state, however, that it is impossible to carry on their London Bridge station work without doing so, but that they guard against danger by making it a rule that, firstly, there shall always be a shunter in charge of the operation, and secondly, that the engine shall never be taken beyond the B signal box, which is 60 yards from the fouling point, and which by its position over the lines is a very clearly marked stopping place.
These precautions should, I consider, meet the case, but it is essential that these rules should be strictly adhered to, and that the shunter who is in charge should be duly qualified man who thoroughly understands and appreciates his responsibility. The shunter and, though he admits that he was in charge of the movement, he does not appear to have realised his responsibilities in the matter.
The only other point to which attention is called is the position of the disc for shunting through No.61 points in the up direction. This disc is, as above stated, situated 74 yards from the points, and 54 yards from the fouling points at which this collision occurred. There seems no special reason for this disc being so far from the points, and in its present position it rather encourages drivers who are backing along the up road to run up to it, and consequently to run nearer the fouling point than there is any necessity for. The Company might, therefore, consider the desirability of shifting the position of this disc to a point nearer the facing point to which it refers.

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