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on 5th October 1844

Extracted & adapted from the report by

R.S. Young

On the 5th October an accident occurred on the Croydon Railway to the last up train from the Croydon Station, which started 

about - quarter before one o’clock. The front part of the train running to London Bridge was just starting from the Anerley 

Station, when the hind part, running to Bricklayers’ Arms, came into violent collision with it, severely shaking and bruising 

many of the passengers, and throwing part of the front train off the line, and greatly injuring the carriages.

The superintendent states that he is unable as yet to give the full particulars of the case, but he is led to believe that the red tail 

light had gone out, while the train was on the road.

That as soon as the carriages were got on the.line, the front part of the train was on to London, with all the passengers of both 

trains, about eight or ten, however, refusing to proceed in the train. One female, severely shaken and insensible, was taken to 

the Anerley Tavern, where the assistance of a surgeon was obtained; and all the passengers who arrived in London with 

injuries were attended at the waiting room by Mr. Cock, of Guy's Hospital; those also, who were unable to walk, were sent 

home in cabs. The superintendent further states that he has been unable to ascertain the number of those injured, or their 

names, but as nearly as he can judge, he thinks there must be two or three with severe sprains, and 15 or 20 with bruised shins 

and ankles, &c.

The collision that took place on the 5th instant, between two trains of the Croydon Railway Company, I read an account of the 

accident last Sunday in a weekly paper, which seemed to be so serious, that I requested Captain Coddington to go 

immediately, and make arrangements with the officers of that Company to enable me to inquire personally into the particulars 

next morningwhich he did accordingly; and I then proceeded by appointment with Mr. Gregory, the resident engineer of the 

Company, to his office at the New Cross Station, where he had assembled the enginemen, firemen, and guards of the two 

trains, and other servants of the Company who knew the circumstances, whom in their turns in the presence of that 

gentleman, as well as of Mr Benjamin Cubitt and MrPulford, two other officers of the Company. From the result of this 

examination, I have to report as follows:- .

Croydon Fair had been going on for three days, of which Friday was the last, during which trains went in both directions every 

half hour, that is, double the ordinary number, and of course much more numerous than usual, for I was informed that 14,000 

persons were carried in one day. The accident happened to the last train of the whole, which left the Croydon Station between 

12 and 1 o'clock on Saturday morning in two divisions, the London Bridge train consisting of all carriages starting first, and 

the Bricklayers' Arms train of 9 carriages following it, at an interval of about five minutes, as had been usual during the fair 

timeThe rule is to place two red lamps behind the last carriage of every train by night; but on this occasion one lamp having 

been  broken by accident at the Croydon Stationwhere there was no other to replace it, only one red lamp was attached to the 

hind carriage of the foremost train. As the lamps at this station proved to have been in charge of a boy, I apprehended some 

neglect on his part; but several other witnesses assured me that this solitary lamp was well trimmed and burning brightly when 

the train left Croydon. The signal man at the Jolly Sailor Station observed, that it had become dim when it passed that Station

and it must have gone entirely out before it reached the Anerley where the accident occurredThe second tram passed the 

Jolly Sailor Station about three minutes after the first, the green light being then exhibited there as a signal to go on with 

caution; and on approaching the Anerley Station, the engineman of this train observed a red light on the signal post, which 

was the signal to stop at that station ; but not seeing the red light that ought to have been exhibited in the rear of the preceding 

train, he considered it was gone. and just as it was slowly quitting the station he ran into it, but with diminished speed, for he 

was preparing to stop there, and just before the collision took place he observed that it was still there, and reversed his engine 

whilst the fireman was working the break, but too late to prevent the accident.

Though this collision would have been avoided if the two trains had been combined ia one, yet I consider the arrangement 

that was actually adopted to be more prudent upon the 'WholeThere is reason. to doubt whether the second train might not 

have overshot the Anerley Station a little, even if the other had previously quitted it; but as the rule was for every train not to 

stop short of the station, but opposite to it, no blame can justly attach to the engineman of this train.

After this examination I proceeded to Anerley Station, the scene of the accident, and from thence to Croydon, where the 

injured carriages were collected.

was happy to find that the first alarming accounts were exaggerated. Two females were most mjuredone of whom remained 

all night at the inn near Anerley Station, and was sent home in the morning. Another had her forehead severely cut, besides 

bruises on her limbsand was at one time delirious; but on my inquiring the same at theinn, her medical attendant gave me a 

favourable report of her case, and said that m a few days she might be taken home in safety. Mr. Gregory informed me that 

eighteen other passengers were more or less injured, but none so severely as these two. Their was ascertained on quitting the 

several stations for which they had taken their places, from whence those who required it were sent home in cabs, and 

received medical advice at the expense of the Company.

The buffer irons of a locomotive engine were broken and one of the carriages was thrown off the rails, which caused 

considerable delay, during which several passengers went off without waiting till the trains were able to proceed. At Croydon I 

examined the carriages that were injured. One of them, a first class carriage, had the side pieces of the under frame as well as 

the panels cracked. The other, a second class carriage, which received the shock, had its side pieces also cracked, and a central 

partition between two compartments inside broken and forced out of its place, though not thrown entirely down, and it was 

here that the most severe accident happened. MrGregory, who with laudable zeal had been continually travelling along the 

line during the fair time, to see that the servants of the Company were attentive to their duty, experienced a shock himself, 

being in the Bricklayers' Arms train in a first class carriage. He informed me that the passengers in the front carriages of that 

train felt the collision more than those in the centre, though by no means so severely as those in the rear, and that the 

passengers in the centre compartment of each carriage felt it more than those in the ends. · As the want of lamps was the 

immediate cause of the above accident, I inquired into the arrangements of the and was informed that the lamps of every train 

are examined, and if defective, replaced or trimmed again at Croydon, New Cross, and London.

It is to be regretted that the signal man at the Jolly. Sailor Station did not warn the of the second train on its arrival, that the 

tail lamp; as it is called, of the preceding train was likely to go out; but this was no part of his written instructions, though an 

intelligent  man might have done so of his own accord; nor is it likely that he should have anticipated a.n accident. In future, 

when successive trains run within five minutes of each other on the Croydon Railway, which can only be necessary at the time 

of fairs or races, the rule should be for the engineman of the following train to stop short at a certain distance from each 

station, when he sees the red lamp exhibited at the signal post, and wait there till an additional signal is madebefore: he 

moves his train up to the platform.


That their Lordships request that the Directors will cause their lamp department to be better arranged ; and that in the event of 

fairs or races hereafter it expedient to divide their passenger trains into two or more sections. or smaller trains, starting at 

intervals of about five minutes after each other, that the enginemen of succeeding trains shall have strict orders to shut of their 

steam on approaching every station, so as to be able to stop short of the platform if required, whether they see the red tail 

lamps of the train, or not.


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