Alarming Railway Accident at Low Blantyre

On Tuesday 26th July 1881, an alarming railway accident occurred at Low Blantyre Railway Station. The Glasgow Herald reported:

Yesterday morning an alarming accident happened on the Caledonian Railway at Low Blantyre Station, causing considerable damage to rolling stock, and delaying the ordinary traffic. At five o’clock, on a mineral train of empty wagons, which was proceeding from Glasgow to Strathaven Junction, emerging from the bridge at the entrance to the station, the leading wagon heeled partly over, rubbed against the stone coping for the whole length of the platform. It then left the metals and ran against the home signal, breaking it in three pieces. The remainder of the train, consisting of seven ‘wagons and a brake-van, also ran off the rails, and the speed of the train being from twenty-five to thirty miles an hour, the trucks became piled on the top of each other, and fell over on both the up and down lines, which for nearly 51 yards were strewn with wreckage and completely blocked. Mr Alex. Kirkpatrick, stationmaster, having been acquainted with what had happened, lost no time in taking measures to have the line cleared. A break-down gang front the South Side, Glasgow, arrived at halt-past six, and another from Motherwell at seven. On the early passenger trains from Glasgow and Hamilton coming up, a brief delay was caused, it being necessary to transfer the passengers from the one to the other. One of the lines was cleared at 7.40, and the traffic ‘was conducted on a single line until 1.40, when the other was also put to rights. Four of the wagons were totally destroyed, and the others were greatly damaged. The permanent way was less cut up than from the nature of the accident might have been expected. It has not been exactly ascertained what was the occasion of the break-down, but it is thought that the spring of one of the wheels had fallen out, causing the body of the carriage to drop down and heel over in the manner described. A spring matching the description was picked up along the line, near Hallside, which gives corroboration to this view. It is stated that so long as the coupling-chains remained tight the wagons would run on all right, and would only give way upon the train slowing for the signal at the station and slackening the couplings.

Blantyrestation

Low Blantyre Station c 1900 , 20 years after this incident

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