Blantyre Railway Accident 1853


Im1925EnV139-p617bAn Accident occurred on the morning of Monday 17th January 1853 in between Blantyre and Hamilton the Caledonian Railway Line.

Still relatively new then, the tracks and new embankments were still settling into a more stable permanent position and the heavy rains of that winters day had caused an embankment to slip, blocking one side of the railway.

To ensure the service could continue, trains in either direction were permitted to use the one single track, insofar as a “pilot” man was provided and that trains would have to wait near Blantyre or Hamilton for the other to pass first.

However, complacency struck when a pilot did NOT board at Blantyre that day and the Blantyre train was allowed to run to Hamilton, whilst the 9am passenger service from Hamilton to Glasgow came the opposite way on the same line!

Disaster struck with the 2 trains colliding. Whilst many people were injured, there were no fatalities, which were only avoided by the drivers caution in engaging in low speeds through the whole affair.

From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2018

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