It’s easy to get excited about the Stockton & Darlington Railway and forget about the people who were injured or lost their lives along the way. Here’s just a taste of what could go wrong – and did.
Fireman Mr John Gillespie died on 19 March 1828 when the boiler of Stockton & Darlington Railway locomotion No 5 exploded at Simpasture Junction.
Thankfully, another Fireman, Mr Edward Corner, who was injured in the same explosion but survived, went on to have a career as a driver on the S&DR (1828 – 1841) , Shed Foreman for the Great North of England Railway and later on the South Eastern Railway. Clearly the horrendous experience did not put him off a career on the railways!
Sadly, the boiler of Locomotion No 1 exploded at Aycliffe Lane station. This time it was the driver, John Cree, who was killed in the accident.
Don’t read this one if you don’t like gruesome things!!
A platelayer and publican called Mr Collins attempted to jump on a train of merchandise waggons that was proceeding along the S&DR towards Bishop Auckland. Unfortunately for Mr Collins he fell between the waggons, and before he could be extricated, eight waggons passed over him, nearly cutting him in two. Thankfully, poor Mr Collins died instantly. (Well we think he did).
More death and disfigurement
Two articles have been published in The Globe regarding railway accidents. Chris Lloyd’s article ‘Lloyd’s List of Death, Disfigurement and Dalmatianson’ can be read here [April 2018, 23] and Brendan Boyle’s ‘The Real – and Unheralded – First Railway Fatality?’ here [July 2018,20].