1875: Painful accident at Oxenholme Station

An accident of a very painful and serious nature occurred at Oxenholme railway station on Tuesday morning, by which a head porter named Thompson Holmes sustained such injuries as to render his case one of a very critical nature. From what we can learn it appears that at about a quarter past two in the morning a goods train, proceeding northwards, stopped at the station, and, for the purpose of giving some instructions to the driver, Holmes got on to the engine. Immediately afterwards a train from the south, due at 2.17, entered the station, and Holmes jumped into a six-foot way for the purpose of crossing to the platform. By some means, however, the unfortunate man was caught by the moving train, and one of his arms was torn completely out from the socket, as, on assistance being procured, it was found to be hanging by a small portion of flesh and skin. As speedily as possible, the necessary steps were taken and Holmes was brought to Kendal, and at once taken to the hospital, where, on his injuries being examined, amputation of the injured limb was pronounced necessary. The pain from the injuries appeared for some time to be but little felt by the sufferer, the shock having produced a numbness of sensation, though he was perfectly conscious, and repeatedly much distress on account of the condition of his mother, with whom, being a single man, he had lived, and to whose support he had contributed. He is regarded as a faithful and useful servant of the Company, and has been much liked by all with whom his avocation has brought him into contact.

Lancaster Gazette, 6 March 1875

1871: A Gatekeeper killed at the Oxenholme Level Crossing

On Saturday last an inquest was held at the railway-station, Oxenholme, by C. G. Thomson, Esq., on the body of James Armer, gatekeeper at the level crossing at Oxenholme, who had been struck down and killed that morning by a luggage train, as detailed in the following evidence: –

Matthew Armer, of Old Hutton, labourer, deposed. – The deceased James Armer was my son. He was 21 years of age. He was not married. He was the gatekeeper at Oxenholme Station on the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway. He had been in the employment of the London and North-Western Railway Company for several years, but had only acted as gatekeeper at Oxenholme for about five weeks. Deceased had been on day duty for the last fortnight. His hours were from six o’clock in the morning until six o’clock in the evening. He took all his meals with him to work.

Robert Armstrong of Carlisle, deposed: – I am an engine driver in the employment of the London and North Western Railway Company, and have been in the service of the company for nearly 23 years. I was this morning driving a luggage train which leaves Carlisle at 3.30 a.m. It is due at Oxenholme at 6.18 a.m., but is it not marked to stop at Oxenholme. We were rather more than an hour late this morning, and approached Oxenholme about 7.30 a.m. We ran through Oxenholme Station at about a speed of fifteen or twenty miles an hour; certainly under twenty miles. Just before the engine reached the cabin on the south side of the gates, on the east side of the line, I saw the deceased come from the direction of the cabin and went right in front of my engine. It was not quite light at the time. I whistled, but could see nothing of the deceased. I looked at the other side and saw his cap fly off, and I was sure the engine had struck him then. I stopped the train and came back, and found deceased had been removed to the porters’ room. He was not dead, but insensible. There was a train on the down line running north as we passed the level crossing. My engine would be about ten or fifteen yards from the deceased when I first saw him, and I think that if he had gone direct across the line he would have cleared it. I saw no one near deceased. The signals were all right for our passing through the station. I afterwards examined the engine and found marks on the ash box as if it had come into contact with deceased.

James Robinson, of Upperby, near Carlisle, deposed: – I acted as fireman on the engine driven by the last witness this morning. We passed through Oxenholme Station at a speed of about twenty miles an hour. The driver whistled just before we reached the level crossing, and I saw deceased’s cap flying off as we passed the gates.

Henry Nelson, of Oxenholme, deposed: – I am a foreman platelayer in the employment of the London and North-Western Railway Company. About half-past seven o’clock this morning I was in deceased’s cabin, with himself and John Park, the pointsman and signalman at the south end of the station. We were all talking. We had not been more than two or three minutes in the box when the north end signalman gave four gongs, which is the signal that a goods train is approaching from the north. Park returned the signal with one gong, which means all right – that the road is clear. Deceased asked me to open his gates, and I said “well, when I have more time,” and he then took down the gate keys and went and opened the goods yard gate on the east side of the line, and I afterwards heard him run down past the cabin, but I did not see him. The next thing I heard was the goods train passing and whistling for breaks. After the train had passed we found deceased lying in the four foot about twenty-three yards below the gates. He was lying with his face downwards. We lifted deceased into the six foot, and then went for assistance and removed him into the porters’ room, where he remained and died in about twenty minutes. Deceased was very much injured uponhis head, and one foot was smashed. He was never sensible after we found him.

Verdict – “Accidentally killed.”

Westmorland Gazette, 16 December 1871

1868: Frightful accident at Oxenholme

Between ten and eleven o’clock on Thursday morning, a fatal accident occurred just outside Oxenholme Railway Junction, Westmorland. A platelayer, named John Cross, was at work on the line, and near him was an overlooker, Joseph Beard. Suddenly an engine was observed running towards the men, and the driver was heard blowing his whistle with great vehemence. Beard called to the platelayer to get out of the way, and then he himself moved aside. The next moment he was horrified to see Cross pass over the line; at the same instant the locomotive dashed on to the unfortunate fellow, lifting him from his feet, and causing him to turn a complete somersault in the air. When picked up the body was fearfully mutilated; life was extinct. On the same night C. G. Thomson, Esq., Coroner held an inquest on the body, when the jury returned the verdict, “Accidentally killed by an engine on the Kendal and Windermere Railway about half-a-mile from Oxenholme Station.”

Kendal Mercury, 4 January 1868

1860: Fatal Railway Accident – William Simpson

Snip from Kendal Mercury 24 November 1860

An accident on the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway, near the Oxenholme Station, resulting, we regret to say, in the death of the unfortunate sufferer, occurred on Wednesday afternoon. The name of the deceased was Wm. Simpson, and he had been employed as a labourer on the line about seven or eight years. He was working at Jenkin Crag, and was carrying some tools in a northerly direction, when he was met by Joseph Thornber, a railway inspector, who directed him to lay them down, and return to Oxenholme. He did so, and shortly after that, the third class passenger train, proceeding southward, passed by Mr Thornber, who was at the time himself walking on the line towards Oxenholme, and when the train had got about 100 yards before him, he heard the whistle very loudly blown, and the train stop. It was very stormy at the time, and getting dusk, and when he got up to the train, he found it had passed over the body of the deceased and killed him, and the driver and some of the passengers were standing near the body. The driver, John Bradshaw, stated that when about two miles from Oxenholme, he saw Simpson before him walking on the “six foot” along the line, and when he was within 100 yards of him, he imagined, from the way in which he was going along, that he was not aware of the approach of the train. He immediately applied the whistle, but the warning seemed utterly to unnerve the man, and when within a very short distance of him, he stepped between the metals on which the train was proceeding, and was immediately knocked down, and it was utterly impossible to prevent the accident. The driver signalled to the guard to apply the break, and the train was stooped. They went back and found the body, which was much mutilated. Death must have been instantaneous. Deceased was 64 years of age. The coroner, R. Wilson, Esq., held an inquest on the body, at the Duke Charles Inn, on the following day, when a verdict was returned of “Accidentally killed by a railway train”.

Kendal Mercury 24 November 1860

1853: Shocking and Fatal Accident to a Railway Porter

Shocking and fatal accident to railway porter William Dawson 1853
Snip from Westmorland Gazette article

On Thursday morning a melancholy accident occurred by which William Dawson, a night porter employed in the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway, at Oxenholme, lost his life. The unfortunate man, who was returning home from duty at the time the accident occurred, was standing upright in a waggon coming down the incline from Oxenholme to Kendal, the Kendal and Windermere mail train being just behind the waggon. From the chains being slack, the waggon received a jerk which threw Dawson out, and before he could recover himself the mail train had run over him. Both legs were dreadfully broken and lacerated, the right one near the top of the thigh and the other below the knee. He was brought to his home in Longpool, and Mr. Longmire, surgeon, was presently on the spot, but the frame of the unfortunate sufferer was in a complete state of collapse. Recourse was had to the necessary stimulants, but without success, and it was impossible to perform amputation with any prospect of other but a fatal result. The poor fellow gradually sank, and died within about five hours of the accident. If amputation had been advisable, it would have had to be performed very near the trunk of one limb and below the knee on the other. He has, we believe, left a wife and four children.

An inquest was held yesterday (Friday) at the Railway Tavern, before R. Wilson, Esq., when the following evidence was adduced: –

George Wells, of this town, breaksman, employed on the Kendal and Windermere Railway, examined. – The deceased, William Dawson, was a police officer or gateman employed on the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway, and up to the time of his death he was on night duty. Yesterday morning I left Oxenholme station about five minutes past seven o’clock, accompanying a train of nine goods waggons, a van, and passengers’ conveyance. Robert Middlemoor was the driver. I was in the last waggon, which was loaden with bricks. The deceased was at Oxenholme station, and about leaving his duty when we started, and he came and got upon the waggon on which I was. The waggon was stationary when we got upon it, and we started in a few minutes after. The deceased was standing upon the bricks, near the hinder part of the waggon, and I was standing close to him. The train started quietly, and we were not either us moved from our places by the starting of the train. The driver whistled before starting the engine, and we proceeded at a slow pace for about one hundred yards, when the driver threw the steam off and partially stopped the train to enable me to unhook the waggons from the van and passengers’ carriage, and I descended from the hindermost waggon and did so, leaving a van and our passengers’ carriage behind. We intended to bring the luggage waggons down the line to Kendal with the engine, and to leave the van and passengers’ carriage to descend the incline without an engine. And when I detached them I ascended the waggon laden with bricks, and took my place near the deceased, where I had been before standing. The deceased had two bags of straw upon the bricks, and he was standing between them, about a yard from the hindmost part of the waggon. I cautioned him to take care that he did not fall from the waggon. He stepped forward, took up my lamp, which was lying beside me, and inquired if that lamp belonged to me. I signalled to the driver, after cautioning the deceased, and he put on the steam, and the train proceeded. The chains were rather slack, and in consequence there was a slight jerk, and the deceased fell backwards upon the rails, and the van and passengers’ carriage both passed over him. The jerk which threw the deceased off was so slight that it did not move me; I therefore think he had disregarded my warning, and been off his guard when the steam was put on. We did not entirely pull up, but mere slackened our pace, and the van and passengers carriages were in motion behind us, and came upon the deceased before he could get out of the way. I was not touching the deceased when he fell off, and he fell off so unexpectedly that I had no chance to save him. The driver turned the steam off immediately after the accident, and we went back to his assistance, and found that the wheels had passed over the legs of the deceased and one thigh, and mangled him shockingly. We came off for medical assistance immediately, and left the deceased with some porters and others connected with the railway. I have been about ten months employed as breaksman on this line, and the deceased has been in the habit of coming down with me frequently on top of a luggage waggon. He might have gone in the passenger carriage if he had chosen. The deceased was, I believe, 39 years of age. His death was entirely caused by accident, as I have described.

Ann Livesey, the wife of James Livesey, innkeeper, examined.  – I attended the deceased after the accident, and was present when he died, about one o’clock yesterday. His legs were both broken, and the left thigh. I saw him shake hands with George Wells, and heard him say that no blame attached to any one.

A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned.

Westmorland Gazette, Saturday 5 March 1853