1878: Fatal accident to a mail driver

On the morning of Christmas Day, William Phillipson, engaged as driver of the mail cart from Windermere to Oxenholme, was about to return with his bags from Oxenholme railway station, when a quick goods train for Liverpool passed. The unfortunate man appears to have been struck by the train, his dead body being thrown  on to the platform, shockingly disfigured about the face and head. One of his shoes was torn off and thrown a few yards away, and the bags he was carrying were damaged.

Liverpool Mercury, 27 September 1878

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

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

1890: Shocking accident at the Oxenholme railway station

On the evening of New Year’s Day a terrible accident happened at Oxenholme Railway Station to John Pears, the foreman porter, causing his death. The deceased was married but had no family, and resided at Helmside, a row of cottages a little south of the railway station. When coming on duty about six o’clock it would appear that the deceased crossed the line, and was run into by the London express and literally cut to pieces. The deceased was a steady, quiet man, and much respected by his fellow workmen and the travelling public. An inquest was held on the body on Thursday evening by Mr. F. W. Watson, deputy coroner, when the following evidence was adduced:-

Sarah Pears, of Helmside, deposed: I am the widow of John Pears, the deceased. I last saw him alive last evening, about twenty minutes to six o’clock. My husband was foreman porter at Oxenholme Railway Station. He was due on duty at six o’clock. Before leaving home he was in his usual health and spirits. I had not the slightest reason to think that deceased contemplated any rash act. I am quite satisfied on this point. I attribute his death purely to accident. The deceased was 42 last March.

Henry Paine, brakesman, living at 8, Black Hall Yard, Kendal, deposed: I am in the employ of the London and North-Western Railway Company . I have known the deceased, John Pears, since I commenced work at Oxenholme nine years ago. He was a sober, steady man, and thoroughly acquainted with his duties. When I was coming off duty last evening, about six o’clock, I crossed the shunting yard to get to the platform. I walked along the six-foot way. When near Oxenholme Station I found a can and basket; the can had the deceased’s name stamped upon it. The evening was rather foggy and wet. I suspected that an accident had happened. On proceeding to search a little further south I found a human foot lying on the up loop line, on the shunting side. I then came to the office and told the station master what I had found. The station master and I proceeded back to the place, where we found the trunk of the deceased’s body lying in the four foot of the up main line. The trunk was mangled into a heap. Another person found some other portions of the body further south. I could not identify John Pears from his clothing, nor from any portion of the body that had been found. I cannot account for how the deceased got on to the line. The remains were found about forty yards from the southern end of the platform. I am not aware that the deceased had any duty which required him to cross the rails, but it is commonly done by the railway officials instead of using the sub way.

Thomas Moffat, station master at Oxenholme deposed: I have known the deceased, John Pears, nine years. He was a steady, trustworthy official, and acted as foreman porter. The deceased was due on duty at six o’clock last evening. I did not see him come on duty. A few minutes after six o’clock, the last witness came and reported to me the finding of the can and basket and a human foot. We returned together to continue the search. I corroborate what Paine has said as to the result of the search. Deceased might have been crossing the rails in the ordinary course of his duty. He had continually to do this when on duty. The London express is due to pass Oxenholme at 5-33 p.m., not stopping. Last night the express was late, passing through the station at 5-49. It was proceeding at a high rate of speed. I have no doubt the deceased was killed by that train. It is quite probable that he would think the express had passed and that the line was clear. By a juryman: A lamp underneath the bridge was not lighted; it was moonlight. There was no fog at the time. The platform lamps were all lighted. The lights from the signal box gives a good light where the remains were found. I could identify the deceased by the clothing and can.

Thomas Rumney, of Crewe, deposed: I am an engine-driver, and was in charge of the London express las evening due to pass through Oxenholme at 5-33. I passed through at 5-50. I neither saw, heard or felt anything in passing through Oxenholme, which we did at a rate of about 45 miles an hour. We ran through to Preston without a stop, and on arriving there I found portions of brains scattered against the side frame of the engine. I also observed the peak of a railway cap on the smoke box on the same side. The right buffer lamp was missing when we arrived at Preston. The lamp would be 4ft. or 5ft. from the ground, and this might probably cause death of deceased. The evening was a little hazy, but not so bad at Oxenholme as it was about Hayfell.

Inspector Shepherd, of Lancaster, here stated that there was another train on the down line being shunted when the express went through Oxenholme.

The Deputy-Coroner, however, did not think it was necessary to encumber the dispositions with this.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death.”

Westmorland Gazette, 4 January 1890

1938: Injured on Railway

Hearing cries from the railway line near Oxenholme signal box, Signalman W. Swarbrick found Richard Hill (60), railway messenger, of Fellside, Kendal, lying near the line with his left foot and hand badly crushed.

It appears that Hill was run down by a light engine, although the driver was unaware of any accident. Hill was taken to the County Hospital, Kendal, where his foot and hand were amputated.

Sunderland Daily Echo, 1 July 1938

1910: Oxenholme Tragedy – Lytham man’s terrible death on the line

Verdict of “suicide whilst temporarily insane”

The inquest was held at Oxenholme Railway Station, last evening, on the body of Thomas Grimshaw (41), insurance agent, 4, Queen-street, Lytham.

Deceased’s wife stated that her husband had complained of pains in his head and stomach for some time. The insurance company had written her stating that there was nothing wrong with his books. They had been at Endmoor for a little time, and she supposed him to have left to go back to Lytham. He was found dead on the line near Oxenholme on Saturday.

Evidence as to the finding of the body was given, but as to the train that passed over him it was impossible to trace it. The body was quite out of the way of any pathway.

A letter was read by the Coroner, which deceased probably wrote just before his death with the fountain pen found on him. It read:-

Mother also grumbling. Cannot help it. Hope you will get a better husband next time. Been good pals. Hope to meet [soon]. God bless baby and Tom. Hope got home all right.

The Coroner said there was no doubt the poor fellow was in a fit of temporary insanity and threw himself on the line.

A verdict of “Suicide whilst temporarily insane” was returned by the jury.

Lancashire Evening Post, Tuesday 9 August 1910

1925: Kendal man killed – Fatal accident on railway at Oxenholme

A railway fatality occurred at Oxenholme Junction, near Kendal, about 9.20 this morning, when Ernest Nevinson, porter-guard, employed on the London, Midland, and Scottish Railway, was in the shunting yard. He was knocked down and run over by a light engine returning to the sheds. His body was badly mutilated, and Nevinson was dead when admitted to the Westmorland County Hospital at Kendal. He was a married man, living at Stramongate, Kendal.

Lancashire Evening Post, 20 August 1925

1920: Accident at Oxenholme – Trucks Derailed – Traffic Delayed

An accident to a goods train near Oxenholme station on Thursday evening dislocated the main line traffic on the London and North Western Co`s system for many hours. A goods train left Carlisle at 1.25 on Thursday afternoon bound for Bushbury near Crewe. When it arrived at Oxenholme about four o`clock it had to be shunted to make way for passenger traffic. When the 4.20 p.m. from Kendal for the south had departed from Oxenholme the goods train was signalled to come from the loop to the main up line , the goods engine was pulling about 42 wagons. The loop line does not finally join the main line until near Oxenholme No 1 signal box at Helmside. Signalman George Mattocks saw a portion of the train pass his box , when thirty-three of the wagons had passed he noticed one of them leaving the rails to be immediately followed by four others , he at once put the advance signal against the train and the driver pulled up. Two of the wagons turned over when under the bridge but fortunately they fell to the outside and traffic on the down line was not seriously impeded. The front portion of the train was sent to Milnthorpe and a gang of men at Oxenholme shed did what they could with jacks to get the trucks back on the rails. The weight of the trucks was too much so the breakdown gang with a steam crane was summoned from Tebay this arrived about seven o`clock , but was not sufficiently heavy for the task , consequently the Preston gang was telephoned for and arrived shortly before 9 o`clock with a fifty ton steam crane. Four of the trucks which were ordinary ten-tonners were easily accounted for, but a six wheel Caledonian truck which was loaded with heavy sheet steel for ship building created greater difficulty, the load having to be removed before the truck could be lifted , by 11.30 the four lighter trucks had been placed in the sidings. About mid-night when all the mail trains had passed through the men were able to work without interruption and the local platelayers were soon at work replacing the 100 yards of permanent way which had been torn up. The damage to the line was considerable but it was hoped the dislocation of traffic would cease today. Nobody was injured , trains were delayed considerably, some being more than an hour late. The cause of the accident is not known but is believed to be due to journal on a wagon breaking as it left the loop line points. Mr Raffles the Oxenholme stationmaster and the local staff worked with the help of Mr Knights the Carnforth stationmaster ( late of Oxenholme ). The officials in charge of the Preston Gang included Mr Dingley (Crewe) Inspector Hall (Lancaster) and Mr Chatwood (Preston).

Westmorland Gazette 16 October  1920