In the modes of travelling used before the prevalence of
railways, accidents to life and limb were frequent, but in general they were
individually so unimportant as not to attract notice, or to find a place in the
public journals. In the case of railways, however, where large numbers are
carried in the same train, and simultaneously exposed to danger, accidents,
though more rare, arc somethes attended with appalling results. Much notice is
therefore drawn to them. They are commented on in the journals, and public alarm
Notwithstanding the smallness of the amount of' risk, yet, as in many cases the danger of accident beyond the control of the passenger may be diminished by the adoption of proper precautions, and in all cases the causes of danger arising from his own ignorance or neglect may be wholly removed, it may be beneficial to give in a succinct form short rules, by the observance of which the traveller will render still less the amount of that risk already so small.
With this view I have put together the following series of plain intelligible rules, founded partly upon rather a large personal experience, in railway travelling in every quarter of the globe where this species of locomotion has been adopted; and in order to render these rules the less arbitrary, and illustrate the utility of their observance, I have annexed to each of them examples of the injurious consequences resulting from their neglect, such examples being accompanied by the date, the, and place of their occurrence.
PLAIN RULES FOR RAILWAY TRAVELLERS
NEVER ATTEMPT TO GET OUT OF A RAILWAY CARRIAGE WHILE IT IS MOVING, NO MATTER HOW SLOWLY
It is a peculiarity of' railway locomotion that the speed, when not very rapid, always appears to the unpractised passenger much less than it is. A railway train moving at the rate of a fast stage-coach seems to go scarcely as fast as a person might walk. To this circumstance (which is explained by the extreme smoothness of the motion) is to be ascribed the great frequency of accidents arising from passengers attempting to descend from trains while still in motion. This is the most common cause of that class of accidents on railways, which are owing to want of due caution on the part of the passenger. I have witnessed many accidents of this class, and the reports of the Railway Board abound with them.
Dublin and Drogheda - July 4 1844. Jumping out before the train stopped, fell
with his hand on the rail, over which the carriage-wheels passed.
Grand Junction - July 25 1844 y 25. 1844 . Jumping out while in motion, broke his leg.
[-334-]Liverpool and Manchester - Aug. 26. 1844. Jumping off before train had stopped. Killed.
Manchester and Birmingham - Sept. 9. 1844. Ditto
Manchester and Leeds - Oct. 10. 1844. Ditto
Glasgow, Garnkirk and Coat-Bridge. - Oct. 30 1844. Ditto, injured
North Union . - Aug. 23. 1846 Ditto, broke his leg
Grand Junction. - Aug. 7. 1846 Ditto, killed.
Great Western.- Aug. 17 . 1846. Ditto, ditto.
Midland. - Oct 31. 1846. Ditto, ditto.
Sheffield, Ashton, and Manchester. - Jan 21. 1846. Ditto, ditto.
Dundee and Arbroath. - July 22. 1846. Ditto, severely injured
Edinburgh and Glasgow - Feb. 16. 1846 Ditto, killed.
North-Western - June 1847. Ditto, arm crushed by wheels.
London and South-Western - Jan.9 1847. Ditto, killed
East Lancaster - April 14. 1847. Ditto, both legs broken
Ditto - May 29. 1847. Ditto, killed.
North-Western - Feb. 19 1848. Ditto, ditto.
Newcastle and Carlisle - April 5. 1847. Ditto, leg crushed.
North-Western - Feb. 1. 1847. Ditto, killed.
Great North of England - Feb. 17 1845. Ditto, ditto.
Manchester and Birmingham - Feb 18 1845. Ditto, injured.
Midland - Oct. 27 1845. Ditto, killed
Ditto - Oct 31. 1845. Ditto, ditto.
Stockton and Darlington - Feb. 18, 1845. Ditto, ditto.
North-Western - Feb. 1, 1847. Ditto, ditto.
Dublin and Kingstown - Nov. 6, 1847. Ditto, ditto.
NEVER ATTEMPT TO GET INTO A RAILWAY CARRIAGE WHEN IT IS IN MOTION, NO MATTER HOW SLOW THE MOTION MAY SEEM TO BE.
London and Blackwall - July 13. 1846. Attempted to get upon a train after it
had started. Killed
London and Birmingham - April 17. 1846. Ditto, ditto.
Newcastle and Berwick (including Newcastle and North Shields). - Feb. 14. 1847. Ditto, ditto.
London and Brighton - Sept. 17 1848. Ditto, arm broken.
Newcastle and Carlisle - June 23. 1846. Ditto, foot crushed
London and Blackwall - July 18 1846. Ditto, killed
Manchester and Leeds - Feb. 8 1847. Ditto, broke his leg.
Dublin and Kingstown - March 4. 1846. Ditto, leg fractured.
London and Birmingham - Aug. 3. 1844. Ditto, killed.
South-Western - Nov. 3 1848 - Ditto, ditto.
Bolton and Preston - April 23. 1844. Ditto, broke his leg
Midland - Feb. 5 1848. Ditto, killed
North Union - Aug. 23 1846. Ditto, ditto.
Dublin and Kingstown - Dec. 26. 1845. Ditto, injured
Edinburgh and Glasgow - May 16. 1845. Ditto, ditto.
London and Brighton - July 15. 1845. Ditto, killed.
Midland - July 15. 1845. Ditto, ditto.
Manchester and Leeds - Feb. 1847. Ditto, leg fractured.
Lancashire and Yorkshire - Nov. 20. 1847. Ditto, killed.
NEVER SIT IN ANY UNUSUAL PLACE OR POSTURE.
On some lines of railway seats are provided on the roofs of the carriages. These are to be avoided. Those who occupy them sometimes inadvertently stand up, and when the train passes under a bridge they are struck by the arch. Guards and brakesmen whose duty brings them to these positions, and who are disciplined to exercise caution, are neverthelcss frequent sufferers from this.
Newcastle and Carlisle - Sept. 2. 1846. Sitting on top, stood up as the train
was approaching an archway, was struck by it. Killed.
Manchester and Sheffield - March 5. 1847. Struck by a bridge. Killed.
North Union - Jan 6. 1847. Ditto, ditto.
South .Eastern - Jan. 30 1846. Ditto, ditto.
Bristol and Birmingham - July 11. 1846. Ditto, ditto.
Glasgow and Ayr - May 16. 1844. Ditto, ditto.
Manchester and Birmingham - May 31. 1844. Ditto, injured.
Passengers should beware of leaning out of the carriage window, or of putting out their arm, or if a second-class carriage, as sometimes happens, has no door, they should take care not to put out their leg.
Preston and Wyre - April 18. 1844. Leaning
out of carriage, struck by signal board. Wounded.
Manchester, Bolton, and Bury July 26. 1846. Leaning out of second-class carriage, struck by iron column supporting a bridge. Killed.
Grand Junction - July 20. 1846. Sitting improperly upon the side rail, fell off. Killed.
Hull and Selby - April 17. 1816. Fell off, while reaching over to get his coat. Arm broken.
Edinburgh and Glasgow - June 9. 1847. Climbing from one compartment of a carriage to another, fell. Killed.
Manchester and Leeds - Sept. 1. 1846. Attempting to get over the side of the carriage, instead of by the doorway. Leg broken.
Bodmin and Wadebridge - Aug. 3. 1844. Jumping from one carriage to another, fell between. Killed.
Midland - July 15. 1846. Two passengers, imprudently standing on the seat, thrown off, both killed.
Liverpool and Manchester - June 15. 1845. Fell, attempting to pass from one carriage to another. Injured.
Grand Junction - Aug. 8. 1845. Fell off the buffer of a waggon. Injured
Preston and Wyre - Aug. 8. 1845. Improperly sitting on the side of a carriage in motion. Killed
York and North Midland - Nov. 2. 1845. Fell from the foot-board of a carriage in motion. Killed
Dublin and Kingstown - Nov. 25. 1845. Over-reaching himself, fell from a train in motion. Injured
Eastern Counties - March 1. 1845. Struck head against a signal post while leaning over. Killed
Stockton and Darlington - April 14. 1845. Leaning over, struck a waggon. Injured
Dundee and Perth - July 24. 1847. Struck by a bridge, on the roof. Killed
North-Western - Dec. 26. 1847. Upon step of tender after the train got into motion, jumping off. Killed
Newcastle and Carlisle - Aug 22. 1847. Got upon step of carriage before train stopped, fell
Lancashire and Yorkshire - June 19. 1848. Riding on top, contrary to orders, came into contact with a bridge. Killed.
South Staffordshire - July 8. 1848. Sitting on the bar of window, fell out, fracturing leg and head.
York and North Midland - Aug. 28. 1848. Seated on the edge of an open carriage, lost his balance, and fell between the carriages.
IF IS AN EXCELLENT GENERAL MAXIM IN RAILWAY TRAVELLING TO REMAIN IN YOUR PLACE WITHOUT GOING OUT AT ALL UNTIL YOU ARRIVE AT YOUR DESTINATION. WHEN THIS CANNOT BE DONE, GO OUT AS SELDOM AS POSSIBLE.
NEVER GET OUT AT THE WRONG SIDE OF A RAILWAY CARRIAGE
All who are accustomed to railway travelling know that the
English railways in general consist of two lines of rails, one
commonly called the up line, and the outer the down line. The rule
of the road is the same as on common roads. The trains always keep the line of
rails on the left of the engine-driver as he looks forward. The consequence of
this is, that [-337-] trains moving in opposite directions are never on the same
line, and between these there can never be a collision.
The doors of the carriages which are on your right as you look towards the engine open upon the space in the middle of the railway between the two lines of rails. The passenger should never attempt to leave the carriage by these doors; if he do, he is liable to be struck down or run over by trains passing on the adjacent line of rails. If he leave the carriage by the left-hand door, he descends on the side of the railway out of danger.
On quitting a train under such circumstances, immediately retire to the distance of several feet from the edge of the line, so as to avoid being struck by the steps or other projecting parts of carriages passing.
- Jan. 12. 1847. Got out of the train on the wrong side, was run over by
another train which was
passing at the time. Killed.
South-Eastern. - June 6. 1848. Ditto, leg broken
Manchester and Leeds - Jan. 23, 1845. Ditto, injured.
South-Eastern - June 6, 1848. Ditto, leg broken.
Ditto. - Dec. 25 1848. Ditto, killed.
NEVER PASS FROM ONE SIDE OF THE RAILWAY TO THE OTHER, EXCEPT WHEN IT IS INDISPENSABLY NECESSARY TO DO SO, AND THEN NOT WITHOUT THE UTMOST PRECAUTION.
Care should be taken before crossing the line to look both
Ways, to see that no train is approaching. The risk is not merely that of
a train coming upon you before you can pass to the other side. You slip or trip,
or otherwise accidentally fall, and a train may be upon you before you can
raise yourself and get out of its way.
Precaution in this case is especially necessary at a point where the line is curved, and where you cannot command a [-338-] view to any considerable distance. It is true that the noise of the train generally gives notice of its approach, but this cannot always be depended on, as the wind sometimes renders it inaudible.
In crossing a railway at a place where there are sidings, and numerous points (which is always the case at and near stations), the feet are liable to be caught between the rails and points, and in such cases it has happened very frequently that the person thus impeded is run over by a train before he is able to disengage himself.
Passengers waiting at stations for the arrival of a train, or having descended from a train which has stopped and waiting to remount, stand in need of the greatest caution. The refreshment-room is sometimes on the side of the road, opposite to that on which the train stops, in which case it can only be arrived at by crossing the line.
North-Western - Jan.
6. 1848. Standing on the line at a station, was run over, and killed.
Manchester and Leeds - Feb. 27. 1847. Attempted to cross in front of an approaching engine, and was run over; he had been previously warned not to make the attempt. Killed
Midland - Jan. 26. 1847. While incautiously crossing the line, knocked down by an engine. Leg broken.
Ulster - March 31. 1847. Standing on the line at a station, run over by a passing train. One leg had to be amputated, and otherwise severly injured.
London and Brighton - June 29. 1846. Waiting for a train, was crossing the railway and fell, it is supposed with fright, on seeing the train approaching. The station-clerk on perceiving her situation, hurried to her assistance, and while endeavouring to remove her, the train went over and killed both.
Manchester and Birmingham - Oct. 31. 1846. Waiting at station, was run over while crossing the rails. Killed
Newcastle and Darlington - June 15. 1846. Waiting at a station for a train, fell asleep on the edge of the platform, and was struck by a passing goods train. Killed.
York and Newcastle - March 26, 1847. Foot caught in the point, which held him fast until the engine went over him. Killed.
Eastern Counties - May 8. 1846 - Attempting to cross the line, in order to prevent one of her children getting upon it from the opposite side, was run over and killed.
It frequently happens that while the attention of a person crossing a line is directed to a train approaching from one direction which he thinks there is time to avoid, he is run over by a train, from which his attention has been withdrawn, coming from the opposite direction.
(Glasgow, Garnkirk, and Coatbridge line). March 15. 1847. Run over by a train while his attention
was directed to another train coming from the opposite direction. Killed.
North Union - Oct. 2. 1846. Ditto, ditto.
Leeds and Thirsk - Feb 14. 1848. Ditto, ditto.
Manchester and Leeds - Oct. 29. 1846. Two Ditto, ditto.
East Lancaster - Oct. 19. 1846. Ditto, ditto.
Midland - Dec 30. 1847. Having left the train, attempted to cross the line, and was crushed by the step of the break-van against the platform. Killed.
North-Western - - Sept. 11. 1845. Attempting to cross the line in front of an approaching train, although warned not to do so, was killed.
Dionysius Lardner, Railway Economy, 1850