Monday, February 29, 2016

The Preston & Wyre Railway Opening Day, 15th July 1840 - Tragedy

The Preston & Wyre Railway Opening Day - Tragedy

The day the railway opened, 15th July 1840, had been accompanied by considerable celebration not only by the dignitaries but by ordinary folk as well. This is the account of the fatal outcome of a gentleman from Preston who had celebrated just a little too much...

Fatal Accident on the Line

    Robert Hornby Porter of Poulton. A schoolmaster, stated:- A little after seven o’clock last night, I was returning with the train from Fleetwood. I was sitting on a first-class carriage, the second in the train. The deceased was sitting on the same carriage, on the same seat as myself: he appeared to me to be very intoxicated. When the train had got past the piles (on which the train crosses the Wyre water), which might be a mile and a quarter, the deceased, as I thought, was attempting to get to the other carriage, which was  the first: and in that attempt, he fell down and disappeared in a moment. I called out as hard, as hard as I could shout to the engineer that a man had had fallen down. The engineer as soon as I believe he heard me, stopped the engine as soon as he could: and at some distance I saw a body lying. The engineer and the guard were both attending properly to their duties. No blame can be imputed to any of the servants of the railway company. The accident was entirely occasioned by the improper conduct of the deceased, in endeavouring to get to the first class carriage whilst the train was in motion. William McKay, No 236 of the county constabulary stated:- I was on duty yesterday at Fleetwood; and, about seven o’clock in the evening, I saw the deceased who was in a state of intoxication. He was then in a second class carriage; and I was authorised by a gentleman to take him out of the carriage, which I did; and in a few minutes afterwards, I took him out a second time.  I did not consider him in a fit state to  go as a passenger with the train. The deceased than went into the rear of the carriages, and I saw no more of him. The deceased id the same person I took out of the carriage.

    Some other witnesses were examined, whose evidence was for the most part only corroborative of the above statements. The jury immediately returned a verdict of “Accidental death.” We learned that Sir Peter Hesketh Fleetwood, on hearing of the melancholic event which thus marred the otherwise uninterrupted harmony of the day’s proceedings, immediately deputed some gentlemen to enquire into the circumstances of the family of the deceased, and to provide for them in such a manner as the circumstances of the case required; and we have much pleasure in being able to state, that by the human attention of the worthy baronet and of other persons, the  disconsolate widow and family of the deceased will in their bereavement receive timely relief. It is some consolation to observe, that no blame or carelessness can be imputed to any person connected to the management of the train.

Source Manchester Guardian 18 July 1840 the text is verbatim.

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