Railway Accident at Withington
Engine Overturned 1901

Midland and South Western Junction Railway between Cirencester and Cheltenham (accident between Chedworth and Withington stations), Gloucestershire
Transcribed by Mike Tovey

Glos & Wilts Standard
Saturday 12 January 1901 :

On Thursday afternoon, an accident occurred on the Midland and South Western Junction Railway between Cirencester and Cheltenham, but it was happily not attended by serious results. The 1.51 up train from Cirencester to Cheltenham was running between Chedworth and Withington stations, and when about a mile on the Cirencester side of the Withington station, just as the engine rounded a sharp bend into a rather deep cutting, a big piece of rock fell from the side of the cutting on to the line. Some navies in the employ of the contractor, Mr. FIRBANK, were working near the spot in the operations for doubling the line now in progress, and they at once raised a red flag. The driver, WILKINS, however, himself saw the block fall, and he promptly shut off steam and applied the full brake power. The pace of the train was slackened, but it was of course impossible to bring it to a standstill in so short a distance. The engine ran against the block of stone, and pushed it some yards, but, being unable to clear it, left the rails and turned over on its side, the funnel being against the bank. A milk van next the engine was rather badly damaged, but the rest of the train pulled up with only a slight shock, and none of the passengers sustained the least injury. WILKINS , the driver,

who had pluckily stuck to his engine, emerged from the overturned “cab” safe and sound, with only a trifling cut on his face, and the fireman, STACEY, who stood On Thursday afternoon, an accident occurred on the Midland and South by his mate, was also uninjured. Messengers were dispatched in either direction to Withington and Chedworth stations, and from the latter intelligence of the accident was telegraphed to Cirencester. In due course an engine was sent to the scene to bring the train back to Foss Cross, and some of the Cirencester passengers bound for Cheltenham returned, while others who desired to proceed on their journey walked to Withington station, where the down train was stopped and took them back to Cheltenham. A break-down gang, under Mr. TYRELL, superintendent of the locomotive department, proceeded to the spot without delay, and although the line was blockedby the capsized engine, Mr. PURKESS made every arrangement for continuing the traffic with as little delay as possible by means of the trains running from Cirencester and Cheltenham respectively to the scene of the accident, and exchanging passengers there and then returning. The line was cleared during the night. It is thought that the cause of the fall of the piece of rock was the excessive rain of the last week or two followed by severe frost and a phenomenally rapid thaw.

Courtesy of Mike Tovey