1900 05 01 Alresford

1900 May 1st             Exciting Railway Accident near Southampton

An unusually exciting railway accident happened on the Alton and Winchester branch of the London and South Western Railway on Tuesday morning.

A long and heavy goods train had reached Medstead from Southampton, when a stop was made to detach a truck. When the train was divided the back portion, consisting of fourteen heavily-laden trucks and a guards van, slipped backwards down a steep hill towards Alresford, five miles distant. The guard was in his van, and it was in vain that he tried to pull up the train with brakes. The speed had so quickly increased that the train was beyond control, and it dashed along the line – a single one – with ever-increasing force. The station-master at Medstead warned Alresford, and at Alresford it was hastily decided to direct the runaway into a blind siding, this course being obviously the lesser evil than allowing the train to proceed along the main line perhaps right on into Southampton.

The guard, meanwhile, realised his position. The smash seemed certain death. The jump from the van seemed the lesser of two evils, though hardly less dangerous. He made his choice quickly, and regarding possibly escape better than probable death, jumped. The train went on and dashed, brake-van first, at terrific speed into the blind end of the siding. All the trucks were smashed, and the bits were scattered in all directions. One truck loaded with bricks leaped right over the guards van and the fixed buffers of the siding. The debris blocked the main line for some time, but the service was not seriously dis-organised.

The guard was seriously injured and now lies in Winchester hospital.

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