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DENBIGHSHIRE\ STANDING JOINT…

DISASTER ON THE HOLYHEAD LINE.

INQUEST.

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INQUEST. Mr. Bodvel Roberts, the Carnarvonshire coroner, on Saturday night held aa inquest at the Police Station, Conway, upon the body of Edward Evans, the driver of the goods train which was wrecked on Thursday evening by tailing into the sea at Penmaenmawr, through the giving way of the permanent line. Mr. Fennd. appeared for the London and North western Railway Company, and Mr. Neale, the district superintendent, was also present at the inquiry. Mr. Fenna said that he had also received short notice of the inquiry. The company, who had received no notification from the Board of Trade, to whom an official report would have to be sent, that they intended to be present. The brother of the deceased, who lives at Holyhead, gave evidence of identity. Replying to Mr. Fenna, the witness said that he was an experienced driver, having been in the service ot the company for upwards of 30 years. The Coroner I don't see that that matters much. Mr. Fenna: I only want to show, for his own sake, that he was a steady, reliable man. Thomas Charles, the brakesman in charge of the train, said that they left Manchester for Holyhead during a heavy gale, which increased as the train went on. Llandudno Junction was left at 10 52, and in Penmaenbach Tunnel he felt a jerk as though the driver had put on his brake; in two minutes or so. just outside the tunnel, they came to a sudden dead stand. He could not see anything but a heavy sea, com. pleteiy covering the train. Looking out on the right bank side of his brake, lie saw that the line was washed away. There was with him another brakesman named Thomas Roberts, travelling as a passenger. They both got out on the down line, which was about half a foot in water. Witness said to Roberts, I cannot see anything of my train, or what has happened to it. I can see nothing of the engine nor the engine men.' Witness told Roberts to proceed at once to Penmaenmawr to protect the up line, v hilst he (the witness) walked along the line to the signal-box at Conway—nearly three miles —and informed the signalman that some of the waggons of his-train had left the road, and that the up line had been washed away. Witness remained in. the signal-box. Witness had his ordinary lamplight, but nothing could be seen of the train owing to the influx of the heavy I tide. Three fish trucks remained on the rails, the others being smashed up. The Coroner What time would this be ? Witness: It was five minutes past eleven when I left my brake. There was a platelayer in the tunnel, and he had his lamp at danger, and this was the reason the driver shut off steam in the tunnel, and he told me that the line was giving way and he was going to protect it. In answer to Mr. Fenna, the witness said that the train was made up of 13 vehicles in all. When he felt the brake applied by the driver, he noticed sparks coming from the wheels. At the time of the accident the train, which was an express goods, would be travelling at the rate of about 30 miles an hour. There was nothing irregular in having Roberts in his van. In ad- dition to his cautionary signals with his lamp, fog signals were placed on the line. In answer to the foreman of the jury, the witness said that his conjecture was that the engine had broken loose and gone ahead with the trucks He heard no report of fog signals- as the wind wa& so high. The driver must have gone over a fog signal before shutting off steam. William Williams, Owen Terrace, Conway, the platelayer in charge of the length on which the accident occurred, said that he and two of his gang were on duty on the night in question. They started duty at a quarter to eleven, and watched the scene of the accident, there being. special instructions that it should be watched in. rough weather, whatever the tide might be. On getting through the tunnel he saw that the line was all under water. He told his mate to put his lamp on 'danger' and go towards Con- way, and instructed the sub ganger to obstruct the up line by going towards Penmaenmawr. He heard three fog signals fired from the direc- tion of Penmaenmawr. He saw the train dis. appear. The Coroner What do you mean by disap- pearing ? Witness: I could not see because the sea broke over the whole place, and a great crush as the waggons collided together. I saw two men on the engine, but at once lost sight of them. I could see that the speed of the train had been slackened, and I called out stop' several times; but they could not have heard me. My lamp showed the red light as a caution, and by such signalling a train on the other line was warned not to proceed. Mr. Fenna: When you saw there was a breach in the line, did you do all in your power to prevent the passage of traffic ? Yes. Mr. Fenna And as soon as possible ? Yes. Do you know when the last train passed over this part of the line? The carriage of Mr. Dawson, the divisional engineer passed on the down line about half an hour before, and also a passenger train for Chester. William Edwards, a platelayer on the section since 1891, said that on the evening of the ac- cident he had instructions to watch the tide, together with two others. He gave in the tun- nel the caution light with his lamp, and the decea.,ed whistled. He saw nothing to show that the brake was applied, and he went on to block the road at the Conway end of the tun- nel. He next met the brakesman, who told him that the train had gone down. John Rimmer, a fisherman, living in Berry Street. Conway, deposed to picking up the body of the deceased, which was lying in a little pool of water which had been left by the tide, about half a mile from the scene of the accident. His theory was that the body of the stoker would be found at the mouth of the Mersey. Mr. Fenna: We don't think it is under the engine. Superintendent Rees said that the watch found upon the body of the deceased had stopped at ten minutes past eleven. Several of the jurymen complained of the absence of Mr. Dawson, the divisional en- gineer, who ought to have been present to give evidence. Air. Fenna understood that the inquiry was to be adjourned; Mr. Dawson was under the like impression, and was now engaged in looking after the reconstruction of the damaged line.' Several questions having been asked respec- ting the structural condition of the wall, the Coroner invited the jury to withdraw and con- sult. The jury, after a long consultation and with- out calling upon the Coroner to sum up the evidence, returned a verdict of 'Accidental deat,h,' urging that the sign s! station at Pen- maenbach should be kept open daily and night- ly, and that greater security should be provi- ded for the sea wall.

COLWYN BAY.