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.ABERYSTWYTH.

ABERDOVEY.

RAILWAY COLLISION NFAR LLANIDLOES.

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RAILWAY COLLISION NFAR LLANIDLOES. ONE KILLED: NINE INJURRD A serious collision occurred on Saturday morning at Tylwch station on the Mid-Wales section of the Cambrian Railways, between the earlv morning mail train and all exciirsion train for Manchester As is well known the Mid-Wales section of the Cambrian system le ives the main line for Abervst- wyth at Moat Lane Junction in Montgomer\shire, and Tvhvch is the fifth station from Moat Lane, and about fifteen mil s south of the junction A little beyond it is said to be the highest point on the whole of the Cambrian system, and from this point for several mile in the direction of M.w fiane there is a steadily descending gradient With th i exception of a few occasional stretches, the Cambrian is a single lire throughout, and train- going in ooposite directions can oidv pas-> each other at stations where there is a double set. of rails, one each for the up and down platform* The pasage of trains is regu'ated by w "at i, known as the tablet, system, under which a collision within a section is practically impossible The morning mail is timed to leave Moat Lun. at 5 30, ani to reach Tylwch at 6 Ir, had been arranged that on Saturday morning th mail train and an excursion train from Brecon to should pass each other at Tylwch. The mail arrived first, and drew tip at the finwn phltforrn Shortly afterwards the excursion train came in and it sti,,uld, in the ordinary way, on leaving the single line, have passed on to the up platform line alongs de the mail train. Instead, however, it entered the down line on which ihe mail train was standing. and the result was a terrific collision with the latter. The impact caused the engines to rear up and become interlocked. The front van of th". excursion train and a passenger coach following it were telescoped, and the first five compartments smashed. The first three fortunately were un- occupied, but there were passengers in the remaining two, and of these one was killed and nine injured. The second coach was derailed. No one belonging to the TRIM.il train appears to have been hurt, and the daunyge was practically confined to the engine and front van. As soon as possible messages asking for help wore despatched to the head oiffce at Oswestry a< d to neighbouring stations, and special trains soon conveyed a strong band of workers to the spo Among those present wt-r:, Nir Gough (passenger snperinteudeut of the line) and other officials from Oswestry, Dr Yiughan Owen (Llanidloes), Mr D'llston (Llanidloes station matter), Mr Ellis (Builth), Dr Richardson (Rhavader). Nurse Roberts (Llanidloes), and the members of the railway ambulance corps from Llanidloes. It was soon seen that, though the result. were less disastrous than they easily might have been, the damage done was considerable. One passenger was found to have been killed, viz., Miss Maggie Rowlands, of Bryn- cen-,irt,i, St Harmon, aged 27 Her body was found under a heap of wreckage. The actual injuries appeared to be hut slight, and death was thought to have been due to shock Travelling with her was a young man, to whom she was engaged. He also was injured, and was painfully distressed wh-n he heard of his companion's fate. Mi,4,4 Rowlands had only joined the train at the preceding station, Pantvd wr. The following is the list of the iniured — J JFI'-man. Tvnvwaen, race scratched D James Pugh. Paotylwr Shop, face cut and leg slightly crushed Frank J Woosnam, Rhosforgan, Pantydwr, hand cut. Joseph Jones, Bailey Bedw street, 8r Harmons, hand cut. John Lewis, Cilrhil, Pantynwr, face and leg injured. Mills Mills, Mount lane, Llanidloes, face cut. Thomas J nps, B yn, Pantvd wr, cuts and bruises. All the above, with the exception of Jarman and Mills, wern passengers in the excursion train. The driver of the excursion train, Samuel TIo^kins of Llanidloes, had a severe contusion of the head and right arm, and he a peared utterly dazed. His stoker, Riehal d Kvans, also of Llan- idloes, had a severe cut, above the right eye and another at the back of the head. The driver of the mail train (Richard Jones, of Caersws), though he saw the excursion train approaching on the wrong line, remained on his engine and fortunately escapsd with a slight shak- ing. In the majority of the cases the injuries received were not serious. Suitable accommodation was provided for the injured until they could be taken home. The line was c'eared withi i about two hours, and the excursion train resumed its journey to Manchester. INQUIRY AND INQUE AT. Colonel Yorke, Inspector of the Board of Trade, on Tuesday held an inquiry into the cause of the accident. The Itisppeoi- viqited the scene of the disaster and afterwar ds conducted his inquiry in private. Mr C S Denniss, general manager; Mr J Parry-Jones, solicitor; Mr W H Gough, superin- tendent of the line; Mr Herbert Jones, locomotive superintendent; Mr A J Collin, engineer, repre- sented the Cambrian Railwavs Company, and Mr J Holmes, A.S.R.S., watched the case on behalf of some of the men concerned. At the conclusion of the inquiry Mr Hugh Vaughan-Yaughan, coroner, Builth, held an inquest on the body of Margaret Rowlands, 27, who was killed in the accident. The jury viewed the body of the deceased at the residence of her father, Sychnant Fawr,and subsequently adjourned to the waiting room at Pantydwr. Inspector Jones, Rhavader, had charge of the inquiry, and I in adclition to the railway officials there were also present Colonel Yotkearid the Rev Daniel Williams, Vicar of Tvlwoh. Mr John Pryce (Alltlwyfl) was foreman of the jury.—The Coroner briefly explained the nature of the inquiry, and said that if the jury were not satisfied with the evidence before them the inquiry would have to be adjourned. He then read the evidence of the father of the deceased, Lewis Rowlands, who simply identified the body. Mr C S Denniss expressed the extreme grief of the directors and officers of the Company at the very aid occurrence. Their sympathz was very keen with those who had suffered, especially with the relatives of the poor girl who unfortunately lost her life. It was certainly no less keen from the fact that the father of the girl had been a faithful servant of theCompany ever since the line was opened. The Company would afford everv facilitv to get at the actual cause of the accident, and they hoped the fullest, enquiry would be made. William Hamer, Builth, relief guard on the Cambrian Railways, was the first witness called. He said that on Saturday morning he was in charge of the excursion train from Builth to M mchester. The train started at 5 a.m. from Builth. Things went all right until thev got to Tylwch, at which place they arrived at 6 17. Just near the Tvlwch Station, on the Rhayader s-id j of the distant signal, he noticed that the vacuum brake was on, and heard the driver whistling. He applied the hand- brake. He looked out and saw the home signal up. From some cause or other they passed the signal and ran on to the down line into the mail train standing in Tylwch Station. The first van of the excursion train and the first portion of the coach next to it were smashed. The first two com- partments of the coach were empty. In the third and fourth compartments were the injured people. The deceased was in the third compartment. It was half-an-hour before deceased was removed, and then she was quite dead. The Rev Daniel Williams: I should like one point made clear. The witness says the home signal was again't him, but he does not tell us about the distant. signal or whether it was against him or not.- Mr Denniss: I may explain as a matter of working that the distant signal would not ho lowered until the home signal was up. —Mi Holmes: That is if the distant signal had not been taken off and put at danger again. Before swearing James D ivies, stationma.ster at l'vUvch, the Coroner cautioned him tliac he need not give evidence. Anything he said might be used against him on any future occasion. Witness elected to give evidence. He had, he said, beer, station master at Tylwch since the 13th January. On Saturday he came on duty shorr,ly after five o'clock in the morning. The mail train from Llanidloes came in at 6 11, and he was then on the down platform. About three passengers alighted from the mail. After receiving the tablet he passed round the rear of the train and bad only just got on to the up platform when the crash came. The signals against trains coming from the direction of Pantydwr w rn all set at danger. The Coroner: I understand from Colonel Yorke that there is no doubt about that.-Colollel Yorke: No, the engine-driver admits it.—Mr Denniss: Ai-d that is also confirmed by the fact that th up signals could not have been lowered if the down signals were on—Mr Holmes asked if witness fulfilled the joint occupation of stationmaster and signalman.— Witness: I am E;tatioii master. Mr Holmes: Do you also do those duties which ordinarily fall to »> -igniilmau ?-Witness: I do in the morning. It was then his duty to work the signals as he was entirely in charge of the station.— Mr Holmes: D-) you work by the tablet system 'e Is it your duty to operate it ?- WiLuel!s: Yes.— Mr Holmes: Were you perfectly aware that both trains were coming in the direction of the station ? Witiiess: I was aware that both the up and down trains were approaching. —Mr Holmes: Having got te mail train safely in did yon not consider it of sufficient importance to set the points for the other train ?—Witness: I ha,l no possible time to set the points.—Mr Holmes: Did you not hear the driver of the excursion train whistle for the driver to put >n the brake ?-Witnf-,ss: I did not hear the whistle until the trains collided.—Mr Holmes: Had yoa been in the signal box yoa could have put the train on the proper road and so averted an accident ? — Witness: I have already replied to that question.— Mr Holmes: If your duty bad been that, of a signal- man you could have averted an accident P-Wit,tiess: I cannot say.—Mr Parry-Jones: The man could not have been in two places at once. This is merely qxipss-work.-Mr Holmes: No, pardon me, this is not gU"SS-work. — By the t,oroner:-WitnesEi did not think there would have been time to alter the ooint* There seemed to be no warning a. all- Mr Holmes: I quite agree that the->e duties are of such an onerous chA,-acter. Mr Parrv-.Tor.es: No, I beg your pardon, he did not say that. He admitted that he could not be in two places at OHce. —Mr Holmes: Well he admitted that, and T think .— Mr Parry-Jones I must -eally object to these comments up«n questions. Thit man has no right to put questions -Th- Coroner: For the matter of that no one has a riht to put questions. All questions must be put through me. (To the witness): If a man had heen in the signal box could he have averted the accident.—Witness: I cannot say. — Mr Holmes Wh it time did the accident occur? — Witness: As near as [ could possibly say about three-qnai ters of a minute after the mail had come in—Mr Parry- Jones: You have said already that, the up signal was at danger. Do von consider the fact that the signal being at danger w's sufficient protection ?- Witness Certainly it is the only protection we have [f that was not so the station would not be site at, till.-NTi- Denniss: May I suggest that if the train had not run past the signal at danger there w u:d have been no mishap.-Mr Holmes: May I also suggest, that the witness knew of both trains' approach at the same time.—Mr Parry-Jones This is a suggestion. You have no right to make sug. gestions. Mr H ltnes Pardon me, but Mr Denniss and vonroelf have made suggestions. -Mr Parry-Jones: I think ti,at Mr Holmes: If you wish to stiffs this inquiry I am here to oppose you. I am not subject to you. I won't, be dictated to by you or by Mr Deuniss. If' the coroner wishes to order me out of court I will but I am perfectly snre I won't be dictated to by you —The C Ironer: Order, please, all questioi s mist come through me.—Mr Holmes: Was the signal on th" down line still off at the i,ne of the collision ?—Witness The home signal for the down mail was on.-Ur Holmes: So you left the signal box prior to the arrival of the up train P Witness Yes. to collect on the other train.—Mr Holmes You would have put the down home signal at danger.—Witness: Yea, if I had had time to get b,i,ok.-Colonel Yorke: That does not affect the question as to the up train at all.-By Mr Parry- Jones: There was a signal potter at the station but he came on later. Witness attended to the early trains to prevent undue hours on tie part of the men. During the time he was alone only one passenger train passed the station except on Mon- ,Invs. -By Mr Holmes: The porter was not there on Saturday morning.—A Juryman Have you to collect tickets from the passfingera on th3 mail ? Witness Yes.—And that took up a portion of your time ? Yes.—Another Juryman: Could you keep b Ith sets of points open at tlie s'lme time ?- Witness: According to the regulations it would be impossible. S imuel Hopkins, driver of the excursion train, was at the outset cautioned by the Coroner. He said, however, he preferred to give evidence. Wit. ness said he lived at Llanidloes, but was stationed at Rhayader. Richard Evans was his fireman. Witness kept a sharp look-out all the way. When he got near Tylwch, he saw the home signal against him Before sighting the signal, he applied the vacuum brake. It, however, failed to act, and he overshot the signals and ran into the mail —The Coroner: Can you account, for the brake failing in that way.—Witness: It must have been caused by a leakage in the vacuum chamber. — Colonel Yorke said the reason the brake failed was that the driver was unable to obtain sufficient vacuum. The Coroner: Was that so P-Witnems Yes. The Coroner: Had the brake acted all right before?— Witness: No; all the way from Builth the brake did not. act properly.— Mr Parry-Jones: The brake was sufficient to pull up the train at the other stations you passed ?-Witness It was sufficient there.—The Coroner: Did you try to stop the train when you found the brake did not anbwer properly ? Witness: I did all I could. I applied the hand brake, reversed the engine, blew the whistle, and opened the sand valve.-Tbe Coroner: Were the rails dry or wet that morning? -Witnes, The rails were greasy.-The Coroner I suppose, as a matter nf fact, you stopped the momentum of the train to some extent ?-Wit, ess: Yes—The Coroner; I do not know whether it is material, but no one has said at what pace the train was going when you ran into the niail.-Witnpss: About five miles an hour.—Mr Holmes: Do you think you could have stopped the train with the amount of brake power ,,()a had on if the rails had not been slippery ?- Witness: No, not very soon.—Mr Holmes: The automatic brake did not act when you passed the distant signal ? -Witne-s: No.-Mi. Holmes: So your conclusion is that if the brake had been act- ing properly you would have stopped at the home signal P-Witness.- Oh, yes; ceitainly.—A Juryman: If the points had been open, do you think you could have pulled up the train before it reached the end of the platform ?-Witness: (ih, yes, I could have pulled it up very shortly.-A Juryman: If the train had gone further, things would have been worse than before. Richard Evans, fireman of the excursion train, said he lived at Llanidloes. Acting on Hopkins's instructions he put the hand brake on. Witness corroborated Hopkins statement in every detail. The last thing he remembered was the whistling bv Hopkins. No questions were put to this witness Mr A J Collin, engineer to the Company, put in plans showing the section of the line where the accident occurred and from the point where the driver first sighted the distant signal, a distance .of 1,242 yirdg.-The Coroner I believe the gradient is verv steep.- Mr Collin From one in 110 to one in 143.—Mr Holmes: From the time of the sighting of the signal the gradient falls from one in 143 to one in 324—Mr Denniss: It is not what we consider a steep gradient at all. It is almost level coming into the station. Samuel Hopkins, the driver, at the request of the jury, was recalled.-The Coroner informed him that the jury wanted more information as to why the points were left open.-A Juryman Could the driver have stopped the train before it reached the bottom of the platform ?-Colollel Yorke: lie could have stopped it.—The Foreman Was the train a heavy one.-Witness: A very heavy one.-A Jury- man I think if he could not have stopped the train it would have been thrown over the bridge. That is my opinion.—The Foreman If there had been a man in the signal box he could have stopped it.- The Coroner: We have asked that question. (To witness) One of the jury wishes to know whether you can give any reason for the vacuum brake not acting.—Witness I cannot exactly explain.-A Juryman You say it was not all right at the start. Witness: Yes.-The Foreman It was a pity to start at all with such a heavy load. Did you trust to the vacuum brake going down that incline ?— Witness If on'y two or three inches of the vacuum chamber had acted it would have been in my favour.—The Foreman If the brake had acted at Tylwch as at Pantydwr you would have stopped the train.—Witness: Certainly. The Coroner briefly summed up the evidence and said there was no doubt that Miss Rowlands met her death by the collision of the trains. The next duty of the jury was to ascertain whether any blame rested upon the persons immediately in charge of the train. He thought the evidence had been very fairly given and it seemed pretty clear that the primary cause of the accideut was that the brake failed to act,—the fireman and the engine- driver had told them that. He need not tell them that, the law was that any person in any way con- nected with the management of trains was hablu for any gross carelessness on his part. If the driver of the excursion train carelessly disregarded the signals, a verdict of manslaughter would have to be recorded against him, but in that case, where the driver dii all he could, ana through an accident failed to stop the train, he did not think he could be held liable. In a civil action for damages the responsibility would fall upon those who provided him with the mean,; of causing the accident. The driver simply said the brake did not act, and the only point, which could be brought against him was that he went on, knowing that the brake was not acting very well, but he did not anticipate that those serious consequences would occur, or that the brake would totally fail to act. He did all he could when he found that the brake did not act properly, It did not appear, from what they had heard, that any charge of recklessness could be made against him, or anything, except, perhaps, an error of judgment in not attempting to remove the defect in the brake. It might be that somebody else was to blame, but there was no suggestion that there was any blame to be attached to the driver. It was not for that court to consider the pecuniary aspect of the affair, but whether anyone was culp- ably neligent, against whom they could bring a verdict of manslaughter. As regarded the station- master, it did not appear that he n-glected any duty. He had set the signalm against the train, and he (the coroner) thought he did all be possibly could. It might be urged that one man in charge of the station was insufficient, but that was more a question for the Board of Trade and Colonel Yorke than for them. They could, however, express an opinion that the brake was uot properly II constructed or that the staff at the station was insufficient to work the trains properly if they wished to do so. The Jury after a brief deliberation returnpd a verdict of" Accidental Death Tne Foreman said the jury had come to the conclusion that the rail- way officials were not at all to blame in the matter They did all they could to avoid the a -ci lent with the appliances at their disposal. There was some- thing wrong somewhere and he thought the jury should express an opinion on that point. They were not at all satisfied with the vacuum brake. Mr Denniss said he would like to state unofficially that the driver of (he excursion train the dav pre- vious to the accident was present and was prepared to sweat, that on that day the brake worked all right. Only on the morning of the accident was any defeat noticed. Ou the previous part of the journey the brake was effective.—Mr Holmes: I may say unofficially that the driver j.. question only worked the engine on the previous day on a goods train. In that case the vacuum only acts on the tender and engine and not on the wagons. There may be some defect with the brake on the carriages Mr Denniss said when another engine was put on to continue the journey after the accident, the brake acted perfectly well on the carriages —Mr Parry-Jones said there were other matters the Company might have gone into they, howevpr, purposely refrained from entering into them be- cause they were not proper subjects for that inquiry.—This closed the inquiry. The funeral of the deceased woman took place at St Harmon's on Tuesday afternoon. The attend- ance of relatives, friends and sympathisers was very large.

FORDEN BOARD OF GUARDIANS.

----_-FORDEN RURAL DISTRICT

FORDEN.

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