Day Log/1897-07-23

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On this date, a goods train collided into a stationary passenger train at Dinas Junction, Blaenau Ffestiniog.

The passenger train was waiting at and for the down home signal, when the goods train, which was scheduled to traverse the mineral line, took the wrong path.

(It is recorded that James Spooner and Palmerston were the engines involved, Palmerston on the Goods Train)

The only damage done was the buffers on both engines broke, James Spooners bogie centres were badly bent and Palmerstons front beam was bent. No personal injuries.

The Signalman, Owen Morris said he had forgotten the passenger train, and set the road for the goods train to use the main line. On realising his mistake, at the last minute, he put the signal to danger, but was too late. He also said he did it to warn the driver he was going too fast, which earned a further rebuke from the Colonel.

Lt-Colonel H. Arthur Yorke, the BOT Inspecting officer reported later that there could be no blame attached to either train crew, and that Owen was solely responsible for the accident. He did, however, criticise the goods crew, in that they were unable to recall which signals had been set clear for them. His investigation found, and criticised Morris's sloppy use of train tickets, as he was in the habit of withdrawing a number of tickets at a time, and would issue them without the correct proceedure of having the staff on hand. Normally the ticket box required the staff to open it, and then the staff would be shown to the driver when issuing the ticket. On this occasion, however, the staff was in the possession of the down train, whilst he was issuing the up train ticket.

Yorke further criticised the company practice regarding the use of the signalling system. Referring to Morris's use of the signal to warn the goods train driver, he said "This is a totally wrong method of using signals... a signal, other than a distant signal, when in the Danger position, should have no other meaning than an imperative direction, to the driver of a train approaching it, to stop." He further went on to criticise the lack of rules governing the use of the Duffws main and mineral lines, indicating the staff and ticket should only apply to the main line, and special arrangements should be made by the company for the working of the mineral line. [1]

See also[edit]


Railway Archive - Initial page only Subject to BOT report In National Archives file RAIL 1053/86

  1. ^ Johnson, Peter (2007). An Illustrated History of the Festiniog Railway. Hersham: Oxford Publishing Co. ISBN 0-860936-03-1. OCLC 180463433. p75