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Ashton Reporter, 1 August 1896


An alarming accident happened on Tuesday night on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway at Adlington Junction, between Chorley and Bolton. From some cause which remains to be explained, the three rear carriages of the 9:27 train from Preston to Manchester left the line and were overturned. Apparently the train was travelling at no great speed, for the damage to stock is reported to have been very slight. Six passengers, however, were injured more or less seriously, and both the up and down lines were blocked for some time. The train, due in Manchester at 10:37, did not arrive till one o'clock on Wednesday morning. Of the injured persons a few were able to proceed to their homes, others were conveyed to the Bolton Infirmary, and one was brought to the Manchester Infirmary.

The front part of the damaged train arrived at Bolton about half-past eleven, bringing most of the injured persons, along with Dr Mold, of Adlington. Mrs Whipp, of Rochdale, who was found to be suffering severely from shock, was removed to a neighbouring temperance hotel, but all the others, save the Bolton passengers, after being treated by medical men, were taken on to Manchester by train. The following are the injured people at Bolton:-

Mrs Whipp, Rochdale. Very badly shaken, suffering from shock.

John Harley, Darley street, Bolton. Cut about the head.

Hilyard Bradley, Fletcher street, Bolton. Cuts about the head and crushed shoulders.

Mrs Barton, Peabody street, Bolton. Injury to the back and spine. She is the worst injured of Bolton passengers.

Mr Nicholson, the passenger superintendent of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Co. stated that the cause of the accident was a complete mystery. The permanent way and rolling stock were in excellent condition, and an inspection of the scene of the accident this morning suggested no reason for the carriages leaving the rails. The train was going at a speed of from 30 to 40 miles an hour, and on this point Mr Nicholson said the road in the neighbourhood of Adlington was such a good one that he would not hesitate to travel on it at the rate of 80 miles an hour. The train was the 8:35 from Blackpool, and was not at all crowded. The compartments of the carriages which left the rails were fortunately not very well patronised, and in one there were only two passengers. None of the carriages were completely overturned, one leaning to one side on account of a pair of wheels being knocked off.

A Chorley correspondent telegraphs:- An alarming and which might have been an appalling accident, happened on Tuesday night to the 8:35 train from Blackpool to Manchester. The train was a long one, and travelled at about forty miles an hour, but was slackening to stop at Adlington. From some extraordinary and unexplained cause, in reaching the junction of the London and North Western line to Wigan the last two vehicles left the metals, and would appear to have been jumped about in an erratic manner. Fortunately the swing couplings maintained their connection, and the demetalled carriages dashed against a signal post, which threw them again into position, and they thumped along the metals tearing up the line and sleepers, and causing great destruction for ninety yards. There was not a chair left.

One of the carriages left the wheels, which were scattered about in all directions. The vehicles were smashed, and it is simply marvellous how the passengers escaped instant death. There were only a few passengers in the smashed carriages, and they escaped happily with a few bruises and shaking, notwithstanding their terrible experience. Mrs Barton, of Bolton, was the worst, her spine being injured. Mr Wilkinson, stationmaster, promptly sent for doctors, and Dr Mole and Drs Harris and Jackson, of Chorley went by special train. The four injured had, however, been sent on to Bolton by the train, which was only detained about half an hour. Breakdown gangs were summoned, and Mr Nicholson, passenger superintendent, and Mr Worthington, assistant engineer, were soon on the spot, and directed the workmen. Both main lines were open for traffic at eight o'clock on Wednesday morning.


The following is a list of the injured:-

Mrs Hadfield, Katherine street, Ashton-under-Lyne, shock.

John Hardy, 35 Darley street, Bolton, injuries to head.

Mrs Barton, 30 Peabody street, Bolton, concussion of the spine.

T.F.Dodd, Manchester, shock.

Mrs Boll, 17 Lime street, Hightown, Manchester, shock.

Elias Bradley, 184 Fletcher street, Bolton, injury to shoulder.

J.W.Crossdale, 46 Drover street, Dinsdale, shock and concussion of the spine.

Mrs Lowe, Strachliffe street, Great Lever, injury to the spine.

Mrs Hall, Bolton Farm, near Park Bridge, shock.

Mrs Gresty, 11 Cotton street, Ancoats, Manchester, injury to the leg.

Mrs Lowe, Babylon lane, Adlington, shock.


We are pleased to learn that Mr. and Mrs. Hadfield, of Katherine street, Ashton, who were in the train which happened an accident whilst traversing from Blackpool to Manchester on the 28th ult, are recovering most satisfactorily from the shock they received. Mrs. Hadfield was the chief sufferer, and foremore than a week she has been confined to her bed suffering from the effects of the injury to her back, coupled with the shock to her system. Yesterday she was able to get downstairs, but it will be a long time ere she is fit to resume her household duties. Mrs.Hadfield is being attended by Dr Gardner. Although she became unconscious when the accident occurred, Mrs. Hadfield has a lively recollection of the "bumping" which took place. She says the compartment was in darkness when the mishap occurred, and the carriage tilted first on one side and then on the other in quick succession, throwing Mr. and Mrs. Hadfield backwards and forwards. Mr. Hadfield, fortunately it may be said, was wearing a tall silk hat. This came in violent contact with the side of the carriage, and it now resembles a concertina. The hat undoubtedly saved his head from being seriously injured. Both Mr. and Mrs. Hadfield speak highly of the manner in which they were treated by the officials both at Bolton and Manchester. The injured passengers were conveyed by special train to Manchester, and Mr. and Mrs. Hadfield being the only couple from this district who were in the mishap, were brought by a special engine and coach to Charlestown. During the past week, the sufferers have been visited by several prominent railway officials, together with the L. and Y. Railway Company's own medical advisers.




A fortnight has barely elapsed since a Scotch express jumped the rails at Preston before another accident, having circumstances somewhat in common, has happened in the district of Lancashire. This time the disaster, which, fortunately, was not so serious that at Preston, occurred on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, on Tuesday night near Adlington Station, and was due to two coaches from some cause or other, leaving the rails, with the result that nine persons sustained injuries more or less serious, though it is not likely that any will prove fatal. The train to which the accident happened was that which ordinarily runs from Blackpool to Manchester, and is due at Chorley at 9:46 p.m. The train, as usual, was pretty well filled with passengers, and all went well up to Chorley being reached where it was a little behind time. Shortly after Chorley had been left, however, it is stated that the passengers in the rear of the train heard a grating noise and felt considerable bumping of the carriages and when a point about 400 hundred yards north of Adlington Station was reached, the jolting became more severe and the passengers were thrown down and against each other. It appears that at the point in question, the two last vehicles in the train, a passenger coach and guard's van, left the metals and jolted over the sleepers. The couplings remained fast, and the two vehicles, lurching and reeling, were dragged after the remaining coaches, all of which kept on the rails. The coaches seemed to have jumped off the up main line across on to the down main line. The end of the last coach ran against a signal post, the ironwork of which crashed into the end of the compartment. The carriages then rebounded over the line which they has left, the wheel of one of the coaches being wrenched bodily from the compartment, while the other fell over in the direction of the bank, delaying traffic. The carriages were only partly overturned, a fortunate circumstance which is attributed to the fact of them coming in contact with the signal post in question, which caused them to remain upright. The permanent way was much damaged, and for about 200 yards appeared to have been completely wrecked. One rail, 30 feet in length, was completely torn out of its bed. At the point where the carriages left the metals there is a signal box, which is connected in the ordinary way with switches, and these lie nearer the station. At this point there is a junction between the main line up to Manchester and the London and North-Western branch line to Wigan. It is suggested that the switches led to the accident. As soon as the driver of the engine was aware of the accident he shut off steam, and the train, which was moving at about 35 miles an hour, was brought to a standstill near the bridge which crosses the line close to the station. Darkness had practically set in, and much confusion occurred, as it was not known what had really happened, and the passengers in the ill-fated carriage were in a sorry plight, while there was considerable screaming on the part of the terrified women and children in the rear portion of the train. The guard, whose name is Bailey, and resides at Manchester, like the passengers, was considerably knocked about in his van, but was not seriously injured. In anticipation of the stopping of the train at Adlington Station, where it is timed to arrive at 9:53, Mr. Wilkinson, the station master there, and the porters were on duty, and were soon apprised of the fact of the accident. Mr. Wilkinson's first act was to cause both lines to be blocked against any approaching trains, and he and his staff hastened to liberate the passengers from the derailed carriage. In the front part of the train were two of the company's officials, Messrs. Hartshorn and Hamilton, and they rendered all the assistance in their power, and the superintendent of the line, Mr. Nicholson, together with the chief engineer, Mr. Worthington, were sent for and arrived by special train from Manchester soon after 12 o'clock. The news of the accident was also telegraphed to Mr. G. Jackson, station master at Chorley, who summoning the assistance of Drs. Harris, Jackson and Hindle, went with the three medical gentlemen on a special engine to the scene of the accident. Dr. Mole, of Adlington, who had also been summoned, was already on the spot doing what he could to render aid to those who were injured. It was ascertained that there were 13 passengers more or less hurt, these hailing from Bolton, Rochdale, Oldham and Manchester, and after their injuries had been attended to they were in most cases sent on to their homes.


The following is a full list of the injured:-

Mrs. Whipp, Rochdale, very badly shaken suffering from shock.

John Hardy, Darley street, Bolton, cut about the head.

Elias Bradley, Fletcher street, Bolton, cuts about the head and crushed shoulder.

Mrs. Barton, Peabody street, Bolton, injury to back and spine.

Mrs. Hadfield, Ashton-under-Lyne, shock.

T.F.Dodd, Manchester, shock.

Mrs. Ball, 17 High street, Hightown, shock.

J.W.Croasdale, 46 Dover street, Dinsdale, shock and concussion to the spine.

Mrs. Lowe, Great Lever, injury to the spine.

Mrs. Hall, Park Bridge, shock.

Mrs. Gresty, 11 Cotton street, Ancoats, Manchester, injury to the leg.



As soon as the injured persons had had their wounds dressed, steps were taken to have them forwarded to their destinations. The damaged vehicles from which all the handles had been torn in the friction against the signal post, were detached from the train, and the remaining portion left Adlington to Manchester about 10:51. In the meantime, a telegram had been sent to Bolton, and Drs. Scowcroft and Mallet were in waiting at Bolton Station when the train arrived there. Ambulances were also provided, and these were brought into requisition for conveying some of the injured passengers belonging to Bolton to their homes. On leaving adlington, two men and Mrs. Gresty were accommodated with chairs in a special van and just as the train was ready to start the lady fainted. Dr. Mole, who had been most assiduous in attending to the injured, was at once informed of the fact, and he climbed through the window of the van as the train was in motion, and applied such restoratives as were necessary in the lady's case. The medical gentleman travelled with the train to Bolton, as also did P.S.Heath, of Adlington, who was early on the scene of the accident. The officer was in charge of two of the injured ladies, Mrs. Barton and Mrs. Ball. Mrs. Ball's husband is chief librarian at Hulme, and she was returning from Blackpool with her five young children. Although somewhat severely hurt herself, her mind was chiefly exercised as to her children, and was terribly distressed as to their safety. Mrs. Barton informed the officer that the first thing she knew was the carriage was off the metals and being dragged for a considerable distance. The occupants of the carriage were pitched with great violence in all directions. She finally found herself on top of the window, very dazed and quite helpless. The man Bradley had been visiting his father and mother in Blackpool, and was on his return journey to Bolton, where he should have started work on Wednesday morning. He was taken to his home by P.S.Heath, but there being nobody in the house to attend to his wants, the injured man was kindly taken charge of by a neighbour. Mrs. Whipp was removed to a Bolton temperance hotel, where she still remains, and the doctors state that she must not be moved for three or four days. Her injuries are much more serious than they at first appeared. She was very badly shaken , and her side was severely hurt. Her husband also suffered from shock, but he is now practically recovered. Mrs. Whipp had enjoyed but indifferent health for some time, and she was returning by the unfortunate train after a brief stay at Blackpool.


As the result of the accident, the permanent way was so seriously damaged that traffic was completely blocked. At the time of the accident the train to Fleetwood, bringing passengers for the midnight boat to Belfast, was already en route, but a telegram caused its progress to be arrested. A certain portion of the journey to Adlington had to be retraced, and a new route adopted, the intending passengers to Ireland being eventually conveyed to their destination via Bolton and Blackburn. The same course had to be pursued by other trains all night. The work of renovation and reconstruction was quickly taken in hand, a large breakdown gang arriving from Bolton. The main track was greatly damaged for a length of fully 300 yards, all of which distance the derailed carriages were dragged. The men worked with a will, and were skilfully directed, but it was not until 8 o'clock on Wednesday morning that the main down line was cleared. The carriages, which were a good deal battered, were lifted on to bogey wheels and then removed to a siding.


How the accident was caused seems to be a mystery. Mr. Nicholson, in the course of an interview, pointed out that at the spot where the carriages left the rails there was only the slightest bend. As to the points they were found to be exactly as they should have been. They were locked open and the signal shut off. The shutting off of the signals locks the points. The driver was slowing down from a speed of 30 to 35 miles an hour and preparing to draw up at the station. He (Mr. Nicholson) was quite confident there was no defect in any of the wheels. They are, he said, too closely and frequently examined to admit of any flaw to escape notice. Besides, the wheels of the vehicles were now intact and practically as good as new. To get at the real cause of the accident, a very careful inquiry into the whole of the circumstances will be necessary, and even then so apparently inexplicable does the accident now appear to be that there is much doubt if a true solution will be arrived at.


Mrs. Barton, 30, Peabody street, Bolton, married daughter of Mr. W. Crumblehulme, Derby Iron Works, Bolton, formerly of Chorley, and who was one of the injured, has made a statement to the effect that she, along with her seven-year-old boy had been to spend the day at Blackpool with her brother's wife, and left the sea-side town by the ill-fated train. They travelled well and without untoward incident of any kind until the train was just entering Adlington Station. She was in a carriage along with several other people, and her little boy was asleep in a corner of the seat. Suddenly and without the least warning, a violent shock was felt, and the lights in the carriage were extinguished. She was banged violently from side to side of the compartment, the oscillation being continued until the train was brought to a standstill. She was thrown to the floor of the carriage, and sustained an injury to the back and also severe internal shock. Her little boy, strange to say, was thrown under the opposite seat to that on which he was sleeping , and escaped without apparent injury.

A milkman named John Hardie, residing at 35, Darley street, Bolton, says he joined the train at Chorley, and was the sole occupant of the last compartment of the third carriage. All went well until Adlington was reached, and simultaneous with the slackening of the engines the carriage began to rock violently and his head was dashed through one of the side windows. Within a hundred yards the train was pulled up, and he jumped out to ascertain what had occurred. He sustained a cut on the head, and received a good shaking, but otherwise escaped unhurt. On arriving at Bolton he was medically examined and despatched home in a cab, whilst on Wednesday morning he was visited by Dr. Mallet.

A young man named Hilary Bradley, aged 18, and employed as a hairdresser's assistant, had been spending the weekend with his parents at Blackpool, and was returning home by the ill-fated train. His story of the accident agrees with that of Mrs. Barton in the main, but he adds the carriage in which he travelled was an old one, and that whilst scrambling out after the accident he noticed one of the wheels of the carriage in which he was travelling was smashed. Whether this occurred after the carriages left the metals or was broken before and was the cause of the accident he cannot say definitely, but he believes that it was damaged. The shock was a most violent one, and in the oscillation of the train he was hurled from side to side, and sustained a dislocated shoulder.


The only injured passenger that was not able to be sent home was Mrs. Gresty, described as a longing-house keeper, of Cottonstreet, Ancoats, who was taken to the Manchester Infirmary. Mrs. Gresty is about 40 years of age, and she has received injuries to her legs which necessitate her detention at the institution. The woman is not dangerously injured, and hopes are entertained that she may be removed to her home during the course of a day or two.


The news of the disaster was soon spread abroad in Adlington, and a large number of persons were attracted to the scene, and made their way on to the railway and the slopes. As it was found that many of them were in a position of danger to themselves as well as a hindrance to those engaged in clearing the line, the officials took steps to have them removed, a proceeding which was resented. Notwithstanding, many persons remained on the slopes and the fence until an early hour in the morning.


The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Superintendent (Mr. Nicholson) held an inquiry into the accident on Wednesday when several of the principal officials were present. The proceedings were of a private nature. It is expected that the Board of Trade inquiry will be held early next week.

The above transcripts are verbatim accounts taken from the newspaper articles as described. Grammar, punctuation and spelling are as published. Relevant photographs have been added.