Railway Adventures and Anecdotes - extending over more than fifty years
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Manchester Examiner, March 13th, 1849.


Within the last fortnight, we understand, the London and North-Western, in conjunction with the Lancashire and Yorkshire, have commenced carrying goods between Liverpool and Manchester, a distance of 31 miles, at the ruinously low figure of 6d. per ton, where they used to have 8s. We further hear that the 6d. includes the expenses of collection and delivery. The cause is a competition with the East Lancashire and the canal. At a very low estimate it has been calculated that every ton costs 6s. 3d., so that they are losing 5s. 9d. on every 6d. earned, or 860 per cent.

How long this monstrous competition is to continue the directors only know, but the loss must be frightful on both sides. Chaplin and Horne had 10s. a ton for collecting and delivering the goods at the London end of the London and North-Western Railway, and, though the expense must be less in such comparatively small towns as Liverpool and Manchester, it can hardly be less than a half that, 5s. Therefore, allowing only 1s. 3d. for the bare railway carriage, which is under a halfpenny a ton a mile, we have 6s. 3d., the estimate showing the above-mentioned loss of 5s. 9d. on every 6d. earned.

Herepath's Journal, Sept. 29th, 1849.


An amusing illustration of the formal politeness of a railway guard occurred some years ago at the Reigate station. He went to the window of a first class carriage, and said: "If you please, sir, will you have the goodness to change your carriage here?" "What for?" was the gruff reply of Mr. Bull within. "Because, sir, if you please, the wheel has been on fire since half-way from the last station!" John looked out; the wheel was sending forth a cloud of smoke, and without waiting to require any further "persuasive influences," he lost no time in condescending to comply with the request.


Mr. Walker, the superintendent of the telegraphs of the South-Eastern Railway Company, remarks:—"On New Year's Day, 1850, a collision had occurred to an empty train at Gravesend, and the driver having leaped from his engine, the latter darted alone at full speed for London. Notice was immediately given by telegraph to London and other stations; and, while the line was kept clear, an engine and other arrangements were prepared as a buttress to receive the runaway, while all connected with the station awaited in awful suspense the expected shock. The superintendent of the railway also started down the line on an engine, and on passing the runaway he reversed his engine and had it transferred at the next crossing to the up-line, so as to be in the rear of the fugitive; he then started in chase, and on overtaking the other he ran into it at speed, and the driver of the engine took possession of the fugitive, and all danger was at an end. Twelve stations were passed in safety; it passed Woolwich at fifteen miles an hour; it was within a couple of miles of London when it was arrested. Had its approach been unknown, the money value of the damage it would have caused might have equalled the cost of the whole line of telegraph."


At a railway station, an old lady said to a very pompous looking gentleman, who was talking about steam communication. "Pray, sir, what is steam?" "Steam, ma'am, is ah!—steam, is ah! ah! steam is—steam!" "I knew that chap couldn't tell ye," said a rough-looking fellow standing by; "but steam is a bucket of water in a tremendous perspiration."


Mr. Osborne in the Sunday at Home, says, "I have heard from a friend a strange story of a tunnel, which I will try to tell you as it was told to me. A well-known engineer was walking one day through a tunnel, a narrow one, and as he was going along, supposing himself safe, he thought his ear caught the far-off rumble of a train in the tunnel. After stopping and listening for a moment, he became sure it was so, and that he was caught, and could not possibly get out in time. What was he to do? Should he draw himself up close to the side wall, making himself as small as possible, that the train might not touch him. Or should he lie down flat between the rails and let the train pass over him. Being an engineer, and knowing well the shape of things, he decided to lie down between the rails as his best chance. He had to make up his mind quickly, for in a minute or so the whole train came to where he lay, and went thundering over him, and—did him no harm whatever. But he afterwards told his friends, that in that brief moment of time, while the train was passing over, he saw his whole past life spread out like a map, like an illuminated transparency, with every particular circumstance standing out plain."


Some years ago, when a new railway was opened in the Highlands, a Highlander heard of it, and bought a ticket for the first excursion. The train was about half the distance to the next station when a collision took place, and poor Donald was thrown unceremoniously into an adjacent park. After recovering his senses, he made the best of his way home, when the neighbours asked him how he liked his ride. "Oh," replied Donald, "I liked it fine; but they have an awfu' nasty quick way in puttin' ane oot."


We remember hearing a story of an old Highland peasant who happened to see a railway engine for the first time. He was coming down from the Grampians into Perthshire, and he thus described the novel monster as it appeared in his astounded Celtic imagination:—"I was looking doon the glens, when I saw a funny beast blowing off his perspiration; an' I ran doon, an' I tried to stop him, but he just gave an awfu' skirl an' disappeared into a hole."—(meaning, of course, a tunnel).

Once a Week.


"July 3rd, 1845.—Brewster called to cut my hair; he told me the tradesmen could not get paid in London, for all the money was employed in railroads."

"June 19th, 1850.—We were surprised by the entrance of Carlyle and Mrs. C—. I was delighted to see them. Carlyle inveighed against railroads—he was quite in one of his exceptious moods."


Great difficulties have often been encountered by engineers in carrying earth embankments across low grounds, which, under a fair, green surface, concealed the remains of ancient bogs, sometimes of great depth. Thus, on the Leeds and Bradford Extension, about 600 tons of stone and earth were daily cast into an embankment near Bingley, and each morning the stuff thrown in on the preceding day was found to have disappeared. This went on for many weeks, the bank, however, gradually advancing, and forcing up on either side a spongy black ridge of moss. On the South-Western Railway a heavy embankment, about fifty feet high, crossed a piece of ground near Newham, the surface of which seemed to be perfectly sound and firm. Twenty feet, however, beneath the surface an old bog lay concealed; and the ground giving way, the fluid, pressed from beneath the embankment, raised the adjacent meadows in all directions like waves of the sea. A culvert, which permitted the flow of a brook under the bank, was forced down, the passage of the water entirely stopped, and several thousand acres of the finest land in Hampshire would have been flooded but for the exertions of the engineer, who completed a new culvert just as the other had become completely closed. The Newton-green embankment, on the Sheffield and Manchester line, gave way in like manner, and to such an extent as to spread out two or three times its original width. In this case it was found necessary to carry the line across the parts which yielded, under strong timber shores. On the Dundalk and Enniskillen line a heavy embankment twenty feet high suddenly disappeared one night in the bog of Meghernakill, nearly adjoining the river Fane. The bed of the river was forced up, and the flow of the water for the time was stopped, and the surrounding country heavily flooded. A concealed bog of even greater extent, on the Durham and Sunderland Railway, near Aycliff, was crossed by means of a double-planked road, about two miles in length. A few weeks after the line had been opened, part of the road sank one night entirely out of sight. The defect was made good merely by extending the floating surface of the road at this portion of the bog.

Quarterly Review.


In Maine, a conductor—too busy, we suggest, saying "Go ahead!" to be particular about wedding formalities—invited his betrothed and a minister into a car, and while the train was in motion was married; leaving that station a bachelor, at this station he was a married man! It is but one of a thousand examples of life as it goes in this fast country.

New York Nation.


Feb. 29, 1849, Central Criminal Court.—Robert Duncan, aged 47, staymaker, Mary Duncan, his wife, who surrendered to take her trial, and Pierce Wall O'Brien, aged 30, printer, were indicted for conspiring together to obtain money from the London and North-Western Railway Company by false pretences.

From the statement of Mr. Clarkson and the evidence, it appeared that the charges made against the prisoners involved a most impudent attempt at fraud. It appears that on the 5th of September last year an accident occurred to the up mail train from York, near the Leighton Buzzard station, but, although some injury was occasioned to the train, it seemed that none of the passengers received any personal injury. On the 26th of October following, however, the company received a communication from Mr. Harrison, requiring compensation on behalf of defendant, Robert Duncan, for an injury alleged to have been sustained by his wife upon the occasion of the collision referred to, it being represented, also, that her brother, the defendant O'Brien, who was travelling with her at the time from York, had likewise received serious injury by the same accident. The company immediately sent a medical gentleman to the place described as the residence of these persons, No. 59, George Street, Southwark, and he there saw the man Robert Duncan, who represented that his wife was dangerously ill, and that the result of the accident on the railway was a premature confinement, and that her life was in danger. Mr. Porter was then introduced to the female defendant, whom he found in bed, apparently in great pain, and she confirmed her husband's statement. In the same house the prisoner O'Brien was found in bed, and he also told the same story about the accident on the railway. It appeared that some suspicion was entertained by the company of the general character of the transaction, and they had been instituting inquiries. On the 2nd of November they received another letter from the prisoner Robert Duncan, in which he made an offer to accept 60 pounds for the injury his wife had received, and also stating that Mr. O'Brien was willing to accept a similar amount for the damage he had sustained. At this it appeared Mr. Harrison resolved not to have anything further to do with the matter, unless he received satisfactory proof of the truth of the story told by the parties; and another solicitor was employed by the defendants, who brought an action against the company for damages for the alleged injury, and he proceeded so far as to give notice of trial. The case, however, never went before a jury in that shape, and by this time it was discovered that there was no truth in the story told by the defendants. It was proved at the period when the accident was alleged to have occurred to the female defendant, she was residing with her husband, and was in her usual health. With regard to O'Brien, there was no evidence to show that he was upon the train at the time the accident happened, but, according to the testimony of a witness named Darke, during the period when the negotiation was going on with the company, O'Brien requested him to write a letter to Mr. Harrison to the effect that he was riding in the same carriage with Mrs. Duncan and her brother at the time of the accident, and he was aware of her having been injured, and gave him a written statement to that effect, which he copied. This witness, in cross-examination, admitted that at the time he wrote the statement he was perfectly well aware it was false, and he also said that notwithstanding this, he made no difficulty in doing what O'Brien requested, and also that he should have been ready to make a solemn declaration of the truth of the statement if he had been required to do so.

A verdict of "Not Guilty" was taken as to the female prisoner, on the ground that she was acting under the control of her husband. The jury returned a verdict of "Guilty" against the two male defendants.

Mr. Clarkson said he was instructed to state that, at the period of the catastrophe on board the Cricket steam-boat, the prisoners obtained a sum of 70 pounds from the company to which that vessel belonged, by the false pretence that they had received injury upon the occasion.

The Recorder sentenced Duncan to be imprisoned for twelve, and O'Brien for six months.

Annual Register.


The trouble which is bestowed by railway companies to cause the restitution of lost property is incalculable. Some years ago, a young lady lost a portmanteau from the rest of her luggage—a pardonable oversight, for she was a bride starting on a honeymoon trip. The bridegroom—never on such occasions an accountable being—had not noticed the misfortune. When the loss was discovered, and application made respecting it, the lady spoke positively of having seen it at the station whence they started, then again at a station where they had to change carriages; she saw it also when they left the railway; it was all safe, she averred, at the hotel where they stopped for a few days. She was also certain that it was among the rest of the "things" when they again started for a watering-place; but, when they arrived there, it was missing. It contained a new riding habit, value fifteen pounds. The search that was instituted for this portmanteau recalled that of Telemachus for Ulysses; the railway officials sent one of their clerks with a carte blanche to trace the bride's journey to the end of the last mile, till some tidings of the strayed trunk could be traced. He went to every station, to every coach-office in connection with every station, to every town, to every hotel, and to every lodging that the happy couple had visited. His expenses actually amounted to fifteen pounds. He came back without success. At length the treasure was found; but where? At the by-station on another line, whence the bride had started from home a maiden. Yet she had positively declared, without doubt or reservation, that she had, "with her own eyes," seen the trunk on the various stages of her tour; this can only be accounted for by the peculiar flustration of a young lady just plunged into the vortex of matrimony. The husband paid the whole of the costs.


The conveyance of passengers at cheap fares was from the commencement of railways a great public concern, and it was soon found necessary that the legislature should take action in the matter. Accordingly, by the Regulation of Railways Act, 1844, all passenger railways were required to run one train every day from end to end of their line, carrying third-class passengers at a rate not exceeding one penny a mile, stopping at all stations, starting at hours approved by the Board of Trade, travelling at least twelve miles an hour, and with carriages protected from weather. This enactment greatly encouraged the poorer classes in railway travelling; but the companies were slow to carry out the new regulations cheerfully. The trains were timed at most inconvenient hours; to undertake a journey of any considerable length in one day at third-class fare was almost out of the question. In fact, a short-sighted policy of doing almost everything to discourage third-class travelling was adopted by the Companies.

A traveller having started on a long journey, thinking to be able to travel all the way third-class, would find at some stage of the route that he had arrived, only a few minutes perhaps, after the departure of the cheap train to his destination, with no alternative but to wait for hours or proceed by the express and pay accordingly. Moreover, the third-class carriages were provided with the very minimum of comfort. It was not seen by the railway executive of that time that the policy adopted was actually prejudicial to their own interests.

Our Railways, by Joseph Parsloe.


The Rev. F. S. Williams, in an article in the Contemporary Review, entitled "Railway Revolutions," remarks:—"We need not go back so far as the time when third-class passengers had to stand in a sort of cattle-pen placed on wheels; it is only a few years since the Parliamentary trains were run in bare fulfilment of the obligations of Parliament, and when a journey by one of them could never be looked upon as anything better than a necessary evil. To start in the darkness of a winter's morning to catch the only third-class train that ran; to sit, after a slender breakfast, in a vehicle the windows of which were compounded of the largest amount of wood and the smallest amount of glass, and which were carefully adjusted to exactly those positions in which the fewest travellers could see out of them; to stop at every roadside station, however insignificant; and to accomplish a journey of 200 miles in about ten hours—such were the ordinary conditions which Parliament in its bounty provided for the people. Occasionally, moreover, the monotony of progress was interrupted by the shunting of the train into a siding, where it might wait for more respectable passenger trains and fast goods to pass."

"We remember," says a writer, "once standing on the platform at Darlington when the Parliamentary train arrived. It was detained for a considerable time to allow a more favoured train to pass, and, on the remonstrance of several of the passengers at the unexpected detention, they were coolly informed, "Ye mun bide till yer betters gaw past, ye are only the nigger train."

"If there is one part of my public life," recently said Mr. Allport (Midland Railway) to the writer, "in which I look back with more satisfaction than anything else, it is with reference to the boon we conferred on third-class passengers. When the rich man travels, or if he lies in bed all day, his capital remains undiminished, and perhaps his income flows in all the same. But when a poor man travels he has not only to pay his fare, but to sink his capital, for his time is his capital; and if he now consumes only five hours instead of ten in making a journey, he has saved five hours of time for useful labour—useful to himself, to his family, and to society. And I think with even more pleasure of the comfort in travelling we have been able to confer upon women and children. But it took," he added, "five-and-twenty years' work to get it done."


Confound that Pope Gregory who changed the style! He, or some one else, has robbed the month of February, in ordinary years, of no less than three days, for Mr. George Sutton, the solicitor, has discovered and established by the last Brighton Act of Parliament that February has really thirty-one days, while that good-for-nothing Pope led us to believe it had only twenty-eight. The language of the 45th clause of the Act or of the bill which went into the Lords is:—

"That so much of the said Consolidation Act as enacts that the ordinary meetings of the company, subsequent to the first ordinary meeting thereof, shall be held half-yearly on the 31st day of July, and thirty-first day of February in each year, or within one month before or after these days shall be, and the same is hereby repealed."

The next clause enacts, we suppose by reason of "the 31st of February" being an inconvenient day, that the meetings shall be held on the 31st of January and the 31st of July, a month before or a month after.

On account of the great value of an addition of three days to our years, and, therefore, an annual addition to our lives of three days, we beg to propose that a handsome testimonial be given to Mr. George Sutton, the eminent solicitor of the Brighton Railway Company, the author of the Act and the discoverer of the Pope's wicked conduct. We further propose that it be given him on "the 31st day of February" next year, and that his salary be paid on that day, and no other, every year.

Herepath's Journal, June 24th, 1854.


When the old Sheffield and Rotherham line was contemplated, "A hundred and twenty inhabitants of Rotherham, headed by their vicar, petitioned against the bill, because they thought the canal and turnpike furnished sufficient accommodation between the two towns, and because they dreaded an incursion of the idle, drunken, and dissolute portion of the Sheffield people as a consequence of increasing the facilities of transit." For a time the opposition was successful but eventually the Lord's Committee yielded to the perseverance of the promoters of the bill.

Sheffield and Rotherham Independent.


A young lady some years ago thus related an adventure she met with in travelling. "After I had taken my seat one morning at Paddington, in an empty carriage, I was joined, just as the train was moving off, by a strange-looking young man, with remarkably long flowing hair. He was, of course, a little hurried, but he seemed besides to be so disturbed and wild that I was quite alarmed, for fear of his not being in his right mind, nor did his subsequent conduct at all reassure me. Our train was an express, and he inquired eagerly, at once, which was the first station we were advertised to stop. I consulted my Bradshaw and furnished him with the required information. It was Reading. The young man looked at his watch.

"'Madam,' said he, 'I have but half-an-hour between me and, it may be, ruin. Excuse, therefore, my abruptness. You have, I perceive, a pair of scissors in your workbag. Oblige me, if you please, by cutting off all my hair.'

"'Sir,' said I, 'it is impossible.'

"'Madam,' he urged, and a look of severe determination crossed his features; 'I am a desperate man. Beware how you refuse me what I ask. Cut my hair off—short, close to the roots—immediately; and here is a newspaper to hold the ambrosial curls.'

"I thought he was mad, of course; and believing that it would be dangerous to thwart him, I cut off all his hair to the last lock.

"'Now, madam,' said he, unlocking a small portmanteau, 'you will further oblige me by looking out of the window, as I am about to change my clothes.'

"Of course I looked out of the window for a very considerable time, and when he observed, 'Madam, I need no longer put you to any inconvenience,' I did not recognise the young man in the least.

"Instead of his former rather gay costume, he was attired in black, and wore a grey wig and silver spectacles; he looked like a respectable divine of the Church of England, of about sixty-four years of age; to complete that character, he held a volume of sermons in his hand, which—they appeared so to absorb him—might have been his own.

"'I do not wish to threaten you, young lady,' he resumed, 'and I think, besides, that I can trust your kind face. Will you promise me not to reveal this metamorphosis until your journey's end?'

"'I will,' said I, 'most certainly.'

"At Reading, the guard and a person in plain clothes looked into our carriage.

"'You have the ticket, my love,' said the young man, blandly, and looking to me as though he were my father.

"'Never mind, sir; we don't want them,' said the official, as he withdrew his companion.

"'I shall now leave you, madam,' observed my fellow-traveller, as soon as the coast was clear; 'by your kind and courageous conduct you have saved my life and, perhaps, even your own.'

"In another minute he was gone, and the train was in motion. Not till the next morning did I learn from the Times newspaper that the gentleman on whom I had operated as hair cutter had committed a forgery to an enormous amount, in London, a few hours before I met him, and that he had been tracked into the express train from Paddington; but that—although the telegraph had been put in motion and described him accurately—at Reading, when the train was searched, he was nowhere to be found."


Many concussions give no warning of their approach, while others do, the usual premonitory symptoms being a kind of bouncing or leaping of the train. It is well to know that the bottom of the carriage is the safest place, and, therefore, when a person has reason to anticipate a concussion, he should, without hesitation, throw himself on the floor of the carriage. It was by this means that Lord Guillamore saved his life and that of his fellow passengers some years since, when a concussion took place on one of the Irish railways. His Lordship feeling a shock, which he knew to be the forerunner of a concussion, without more ado sprang upon the two persons sitting opposite to him, and dragged them with him to the bottom of the carriage; the astonished persons at first imagined that they had been set upon by a maniac, and commenced struggling for their liberty, but in a few seconds they but too well understood the nature of the case; the concussion came, and the upper part of the carriage in which Lord Guillamore and the other two persons were was shattered to pieces, while the floor was untouched, and thus left them lying in safety; while the other carriages of the train presented nothing but a ghastly spectacle of dead and wounded.

The Railway Traveller's Handy Book.


The Western Division of our road runs through a very mountainous part of Virginia, and the stations are few and far between. About three miles from one of these stations, the road runs through a deep gorge of the Blue Ridge, and near the centre is a small valley, and there, hemmed in by the everlasting hills, stood a small one-and-a-half-story log cabin. The few acres that surrounded it were well cultivated as a garden, and upon the fruits thereof lived a widow and her three children, by the name of Graff. They were, indeed, untutored in the cold charities of an outside world—I doubt much if they ever saw the sun shine beyond their own native hills. In the summer time the children brought berries to the nearest station to sell, and with the money they bought a few of the necessities of the outside refinement.

The oldest of these children I should judge to be about twelve years, and the youngest about seven. They were all girls, and looked nice and clean, and their healthful appearance and natural delicacy gave them a ready welcome. They appeared as if they had been brought up to fear God and love their humble home and mother. I had often stopped my train and let them get off at their home, having found them at the station some three miles from home, after disposing of their berries.

I had children at home, and I knew their little feet would be tired in walking three miles, and therefore felt that it would be the same with these fatherless little ones. They seemed so pleased to ride, and thanked me with such hearty thanks, after letting them off near home. They frequently offered me nice, tempting baskets of fruit for my kindness; yet I never accepted any without paying their full value.

Now, if you remember, the winter of '54 was very cold in that part of the State, and the snow was nearly three feet deep on the mountains.

On the night of the 26th of December, of that year, it turned around warm, and the rain fell in torrents. A terrible storm swept the mountain tops, and almost filled the valleys with water. Upon that night my train was winding its way, at its usual speed, around the hills and through the valleys, and as the road-bed was all solid rock, I had no fear of the banks giving out. The night was intensely dark, and the winds moaned piteously through the deep gorges of the mountains. Some of my passengers were trying to sleep, others were talking in a low voice, to relieve the monotony of the scene. Mothers had their children upon their knees, as if to shield them from some unknown danger without.

It was near midnight, when a sharp whistle from the engine brought me to my feet. I knew there was danger by that whistle, and sprang to the brakes at once, but the brakesmen were all at their posts, and soon brought the train to a stop. I seized my lantern and found my way forward as soon as possible, when what a sight met my gaze! A bright fire of pine logs illuminated the track for some distance, and not over forty rods ahead of our train a horrible gulf had opened its maw to receive us!

The snow, together with the rain, had torn the whole side of the mountain out, and eternity itself seemed spread out before us. The widow Graff and her children had found it out, and had brought light brush from their home below, and built a large fire to warn us of our danger. They had been there more than two hours watching beside that beacon of safety. As I went up where that old lady stood drenched through by the rain and sleet, she grasped my arm and cried:

"Thank God! Mr. Sherbourn, we stopped you in time. I would have lost my life before one hair of your head should have been hurt. Oh, I prayed to heaven that we might stop the train, and, my God, I thank thee!"

The children were crying for joy. I confess I don't very often pray, but I did then and there. I kneeled down by the side of that good old woman, and offered up thanks to an All Wise Being for our safe deliverance from a most terrible death, and called down blessings without number upon that good old woman and her children. Near by stood the engineer, fireman, and brakesmen, the tears streaming down their bronzed cheeks.

I immediately prevailed upon Mrs. Graff and the children to go back into the cars out of the storm and cold. After reaching the cars I related our hair-breadth escape, and to whom we were indebted for our lives, and begged the men passengers to go forward and see for themselves. They needed no further urging, and a great many of the ladies went also, regardless of the storm. They soon returned, and their pale faces gave full evidence of the frightful death we had escaped. The ladies and gentlemen vied with each other in their thanks and heartfelt gratitude towards Mrs. Graff and her children, and assured her that they would never, never forget her, and before the widow left the train she was presented with a purse of four hundred and sixty dollars, the voluntary offering of a whole train of grateful passengers. She refused the proffered gift for some time, and said she had only done her duty, and the knowledge of having done so was all the reward she asked. However, she finally accepted the money, and said it should go to educate her children.

The railway company built her a new house, gave her and her children a life pass over the road, and ordered all trains to stop and let her get off at home when she wished, but the employes needed no such orders, they can appreciate all such kindness—more so than the directors themselves.

The old lady frequently visits my home at H— and she is at all times a welcome visitor at my fireside. Two of the children are attending school at the same place.

Appleton's American Railway Anecdote Book.


In a County Court case at Carlisle, reported in the Carlisle Journal, of October 31st, 1851, the judge (J. K. Knowles, Esq.) is represented to have said:—"You may depend upon it, if I could do anything for you, I would, for I detest all railways. If they get a verdict in this case it will be the first, and I hope it will be the last."


A writer in that valuable miscellany Household Words, remarks:—"About thirteen years ago, a Quaker was walking in a field in Northumberland, when a thought struck him. The man who was walking was named Thomas Edmonson. He had been, though a Friend, not a very successful man in life. He was a man of integrity and honour, as he afterwards abundantly proved, but he had been a bankrupt, and was maintaining himself as a clerk at a small station on the Newcastle and Carlisle line. In the course of his duties in this situation, he found it irksome to have to write on every railway ticket that he delivered. He saw the clumsiness of the method of tearing the bit of paper off the printed sheet as it was wanted, and filling it up with pen and ink. He perceived how much time, trouble, and error might be saved by the process being done in a mechanical way; and it was when he set his foot down on a particular spot on the before mentioned field that the idea struck him how all that he wished might be done by a machine—how tickets might be printed with the names of stations, the class of carriage, the dates of the month, and all of them from end to end of the kingdom, on one uniform system. Most inventors accomplish their great deeds by degrees—one thought suggesting another from time to time; but, when Thomas Edmonson showed his family the spot in the field where his invention occurred to him, he used to say that it came to his mind complete, in its whole scope and all its details. Out of it has grown the mighty institution of the Railway Clearing House; and with it the grand organization by which the Railways of the United Kingdom act, in regard to the convenience of individuals, as a unity. We may see at a glance the difference to every one of us of the present organized system—by which we can take our tickets from almost any place to another, and get into a carriage on almost any of our great lines, to be conveyed without further care to the opposite end of the kingdom—and the unorganized condition of affairs from which Mr. Edmonson rescued us, whereby we should have been compelled to shift ourselves and our luggage from time to time, buying new tickets, waiting while they were filled up, waiting at almost every point of the journey, and having to do it with divers companies who had nothing to do with each other but to find fault and be jealous.

"On Mr. Edmonson's machines may be seen the name of Blaycock; Blaycock was a watchmaker, and an acquaintance of Edmonson's, and a man whom he knew to be capable of working out his idea. He told him what he wanted; and Blaycock understood him, and realized his thought. The third machine that they made was nearly as good as those now in use. The one we saw had scarcely wanted five shillings worth of repairs in five years; and, when it needs more, it will be from sheer wearing away of the brass-work, by constant hard friction. The Manchester and Leeds Railway Company were the first to avail themselves of Mr. Edmonson's invention; and they secured his services at their station at Oldham Road, for a time. He took out a patent; and his invention became so widely known and appreciated, that he soon withdrew himself from all other engagements, to perfect its details and provide tickets to meet the daily growing demand. He let out his patent on profitable terms—ten shillings per mile per annum; that is, a railway of thirty miles long paid him fifteen pounds a year for a license to print its own tickets by his apparatus; and a railway of sixty miles long paid him thirty pounds, and so on. As his profits began to come in, he began to spend them; and it is not the least interesting part of his history to see how. It has been told that he was a bankrupt early in life. The very first use he made of his money was to pay every shilling that he ever owed. Ho was forty-six when he took that walk in the field in Northumberland. He was fifty-eight when he died, on the twenty-second of June last year."


Four young cavalry officers, travelling by rail, from Boulogne to Paris, were joined at Amiens by a quiet, elderly gentleman, who shortly requested that a little of one window might be opened—a not unreasonable demand, as both were shut, and all four gentlemen were smoking. But it was refused, and again refused on being preferred a second time, very civilly; whereupon the elderly gentleman put his umbrella through the glass. "Shall we stand the impertinence of this bourgeois?" said the officers to one another. "Never." And they thrust four cards into his hand, which he received methodically, and looked carefully at all four; producing his own, one of which he tendered to each officer with a bow. Imagine their feelings when they read on each—"Marshal Randon, Ministre de Guerre."


The engineer of a train near Montreal saw a large dog on the track. He was barking furiously. The engineer blew the whistle at him, but he did not stir, and crouching low, he was struck by the locomotive and killed. There was a bit of white muslin on the locomotive, and it attracted the attention of the engineer, who stopped the train and went back. There lay the dead dog, and a dead child, which had wandered upon the track and gone to sleep. The dog had given his signal to stop the train, and had died at his post.


A writer in All the Year Round, observes:—"A dreadful accident down in 'Illonoy,' had particularly struck me as a warning; for there, while the shattered bodies were still being drawn from under the piles of shivered carriages, the driver on being expostulated with, had replied:

'I suppose this ain't the first railway accident by long chalks!'

Upon which the indignant passengers were with difficulty prevented from lynching the wretch; but he fled into the woods, and there for a time escaped pursuit.

But, two other railway journeys pressed more peculiarly on my mind; one was that of eight or ten weeks ago, from Canandaigua to Antrim. It was there a gentleman from Baltimore, fresh from Chicago, told me of a railway accident he had himself been witness to, only two days before I met him. The 2.40 (night) train from Toledo to Chicago, in which he rode, was upset near Pocahontas by two logs that had evidently been wilfully laid across the rails. On inquiry at the next station, it was discovered that a farmer who had had, a week before, two stray calves killed near the same place, had been heard at a liquor store to say he would 'pay them out for his calves.' This was enough for the excited passengers, vexed at the detention, and enraged at the malice that had exposed them to danger and death. A posse of them instantly sallied out, beleaguered the farmer's house, seized him after some resistance, put a rope round his neck, dragged him to the nearest tree, and would have then and there lynched him, had not two or three of the passengers rescued him, revolver in hand, and given him up to the nearest magistrate."


The following notice, for the benefit of English travellers, was exhibited some years ago in the carriage of a Dutch railway:—"You are requested not to put no heads nor arms out of te windows."


But one of the most difficult things in the world is the levity with which people talk about "obtaining information." As if information were as easy to pick up as stones! "It ain't so hard to nuss the sick," said a hired nurse, "as some people might think; the most of 'em doesn't want nothing, and them as does doesn't get it." Parodying this, one might say, it is much harder to "obtain information" than some people think; the most don't know anything, and those who do don't say what they know. Here is a real episode from the history of an inquiry, which took place four or five years ago, into the desirability of making a new line of railway on the Border. A witness was giving what is called "traffic evidence," in justification of the alleged need of the railway, and this is what occurred:—

Mr. Brown (the cross-examining counsel for the opponents of the new line)—Do you mean to tell the committee that you ever saw an inhabited house in that valley?

Witness—Yes I do.

Mr. Brown—Did you ever see a vehicle there in your life?

Witness—Yes, I did.

Mr. Brown—Very good.

Some other questions were put, which led to nothing particular: but, just as the witness—a Scotchman—was leaving the box, the learned gentleman put one more question:—

Q.—I am instructed to ask you, if the vehicle you saw was not the hearse of the last inhabitant?

Answer—It was.

Cornhill Magazine.


In Prussian Poland the goods and cattle trains are prohibited from carrying passengers under any conditions, and, however urgent their necessities, the only exception allowed being the herd-keepers in charge of cattle. So strictly is this regulation enforced that even medical men are not allowed to go by them when called for on an emergency, and where life and death may be the result of their quick transit. This is generally considered a great hardship, the more so as there are only two passenger trains daily on the above railroads. But the inventive genius of a small German innkeeper at Lissa has hit upon a clever plan of circumventing the government regulations in a perfectly legitimate manner. He keeps a goat, which he hires out to persons wanting to proceed in a hurry by a cattle train, at the rate of 6d. per station, the passenger then applying for a ticket as the person in charge of the goat, which he obtains without any difficulty. In this manner a well-known nobleman, residing at Lissa, is frequently seen travelling by the cattle train to Posen, in the passenger's carriage, and the goat is so tame that a very slender silk ribbon suffices to keep it from straying.


During the Russian War, in 1854, when the whole country was horror-struck with the report of the sufferings endured by our brave soldiers in the Crimea, Mr. Peto, in the most noble and disinterested manner, and at the cost of his seat in the House of Commons for Norwich—which city he had represented for several years—constructed for the Government a line of railway from Balaclava to the English camp before Sebastopol, which at the end of the war, with its various branches, was 37 English miles in length and had 10 locomotives on it. In recognition of this patriotic service the honour of a baronetcy was, in the following year, conferred upon him by Her Majesty.

Old Jonathan.


The following interesting extract from a communication to the Times, by Sir Morton Peto, Bart., respecting the construction of the railway from Balaclava to the British camp is worthy of preservation. Sir Morton remarks:—"It was in the midst of the dreary winter of 1854, when the British army was suffering unparalleled hardships before Sebastopol, that it was resolved to construct a railway from Balaclava to the British camp. Let honour be given where honour is due.—The idea emanated from the Duke of Newcastle. His Grace applied to our firm to assist in carrying out the design. The sympathies of all England were excited at the time by the sufferings of our troops. Every one was emulous to contribute all that could be contributed to their succour and support. The firm of which I am a partner was anxious to take its share in the good work, and, on the Duke of Newcastle's application, we cheerfully undertook to make all the arrangements for carrying his Grace's views into execution, on the understanding that the work should be considered National; and that we should be permitted to execute it without any charge for profit.

We accordingly placed at the disposal of Her Majesty's Government the whole of our resources. We fitted out transports with the stores necessary for the construction of the railway; employed and equipped hundreds of men to execute the works; provided a commissariat exclusively for their use; engaged medical officers to attend to their health, and placed the whole service under the direction of the most experienced agents on our staff. These important preliminaries were arranged so effectually, and with so much despatch, that the Emperor of the French sent an agent to this country to instruct himself as to the mode in which we equipped the expedition.

Every item shipped by us for the works was valued before shipment at its selling price; and for all these items of valuation, as well as for the payments which we made for labour, we received the certificate of the most eminent engineer of the day (the late lamented Mr. Robert Stephenson). We undertook the execution of the Balaclava Railway as a 'National' work, agreeing to execute it without profit. We performed our contract to the letter. We never profited by it to the extent of a single shilling.

The works (nearly seven miles of railway) were executed in less than a month; an incredibly short space of time, considering the season of the year, the severity of the climate, and the difficulties to which, considering the distance from home, we were all of us exposed. It is a matter of history that they eventuated in the taking of the great fortress of Sebastopol. Before the railway was made, all the shot, all the shell, and all the ammunition necessary for the siege, had to be carried from Balaclava to the camp, a distance of five miles up hill, through mud and sludge, upon the backs of the soldiers. An immense proportion of our troops was told off for this most laborious service; of whom no less than 25 per cent per month perished in its execution. On the day the railway was opened, it carried to the camp of the British army, in 24 hours, more shot and shell than had been brought from Balaclava for six weeks previously.

To our principal agent in the Crimea, the late Mr. Beattie, the greatest credit was due for the way in which the arrangements were made, and the work executed on that side. Mr. Beattie's labours were so arduous, and his efforts so untiring, that he died of fatigue within six weeks after the completion of the work—a victim, absolutely, to his unparalleled exertions. The only favour in connection with these works which the Duke of Newcastle ever granted at our request, he granted to the family of this lamented gentleman. Mr. Beattie left a widow and four children to deplore his loss, and through the favour of the Duke of Newcastle, the widow, who now resides with her father, an estimable clergyman in the North of Ireland, enjoys a pension as the widow of a colonel falling in the field."


At the Eastern Counties meeting (1854) the solicitor cut short a clause about passengers, animals, and cattle, by reading it "passengers and other cattle." We do not recollect passengers having been classed with cattle before. Perhaps the learned gentleman's eyesight was defective, or the print was not very clear.


Robert Routledge, in his article upon railways, remarks:—"It may easily be seen on looking at a line of rails that they are not laid with the ends quite touching each other, or, at least, they are not usually in contact. The reason of this is that space must be allowed for the expansion which takes place when a rise in the temperature occurs. The neglect of this precaution has sometimes led to damage and accidents. A certain railway was opened in June, and, after an excursion train had in the morning passed over it, the midday heat so expanded the iron that the rails became, in some places, elevated to two feet above the level, and the sleepers were torn up; so that in order to admit the return of the train, the rails had to be fully relaid in a kind of zigzag. In June, 1856, a train was thrown off the metals of the North-Eastern Railway, in consequence of the rails rising up through expansion."


An American railway employe asked for a pass down to visit his family. "You are in the employ of the railway?" asked the gentleman applied to. "Yes." "You receive your pay regularly?" "Yes." "Well, now, suppose you were working for a farmer, instead of a railway, would you expect your employer to hitch up his team every Saturday night and carry you home?" This seemed a poser, but it wasn't. "No," said the man promptly, "I wouldn't expect that; but if the farmer had his team hitched up and was going my way, I should call him a contemptible fellow if he would not let me ride." Mr. Employe came out three minutes afterwards with a pass good for three months.


An incident occurred on the Little Miami Railway which outstrips, in point of speed and enterprise, although in a somewhat different field, the lightning express, "fifty-cents-a-mile" special train achievement which attended the delivery of the recent famous "defalcation report" in this city. The facts are about thus: A lady, somewhat past that period of life which the world would term "young"—although she might differ from them—was on her way to this city, for purposes connected with active industry. At a point on the road a traveller took the train, who happened to enter the car in which the young lady occupied a seat. After walking up and down between the seats, the gentleman found no unoccupied seat, except the one-half of that upon which the lady had deposited her precious self and crinoline—the latter very modestly expansive. Making a virtue of necessity—a "stand-ee" berth or a little self-assurance—he modestly inquired if the lady had a fellow-traveller, and took a seat.

As the train flew along with express speed, the strangers entered into a cosy conversation, and mutual explanations. The gentleman was pleased, and the lady certainly did not pout. After other subjects had been discussed, and worn thread-bare, the lady made inquiries as to the price of a sewing machine, and where such an article could be purchased in this city. The gentleman ventured the opinion that she had "better secure a husband first." This opened the way for another branch of conversation, and the broken field was industriously cultivated.

By the time the train arrived at the depot in this city, the gentleman had proposed and been accepted (although the lady afterwards declared she regarded it all as a good joke). The party separated; the gentleman, all in good earnest, started for a license, and the lady made her way to a boarding-house on Broadway, above Third, for dinner. At two o'clock the gentleman returned with a license and a Justice, to the great astonishment of the fair one, and after a few tears and half-remonstrative expressions, she submitted with becoming modesty, and the Squire performed the little ceremony in a twinkling. If this is not a fast country, a search-warrant would hardly succeed in finding one.

Cincinnati Commercial.


A London merchant resided a few miles from the City, in an elegant mansion, to and from which he journeyed daily, and invariably by third class. It happened that one of the clerks in his employ lived in a cottage accessible by the same line of railway, but he always travelled first class; the same train thus presenting the anomaly of the master being in that place which one would naturally assign to the man, and the man appearing to usurp the position of the master. One day these two alighted at the terminus in full view of each other. "Well," said Mr. B—, in that tone of banter which a superior so frequently thinks it becoming to adopt, "I don't know how you manage to ride first-class, when in these hard times I find third-class fare as much as I can afford." "Sir," replied the clerk, "you, who are known to be a person of wealth and position, may adopt the most economical mode of travelling at no more risk than being thought eccentric, and even with the applause of some for your manifest absence of pride. But, as for myself, I cannot afford to indulge in such irregularities. Among the persons I travel with I am reported to be a well-paid employe, and am respected accordingly; to maintain this reputation I am compelled to travel in the same manner as they do, and were I to adopt an inferior mode, it would be attributed to some serious falling off of income; a circumstance which would occasion me not only loss of consideration among my quondam fellow-travellers, but one which, upon coming to the ears of my butcher, baker, and grocer, might seriously injure my credit with those highly respectable, but certainly worldly minded tradesmen." Mr. B— was not slow in recognizing the full force of the argument, more particularly as the question of his own liberality was involved, nor did he hesitate to give it a practical application by immediately increasing the salary of his clerk; not only to the amount of a first-class season ticket, but something over.

The Railway Traveller's Handy Book.


Some years ago an old gentleman of very eccentric habits, Mr. John Younghusband, of Abbey Holme, Cumberland, died, and his will has proved to be of the most eccentric character. The Silloth Railway runs through part of his property, an arrangement to which he was most passionately averse; and though years have elapsed since then, his bitterness was in no way assuaged. In his will he leaves near 1000 pounds to a solicitor who opposed the making of the railway; the rest of his money he bequeaths to a comparative stranger upon these conditions—that the legatee never speaks to one of the directors of the railway, that he never travels upon it, that he never sends cattle or other traffic by it; and should he violate any of these conditions, the estate reverts to the ordinary succession. To Mr. John Irving and the other directors of the Silloth line Mr. Younghusband has sarcastically bequeathed a farthing.


In the Annual Register for 1856, November 14th, we read, "Another fraud connected with the transfer of shares and stock, but on a far grander scale, and by a much more pretentious criminal, has been discovered.

"Of late some strange discrepancies had been observed in the accounts of the Great-Northern Railway Company, and in particular that the amount paid for dividends considerably exceeded the rateable proportion to the capital stock. An investigation was directed. The registrar of shares, Mr. Leopold Redpath, expressed a decided opinion that the investigation into his department would be useless, and, on its being pressed, absconded. The investigation developed a long-continued system of frauds of vast amount, to the amount, it was said, of nearly 250,000 pounds.

"Mr. Leopold Redpath passed in society as a gentleman of ample means, great taste, and possessed of the Christian virtue of charity in no common degree. He had a house in Chester Terrace, handsomely furnished, and a "place" at Weybridge complete with every luxury that wealth could procure; gave good dinners with excellent wines; kept good horses and neat carriages. He was a governor of Christ's Hospital, the St. Ann's Schools, and subscribed freely to the most useful charities of London. His appointment on the Great-Northern was worth 300 pounds per annum; but it was supposed that this was only of consequence to Mr. Redpath as affording him a regular occupation and an opportunity of operating in the share-market, in which he was known to have extensive dealings. The directors of the railway appear to have been perfectly aware that their servant was living far beyond his salary, but they considered him to be a very successful speculator. Upon this splendid bubble being blown up, Redpath fled to Paris; but, finding that the French authorities were not inclined to protect him, he returned to London and surrendered himself.

"The mode in which this gigantic swindler had committed his frauds is simple enough. Having charge of the books in which the stock of the company is registered, he altered the sum standing in the name of some bona fide stockholder to a much larger sum, generally by placing a figure before it, by which simple means 500 became 1,500, or 2,500 pounds, or any larger number of thousands. The surplus stock thus created Redpath sold in the stock-market, forging the name of the supposed transferer, transferring the sum to the account of the supposed transferee in the register, and either attesting it himself, or causing it to be attested by a young man, his protege and tool, but who appears to have been free from guilty cognizance. In some instances the fraud was but the more direct course of making a fictitious entry of stock, and then selling it. By these processes the number of shareholders and the amount of stock on the company's register became greatly magnified, while, as the bona fide holders of stock remained credited with their proper investments, there was no occasion for suspicion on their part. How Redpath dealt with subsequent transfers of the fictitious stock does not appear. The prisoner was subjected to repeated examination before the police magistrates, when this prodigious falsification was thoroughly sifted, and the prisoner was finally committed for trial at the Central Criminal Court in the following year. It is said that the value of the leases, furniture, and articles of taste in Redpath's house in Chester Terrace is estimated at 30,000 pounds, and at Weybridge at a still larger sum. It is also said that Redpath and Robson, whose forged transfer of Crystal Palace shares has been recorded in this chronicle, were formerly fellow clerks.

"Lionel Redpath was tried, January 16th, 1857, at the Central Criminal Court, and, being found guilty, was sentenced to transportation for life. At the same time a junior clerk in his office, Charles Kent, was also charged as his partner in the crime. It appeared that Kent had acted on many occasions as attesting witness to the forged transfers which Redpath had employed to carry out his ends; but, as no guilty knowledge on the part of the former was shown, he was acquitted.

"The railway company at first attempted to repudiate the forged stock which Redpath had put into circulation, but pressing remonstrances, not unaccompanied by threats, having been made by the Committee of the Stock Exchange, they consented to acknowledge it. Then came the question by whom the loss was to be borne; a question which was not solved until after considerable litigation. The directors asserted that it ought to be paid out of the current income of the year, and so it was ultimately decided. This led to a further question between the guaranteed shareholders and the rest of the company. For the diminution of the year's earnings caused by taking up the fictitious stock being so great as to render it impossible to satisfy the guaranteed dividends out of the residue, it was contended on the part of the holders of those shares that, by the provisions of the deed of settlement, the deficiency ought to be made up out of the next year's profits, so that the guarantee that they should receive their specified dividends was not clogged with the condition in case a sufficient amount of earnings in each year was made to pay them. This dispute led to a Chancery suit, the decree in which was in favour of the holders of the guaranteed shares."


"Now, then, make haste there, will you, an' give up your ticket," exclaimed a railway guard to a bandsman in the Volunteers returning from a review. "Didna I tell ye I've lost it?" "Nonsense, man; feel in your pockets, you cannot hae lost it." "Can I no?" was the drunken reply; "man, that's naething, I've lost the big drum!"


The Annual Register contains the following interesting case. July 25, 1857.—At the Maidstone Assizes an action arising out of a singular and melancholy accident was tried. The action, Shilling v. The Accidental Insurance Company, was brought by Charlotte Shilling, widow and administratrix of Thomas Shilling, to recover from the defendants the sum of 2000 pounds, upon a policy effected by the deceased on the life of her father-in-law, James Shilling. The husband of the plaintiff, Thomas Shilling, carried on the business of a builder at Malling, a short distance from Maidstone. His father, James Shilling, lived with him; he was nearly 80 years old, and very infirm, and his son used to drive him about occasionally in his pony chaise. In the month of March, last year, an application was made to the defendants to effect two policies for 2000 pounds each upon the lives of Thomas Shilling and James Shilling, and to secure that sum in the event of either of them dying from an accident, and the policies were completed and delivered in the following month of June. On the evening of the 11th of July, 1856, about half-past 7 o'clock, the father and son went from Malling with a pony and chaise, for the purpose of proceeding to a stone quarry at Aylesford, where Thomas Shilling had business to transact, and they never returned home again alive. There where two roads by which they could have got to the quarry from Malling, one of which was rather a dangerous one to be taken with a vehicle and horse, on account of a steep bank leading to the river Medway being on one side and the railway passing close to the other; but this route, it appears, was much shorter than the other, which was nearly two miles round, and it was consequently constantly used both by pedestrians and carriages. About 8 o'clock the pony and chaise and the father and son were seen on this road, and upon arriving at the gate leading to the quarry, Thomas Shilling got out, leaving the pony and chaise in charge of his father. Mr. Garnham, the owner of the quarry, was not at home, and while one of the labourers was conversing with Thomas Shilling, the sound of an approaching train was heard, and the men advised him to go back to his pony, for fear it should take fright at the train, and he said he would do so, as it had been frightened by a train on a previous occasion. He accordingly went towards the gate where he had left the pony and chaise, and from that time there was no evidence to show what took place. The family sat up the whole night awaiting the return of their relatives in the utmost possible alarm at their absence; but nothing was heard of them until the following morning, when a bargeman found the drowned pony and the chaise and the dead bodies of the father and son floating in the Medway, near the spot where the chaise had been last seen on the previous evening. They were taken home, and a coroner's inquest was held, and the only conclusion that could be arrived at was that the pony had taken fright at the noise of the train, which appeared to have passed about the time, and that he had jumped into the river, which at this spot was from 12 to 14 feet deep.

The policy on the life of the father had been assigned to the son, whose widow claimed the two sums insured from the defendants. That payable on the death of the son they paid: but they refused to pay that due on the father's policy, and pleaded to the action several pleas, alleging certain violations of the conditions; and singularly enough, considering that they had not disputed the son's policy on the same ground, they now pleaded that the death was not the result of accident, but arose from wanton and voluntary exposure to unnecessary danger.

The jury found a verdict for the plaintiff.


Au old lady was going from Brookfield to Stamford, and took a seat in the train for the first and last time in her life. During the ride the train was thrown down an embankment. Crawling from beneath the debris unhurt, she spied a man sitting down, but with his legs laid down by some heavy timber. "Is this Stamford?" she anxiously inquired. "No, madam," was the reply, "this is a catastrophe." "Oh!" she cried, "then I hadn't oughter got off here."


Baltimore has had what it calls a romantic wedding at Camden Station. A few moments before the departure of the outbound Washington train, a gentleman accompanied by a lady and another gentleman, whose clerical appearance indicated his profession, alighted from a carriage and entered the depot. Upon the locks of the leader of the party the snows of fifty winters had evidently fallen, while the lady had apparently reached that age when she is supposed to have lain aside her matrimonial cap. Quietly approaching the officer on duty within the station, they asked for a room where a marriage ceremony might be privately performed. The request was readily granted, and under the leadership of the obliging officer, the party was conducted to the despatch room, a small lobby in the eastern part of the building, where in a few minutes the twain were made man and wife. With pleasant smiles, and a would-be-congratulated look upon their countenances, they mingled with the crowd in waiting; and when the gates were thrown open, arm in arm they boarded the train, their fellow-passengers all the while ignorant of the interesting ceremony.

Illustrated World.


The fascination which engines and their human satellites exercise over some minds is very great; and while speaking on the subject, I am reminded of a young man who haunted for years one of our chief termini: he was the son of a leading west end confectioner, so that his early training had in no way disposed him to an engineering life; but he was the most remarkable accumulation of statistics in connection therewith I over knew. The line employed several hundreds of engines, and he not only knew the names of all of them, but when they were made, and who had made them; when each one had last been supplied with a new set of tubes at the factory—this last, of course only referred to the engines employed on the main line, which he had an opportunity of seeing, and would miss when they were laid up for repair—and how this had had the pressure on its safety-valve increased, and this had been diminished. He had such a retentive memory for these and kindred facts, that I have seen the foreman of the works appeal to him for information, which was never lacking. His penchant was so well known that he had special permission for access to the works.

Chambers's Journal.


Mr. Galt remarks:—"In the summer of 1857 the London and North-Western and Great Northern railways contended with each other for the passenger traffic from London to Manchester. First-class and second-class passengers were conveyed at fares, there and back, of seven and sixpence and five shillings respectively, the distance being 400 miles, and four clear days were allowed in Manchester. As might have been expected, trains were well filled, and, but for the fact that the other traffic was much interfered with, the fares would, it is said, have been remunerative. As it was, it is said the shareholders lost 1 per cent. dividend.

"Another memorable contest was carried on about the year 1853 between the Caledonian and the Edinburgh and Glasgow Companies. The latter suddenly reduced the fares between Edinburgh and Glasgow for the three classes from eight shillings, six shillings, and four shillings, to one shilling, ninepence, and sixpence. The contest was continued for a-year-and-a-half, and cost the Edinburgh and Glasgow Company nearly 1 per cent. in their dividends."


The following impudent hoax, contained in a letter which appeared in the Times in 1860, was most annoying to the officials of the Great Northern Company. It is headed:—

"Accident on the Great Northern Railway. "To the Editor of the Times.

"Sir,—I beg to inform you of a serious accident, attended by severe injury, if not loss of life, which occured to-day to the 8 o'clock a.m. train from Wakefield, on the Great Northern railway, near Doncaster, by which I was a passenger. As the train approached Doncaster, about 9 o'clock, the passengers were suddenly alarmed by the vehement oscillation of the carriages. In a few seconds the engine had run off the line, dragging the greater part of the train with it across the opposite line of rails. By this time the concussion had become so vehement that the grappling chains connecting the engine, tender, and first carriage with the rest of the train providentially snapped. This circumstance saved the lives of many. But the engine, tender, and first carriage were hurled over the embankment, all three being together overturned, and the latter (a second-class one) nearly crushed. The stoker was severely injured on the head, and his recovery is more than doubtful; the engine driver contrived to leap off in time to save himself with a few bruises. The shrieks of the passengers in the overturned carriage (three women and five men) were fearful; and for some time their extrication was impossible. One middle-aged woman had her thigh broken, another her arm fractured. One old man had one, if not two of his ribs broken. The passengers in the other carriages, in one of which I was travelling, were less seriously injured, though sufficiently so to talk about compensation, instead of assisting in earnest those with broken limbs. The line of rails was torn up for a considerable distance. Owing to the telegraph being out of gear, some delay in communicating with Doncaster was experienced. A surgeon and various hands at length arrived with a special train for the injured passengers, who, after long delay, were removed to Doncaster. I, of course, as a medical man, rendered what assistance I could. Those worst injured were conveyed to the Railway Arms, the recovery of more than one being doubted by myself. At length a fresh train started from Doncaster, and we reached London nearly two hours after due.

The carelessness of the Company will, I hope, be the subject of your severest animadversion. The accident was caused by the tire of one of the right wheels of the engine having flown off; and it is clear that the engine was not in a condition to ply between the stations of the Great Northern railway.

I have no objection to your use of my name if you think fit to publish it.

Your obedient servant, Thomas Waddington, M.D., of Wakefield. Morley's Hotel, Charing Cross, March 26.

To the above letter the following reply was sent to the Times.

"Alleged Accident on the Great Northern. "To the Editor of the Times.

"Sir,—The Directors of the Great Northern railway will feel much obliged by the insertion of the following statement in the Times to-morrow relative to a letter which appeared therein to-day, signed 'Thomas Waddington, M.D., of Wakefield,' and headed, 'Accident on the Great Northern railway.'

There was no accident whatever yesterday on the Great Northern railway.

The trains all reached King's Cross with punctuality, the most irregular in the whole day being only five minutes late. No such person as Thomas Waddington is known at Morley's Hotel, whence the letter in question is dated.

I am, Sir, yours faithfully, Seymour Clark, General Manager, King's Cross, March 27.

In the Times on the day following appeared a letter from the real Dr. Waddington, of Wakefield, (Edward not "Thomas") confirmatory of the impudence of the hoax.

"The alleged Accident on the Great Northern railway. "To the Editor of the Times.

"Sir,—My attention has been called to a letter in the Times of yesterday (signed 'Thomas Waddington, M.D., of Wakefield') the signature of which is as gross and impudent a fabrication as the circumstances which the writer professes to detail. I need only say there is no 'M.D.' here named Waddington but myself, and that I was not on the Great Northern or any other Railway on the 26th inst, when the accident is alleged to have occured.

Having obtained possession of the original letter, I have handed it to my solicitors, in the hope that they may be enabled to discover and bring to justice the perpetrator of this very stupid hoax.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant, Edward Waddington, M.D.

Wakefield, March 28.


Two costers were looking at a railway time-table.

"Say, Jem," said one of them, "vot's P.M. mean?"

"Vy, penny a mile, to be sure."

"Vell, vot's A.M.?"

"A'penny a mile, to be sure."


In October, 1857, Mr. Tindal Atkinson applied to Mr. Hammill, at Worship Street Police Court, to obtain a summons under the following strange circumstances:—

"Mr. Atkinson stated that he was instructed on behalf of the Directors of the Eastern Counties Railway Company to apply to the magistrate under the terms of their Act of Incorporation, for a summons against Mr. Henry Hunt, of Waltham-Cross, Essex, for having unlawfully used and worked a certain locomotive upon a portion of their line, without having previously obtained the permission or approval of the engineers or agents of the company, whereby he had rendered himself liable to a penalty of 20 pounds. He should confine himself to that by stating that in the dark, on the night of Thursday, the 1st instant, a locomotive engine belonging to Mr. Hunt was suddenly discovered by some of the company's servants to be running along the rails in close proximity to one of the regular passenger trains on the North Woolwich line. So great was the danger of a collision, that they were obliged to instantly stop the train till the stranger engine could get out of the way, to the great terror of the passengers by the train, and as he was instructed it was almost the result of a merciful interposition of Providence that a collision had not occurred between them, in which event it would probably have terminated fatally, to a greater or lesser extent. He now desired that summonses might be granted not only against the owner of the engine so used, but also against the driver and stoker of it, both of whom, it was obvious, must have been well aware of their committing an unlawful act, and of the perilous nature of the service in which they were engaged when they were running an engine at such a time and place.

"Mr. Hammill said it certainly was a most extraordinary proceeding for anyone to adopt, and after the learned gentleman's statement he had no hesitation whatever in granting summonses against the whole of the persons engaged in it."


A gentleman travelling in a railway carriage was endeavouring, with considerable earnestness, to impress some argument upon a fellow-traveller who was seated opposite to him, and who appeared rather dull of apprehension. At length, being slightly irritated, he exclaimed in a louder tone, "Why, sir, it's as plain as A.B.C." "That may be," quietly replied the other, "but I am D.E.F."


The contrast which exists between the character of the French and English navvy may be briefly exemplified by the following trifling anecdote:—

"In excavating a portion of the first tunnel east of Rouen towards Paris, a French miner dressed in his blouse, and an English "navvy" in his white smock jacket, were suddenly buried alive together by the falling in of the earth behind them. Notwithstanding the violent commotion which the intelligence of the accident excited above ground, Mr. Meek, the English engineer who was constructing the work, after having quietly measured the distance from the shaft to the sunken ground, satisfied himself that if the men, at the moment of the accident, were at the head of "the drift" at which they were working, they would be safe.

Accordingly, getting together as many French and English labourers as he could collect, he instantly commenced sinking a shaft, which was accomplished to the depth of 50 feet in the extraordinary short space of eleven hours, and the men were thus brought up to the surface alive.

The Frenchman, on reaching the top, suddenly rushing forward, hugged and saluted on both cheeks his friends and acquaintances, many of whom had assembled, and then, almost instantly overpowered by conflicting feelings—by the recollection of the endless time he had been imprisoned and by the joy of his release—he sat down on a log of timber, and, putting both his hands before his face, he began to cry aloud most bitterly.

The English "navvy" sat himself down on the very same piece of timber—took his pit-cap off his head—slowly wiped with it the perspiration from his hair and face—and then, looking for some seconds into the hole or shaft close beside him through which he had been lifted, as if he were calculating the number of cubic yards that had been excavated, he quite coolly, in broad Lancashire dialect, said to the crowd of French and English who were staring at him, as children and nursery-maids in our London Zoological Gardens stand gazing half-terrified at the white bear, "YAW'VE BEAN A DARMNATION SHORT TOIME ABAAOWT IT!"

Sir F. Head's Stokers and Pokers.


The most remarkable railway accident on record happened some years ago on the North-Western road between London and Liverpool. A gentleman and his wife were travelling in a compartment alone, when—the train going at the rate of forty miles an hour—an iron rail projecting from a car on a side-track cut into the carriage and took the head of the lady clear off, and rolled it into the husband's lap. He subsequently sued the company for damages, and created great surprise in court by giving his age at thirty-six years, although his hair was snow white. It had been turned from jet black by the horror of that event.


"Beau" Caldwell was a sporting genius of an extremely versatile character. Like all his fraternity, he was possessed of a pliancy of adaptation to circumstances that enabled him to succumb with true philosophy to misfortunes, and also to grace the more exalted sphere of prosperity with that natural ease attributed to gentlemen with bloated bank accounts.

Fertile in ingenuity and resources, Beau was rarely at his wit's end for that nest egg of the gambler, a stake. His providence, when in luck, was such as to keep him continually on the qui vive for a nucleus to build upon.

Beau, having exhausted the pockets and liberality of his contemporaries in Charleston, S.C., was constrained to "pitch his tent" in fresh pastures. He therefore selected Abbeville, whither he was immediately expedited by the agency of a "free pass."

Snugly ensconced in his hotel, Beau ruminated over the means to raise the "plate." The bar-keeper was assailed, but he was discovered to have scruples (anomalous barkeeper!) The landlord was a "grum wretch," with no soul for speculation. The cornered "sport" was finally reduced to the alternative of "confidence of operation." Having arranged his scheme, he rented him a precious negro boy, and borrowed an old theodolite. Thus equipped, Beau betook himself to the abode of a neighbouring planter, notorious for his wealth, obstinacy, and ignorance. Operations were commenced by sending the nigger into the planter's barn-yard with a flagpole. Beau got himself up into a charming tableau, directly in front of the house. He now roared at the top of his voice, "72,000,000—51—8—11."

After which he went to driving small stakes, in a very promiscuous manner, about the premises.

The planter hearing the shouting, and curious to ascertain the cause, put his head out of the window.

"Now," said Beau, again assuming his civil engineering pose, "go to the right a little further—there, that'll do. 47,000—92—5."

"What the d—-l are you doing in my barn-yard?" roared the planter.

Beau would not consent to answer this interrogation, but pursuing his business, hallooed out to his "nigger"—

"Now go to the house, place your pole against the kitchen door, higher—stop at that. 86—45—6."

"I say there," again vociferated the planter, "get out of my yard."

"I'm afraid we will have to go right through the house," soliloquized Beau.

"I'm d—d if you do," exclaimed the planter.

Beau now looked up for the first time, accosting the planter with a courteous—

"Good day, sir."

"Good d—-l, sir; you are committing a trespass."

"My dear friend," replied Beau, "public duty, imperative—no trespass—surveying railroad—State job—your house in the way. Must take off one corner, sir,—the kitchen part—least value—leave the parlour—delightful room to see the cars rush by twelve times a day—make you accessible to market."

Beau, turning to the nigger, cried out—

"Put the pole against the kitchen door again—so, 85."

"I say, stranger," interrupted the planter, "I guess you ain't dined. As dinner's up, suppose you come in, and we'll talk the matter over."

Beau, delighted with the proposition, immediately acceded, not having tasted cooked provisions that day.

"Now," said the planter, while Beau was paying marked attention to a young turkey, "it's mighty inconvenient to have one's homestead smashed up, without so much as asking the liberty. And more than that, if there's law to be had, it shan't be did either."

"Pooh! nonsense, my dear friend," replied Beau, "it's the law that says the railroad must be laid through kitchens. Why, we have gone through seventeen kitchens and eight parlours in the last eight miles—people don't like it, but then it's law, and there's no alternative, except the party persuades the surveyor to move a little to the left, and as curves costs money most folks let it go through the kitchen."

"Cost something, eh?" said the planter, eagerly catching at the bait thrown out for him. "Would not mind a trifle. You see I don't oppose the road, but if you'll turn to the left and it won't be much expense, why I'll stand it."

"Let me see," said Beau, counting his fingers, "forty and forty is eighty, and one hundred. Yes, two hundred dollars will do it." Unrolling a large map, intersected with lines running in every direction, he continued—"There is your house, and here's the road. Air line. You see to move to the left we must excavate this hill. As we are desirous of retaining the goodwill of parties residing on the route, I'll agree on the part of the company to secure the alteration, and prevent your house from being molested."

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