Railway Adventures and Anecdotes - extending over more than fifty years
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Cassell's Family Magazine, Nov. 1880.


Surely people are far more nervous now than they used to be some generations back. The mental cultivation and the mental wear which we have to go through tends to make that strange and inexplicable portion of our physical construction a very great deal too sensitive for the work and trial of daily life. A few days ago I drove a friend who had been paying us a visit over to our railway station. He is a man of fifty, a remarkably able and accomplished man. Before the train started, the guard came round to look at the tickets. My friend could not find his; he searched his pockets everywhere, and although the entire evil consequence, had the ticket not turned up, could not possibly have been more than the payment a second time of four or five shillings, he got into a nervous tremor painful to see. He shook from head to foot; his hand trembled so that he could not prosecute his search rightly, and finally he found the missing ticket in a pocket which he had already searched half-a-dozen times. Now contrast the condition of this highly-civilized man, thrown into a painful flurry and confusion at the demand of a railway ticket, with the impassive coolness of a savage, who would not move a muscle if you hacked him in pieces.

Fraser's Magazine.


The shortest and most profitable railway in the world is probably to be seen at Coney Island, the famous suburban summer resort of New York. This is the "Marine Railway," which connects the Manhattan Beach Hotel and the Brighton Beach Hotel. It is 2,000 feet in length, is laid with steel rails, and has a handsome little station at each end. Its equipment consists of two locomotives and four cars, open at the sides, and having reversible seats; and a train of two cars is run each way every five minutes. The cost of this miniature road, including stations and equipment, was 27,000 dols., and it paid for itself in a few weeks after it was opened for business. The operating expenses are 30 dols. a day, and the average receipts are 450 dols. a day the entire season, 900 dols. being sometime taken in. The fare charged is five cents. The property paid a profit last year of 500 dols. per cent on its cost.


Owing to the various dialects in the South of India, as a matter of convenience the English language is much used for personal communication by the natives of different parts of the Presidency of Madras. Mr. Edward Lear, who has travelled much in that part of the country, gives the following interesting account of a journey:—"I was in a second-class railway carriage going from Madras to Bangalore. There was only one other passenger beside myself and servant, and he was a Brahmin, dressed all in white, with the string worn over the shoulder, by which you may always recognise a Brahmin. He had a great many boxes and small articles, which took up a great deal of room in the compartment, and when at the next station the door was opened for another passenger to get in, the guard said:—

"'You cannot have all those boxes inside the carriage; some of them must be taken out.'

"'Oh, sir,' said the Brahmin in good English, 'I assure you these articles are by no means necessary to my comfort, and I hope you will not hesitate to dispose of them as you please.'

"Accordingly, therefore, the boxes were taken away. Then the newcomer stepped in; he was also a native, but dressed in quite a different manner from the Brahmin, his clothing being blue, green, red, and all the colours of the rainbow, so that one saw at once the two persons were from different parts of India. Presently he surprised me by saying to the Brahmin,

"'Pray, sir, excuse me for having given you the trouble of removing any part of your luggage; I am really quite sorry to have given you any inconvenience whatever.'

"To which the Brahmin replied, 'I beg sir, you will make no apologies; it is impossible you can have incommoded me by causing the removal of those trifling articles; and, even if you have done so, the pleasure of your society would afford me perfect compensation.'"


Mr. Spencer Walpole furnishes some interesting and amusing gossip about the late Mr. Frank Buckland, describing some of his many eccentricities, and telling many stories relative to his peculiar habits. He had, it seems, a great objection to stockings and boots and coats, his favourite attire consisting of nothing else than trousers and a flannel shirt. Boots were his special aversion, and he never lost an opportunity of kicking them off his feet.

"On one occasion," we are told, "travelling alone in a railway carriage, he fell asleep with his feet resting on the window-sill. As usual, he kicked off his boots, and they fell outside the carriage on the line. When he reached his destination the boots could not, of course, be found, and he had to go without them to his hotel. The next morning a platelayer, examining the permanent way, came upon the boots, and reported to the traffic manager that he had found a pair of gentleman's boots, but that he could not find the gentleman. Some one connected with the railway recollected that Mr. Buckland had been seen in the neighbourhood, and, knowing his eccentricities, inferred that the boots must belong to him. They were accordingly sent to the Home Office, and were at once claimed."


An incident has occurred on one of the suburban lines which will certainly be supposed by many to be only ben trovato, but it is a real fact. A lady, who seemed perfectly well before the train entered a tunnel, suddenly alarmed her fellow-passengers during the temporary darkness by exclaiming, "I am poisoned!" On re-emerging into daylight, an awkward explanation ensued. The lady carried with her two bottles, one of methylated spirit, the other of cognac. Wishing, presumably, for a refresher on the sly, she took advantage of the gloom; but she applied the wrong bottle to her lips. Time pressed, and she took a good drain. The consequence was she was nearly poisoned, and had to apply herself honestly and openly to the brandy bottle as a corrective, amidst the ironical condolence of the passengers she had previously alarmed.

Once a Week.


A horse for every mile of road was the allowance made by the best coachmasters on the great routes. On the corresponding portions of the railway system the great companies have put a locomotive engine per mile. If a horse earned a hundred guineas a year, out of which his cost had to be defrayed, he did well. A single locomotive on the Great Northern Railway (and that company has 611 engines for 659 miles of line) was stated by John Robinson, in 1873, to perform the work of 678 horses—work, that is, as measured by resistance overcome; for the horses, whatever their number, could not have reached the speed of fifty miles an hour, at which the engines in questions whirled along a train of sixteen carriages, weighing in all 225 tons. There are now upwards of 13,000 locomotives at work in the United Kingdom, each of them earning on the average, 4,750 pounds per annum. But we have at the same time more horses employed for the conveyance of passengers than we had in 1835. In omnibus and station work—waiting upon the steam horse—there is more demand for horseflesh than was made by our entire coaching system in 1835.


An Irish newspaper is responsible for the following:—"A deaf man named Taff was run down and killed by a passenger train on Wednesday morning. He was injured in a similar way about a year ago."


An interesting glimpse into the inner working of State, and especially Russian, Government railways was afforded in a recent discussion on railway management in Russia, published by the Journal of the German Railroad Union. During this debate it appears that the details were published of the famous contract of the late American Winans with the Government concerning the Nicholas Railroad. By the use of considerable money, Winans succeeded in making a contract, to extend from July 1st, 1866, for eight years, by which the Government was to pay him for oiling cars and small car repairs at an agreed rate per passenger and per ton mile. In addition to this he received a fixed sum of about 15,000 pounds (78,000 dols.) per year for painting and maintaining the interior of the passenger cars; 6,000 pounds for keeping up the shops, and finally 8,000 pounds yearly for renewing what rolling stock might be worn out. The St. Nicholas line was eventually taken over by the Great Russian Company, which in 1872 succeeded in making the Government annul the contract by paying Winans a penalty of 750,000 pounds, which the Great Russian Company paid back with interest within four years. If the contract had been continued it would have cost the company more than one-third of its net earnings, since the saving amounts to nearly 523,000 pounds per annum. Another contract which the Government had made for the same road with a sleeping-car company was settled shortly afterward by the Government taking from the company the few cars it had on hand, and paying 75,000 pounds for them and 10,000 pounds a year for the unexpired seven years of the contract.


The following is one of such stories, illustrative of one phase of Mr. Brassey's character—his strict adherence to his word, under all circumstances.

When the "Sambre and Meuse" was drawing towards completion, Mr. Brassey came along as usual with a staff of agents inspecting the progress of the work. Stopping at Olloy, a small place between Mariembourg and Vireux, near a large blacksmith's shop, the man, a Frenchman or Belgian, came out, and standing up on the bank, with much gesticulation and flourish, proceeded to make Mr. Brassey a grand oration. Anxious to proceed, Mr. Brassey paid him no particular attention, but good naturedly endeavoured to cut the matter short, with "Oui, oui, oui," and at length got away, the Frenchman apparently expressing great delight.

"Well, gentlemen, what are you laughing at, what is the joke?" said he to his staff as they went along.

"Why, sir, do you know what that fellow said, and for what he was asking?"

"No, indeed, I don't; I supposed he was complimenting me in some way, or thanking me for something."

"He was complimenting you, sir, to some tune, and asking, as a souvenir of his happy engagement under the Great Brassey, that you would of your goodness make him a present of the shop, iron, tools, and all belonging!"

"Did he, though! I did not understand that."

"No sir, but you kept on saying, 'Oui, oui, oui,' and the fellow's delighted, as he well may be, they're worth 50 or 60 pounds."

"Oh, but I didn't mean that, I didn't mean that. Well, never mind, if I said it, he must have them."

It must be borne in mind, that at that time, at best, Mr. Brassey knew very little French, and his staff were well aware of the fact."

Sep. 13, 1872.

S. S.


In a leading article in the Birmingham Post, Nov. 12th, 1880, the writer remarks:—"The report of Major Marindin on the collision which took place between two Midland trains, in Leicestershire, about a month ago, has just been published, but it adds nothing to the information given at the time when the accident happened. The case was, as the report says, one of a remarkable, if not unprecedented nature, for the collision arose from a passenger train running backwards instead of forwards nearly half-a-mile, without either driver or stoker noticing that its movement was in the wrong direction. Shortly after the train had passed the village station of Kibworth, where it was not timed to stop, the driver observed a knocking sound on his engine. He pulled up the train in order to ascertain the cause of this, and finding that nothing serious was the matter, proceeded on his journey again, or rather intended to do so, for, by an extraordinary mistake, he turned the screw the wrong way, so as to reverse the action of the engine, and to direct the train back to Kibworth. There, a mineral train was making its way towards Leicester, and as the line was on a sharp incline the result might have been a most destructive collision. It was, however, reduced to one of a comparatively mild description by the promptness and efficiency with which the brakes were applied to both the trains. Had not the mineral train been pulled up, and the passenger train lowered from a speed of twenty to three or four miles an hour, probably the whole of the passengers would have been crushed between the two engines. The passengers, therefore, owed their safety to the excellent brake-power which was at command. The excuse offered by the driver of the passenger train for turning the engine backwards was the shape of the reversing screw, which was of a construction not commonly used on the Midland line, though many of the company's engines were so fitted. The fireman had also his apology for making the same oversight. He said he was at the time stooping down to adjust the injector. Major Marindin, though admitting that the men were experienced, careful, and sober, refuses to accept either of these excuses; but he can supply no better reason himself for the amazing oversight they committed. The only satisfactory part of the report is that in which the working of the brake mechanism is spoken of. The passenger train had the Westinghouse brake fitted to all the carriages, and such was its efficiency that, had it extended to the engine and tender as well, Major Marindin believes the accident would have been entirely prevented."


Among strange mental feats the strangest perhaps yet recorded are the following singular feats of memory for sound, related in the Scientific American. In the city of Rochester, N. Y., resides a boy named Hicks, who, though he has only lately removed from Buffalo to Rochester, has already learned to distinguish three hundred locomotive engines by the sound of their bells. During the day the boy is employed so far from the railway that he seldom hears a passing train; but at night he can hear every train, his house being near the railroad. To give an idea of his wonderful memory for sounds (and his scarcely less wonderful memory for numbers also) take the following cases. Not long ago young Hicks went to Syracuse, and while there, he, hearing an engine coming out of the round-house, remarked to a friend that he know the bell, though he had not heard it for five years: he gave the number of the engine, which proved to be correct. Again, not long since, an old switch-engine, used in the yards at Buffalo, was sent to Rochester for some special purpose. It passed near Hicks' house, and he remarked that the engine was number so and so, and that he had not heard the bell for six years. A boarder in the house ran to the railroad, and found the number given by Hicks was the correct one. To most persons the bells on American locomotives seem all much alike in sound and timbre, though, of course, a good ear will readily distinguish differences, especially between bells which are sounded within a short interval of time. But that anyone should be able in the first place to discriminate between two or three hundred of these bells, and in the second place to retain the recollection of the slight peculiarities characterising each for several years, would seem altogether incredible, had we not other instances—such as Bidder's and Colburn's calculating feats, Morphy's blindfold chess-play, etc.—of the amazing degree in which one brain may surpass all others in some special quality, though perhaps, in other respects, not exceptionally powerful, or even relatively deficient.

Gentleman's Magazine, March 1880.


Max. O'Rell, the French author, in his book John Bull at Home, writes English people are very great on words; lying is unknown. I was travelling by rail one day with an English bishop. There were five in our compartment. On arriving at a station we heard a cry, "Five minutes here!" My lord bishop, with the greatest haste, set to work to spread out travelling-bag, hat-box, rug, papers, &c. A lady appeared at the door, and asked, "Is there room here?" "Madam," replied the bishop, "all the seats are full." When the poor lady had been sent about her business, we called his lordship's attention to the fact that there were only five of us in the carriage, and that, consequently all the seats were not taken. "I did not say that they were," answered my lord; "I said that they were full."


In an advertisement by a railway company of some unclaimed goods, the "l" dropped from the word "lawful," and it reads now, "People to whom these packages are directed are requested to come forward and pay the awful charges on the same."


The American Engineer, as the result of scientific calculations and protracted experience, says the safest seat is in the middle of the last car but one. There are some chances of danger, which are the same everywhere in the train, but others are least at the above-named place.


In White's Warfare of Science there is an account of a worthy French Archbishop who declared that railways were an evidence of the divine displeasure against innkeepers, inasmuch that they would be punished for supplying meat on fast days by seeing travellers carried by them past their doors.


A farmer living near the New York Central lost a cow by a collision with a train on the line; anxious for compensation he waited upon the manager and after stating his case, the manager said, "I understand she was thin and sick." "Makes no difference," replied the farmer. "She was a cow, and I want pay for her." "How much?" asked the manager. "Two hundred dollars!" replied the farmer. "Now look here," said the manager, "how much did the cow weigh?" "About four hundred, I suppose," said the farmer. "And we will say that beef is worth ten cents a pound on the hoof." "It's worth a heap more than that on the cow-catcher!" replied the indignant farmer. "But we'll call it that, what then? That makes forty dollars, shall I give you a cheque for forty dollars?" "I tell you I want two hundred dollars," persisted the farmer. "But how do you make the difference? I'm willing to pay full value, forty dollars. How do you make one hundred and sixty dollars?" "Well, sir," replied the farmer, waxing wroth, "I want this railroad to understand that I'm going to have something special for the goodwill of that cow!"


An agent of an accident insurance company entered a smoking car on a western railroad train a few days ago, and, approaching an exceedingly gruff old man, asked him if he did not want to take out a policy. He was told to get out with his policy, and passed on. A few minutes afterwards an accident occurred to the train, causing a fearful shaking to the cars. The old man jumped up, and seizing a hook at the side of the car to steady himself, called out, "Where is that insurance man?" The question caused a roar of laughter among the passengers, who for the time forgot their dangers.

Harper's Weekly, May 8th, 1880.


Sir Edward Watkin observed at the half-yearly meeting of the South Eastern Railway Company, January, 1881:—"The result of this compensating law under which the slightest neglect makes the company liable, and the only thing to be considered is the amount of damages—the effect of this unjust law is to create a new profession compounded of the worst elements of the present professions—viz., expert doctors, expert attorneys, and expert witnesses. You will get a doctor to swear that a man who has a slight knock on the head to say that he has a diseased spine, and will never be fit for anything again, and never be capable of being a man of business or the father of a family. The result of that is all we can do is to get some other expert to say exactly the contrary. Then you have a class of attorneys who get up this business. We had an accident, I may tell you, at Forrest-hill two years ago. Well, there was a gentleman—an attorney in the train. He went round to all the people in the train and gave them his card; and, having distributed all the cards in his card-case, he went round and expressed extreme regret to the others that he could not give them a card; but he gave them his name as 'So and So,' his place was in 'Such a street,' and the 'No, So and So' in the City. That was touting for business. Now, there is a very admirable body called the "Law Association." Why does not the Law Association take hold of cases of that kind? Well, you saw in the paper the case of Roper v. the South Eastern. Now that was a peculiar thing. Roper declared that from an injury he had received in a slight accident at the Stoney-street signal box, outside Cannon-street he was utterly incapacitated, and that, for I don't know how many weeks and months, he was in bed without ceasing. The doctors, I believe, put pins and needles into him, but he never flinched, and when the case came before the court we found that some of the medical experts declared that it was just within the order of Providence that in twenty years he might get better; but these witnesses thought that the chances were against it, and that he would be a hopeless cripple. So evidence was given as to his income; and the idea was to capitalise it at 8,000 pounds. That man had paid 4d. for his ticket I think—I forget the exact amount. Our counsel, the Attorney-General, went into the thing, with the very able assistance of Mr. Willis, who deserves every possible credit. We also had Mr. Le Gros Clarke, the eminent consulting surgeon of the company, and Dr. Arkwright from the north of England, and they told us that in their opinion it was a swindle. And it was a swindle. The result of it was, the Attorney-General put his foot down upon it, and declared that it was a swindle, and the jury unanimously non-suited Mr. Roper. Well, singularly enough, when I say he had paid 4d., I think it was not absolutely proved that he was in the train at all. But although this was a case in which the jury said there was no case, and where the Judge summed up strongly that it was a fraud, and where the most eminent surgeon said it was an absolute delusion altogether, and where, in point of fact, justice was done entirely to you as regards the verdict, you have 2,300 pounds to pay for costs of one kind or another in defending a case of swindling, because when you try to recover the costs the man becomes bankrupt, and you won't get a farthing; and I do mean to say I have described a state of the law and practice that ought to excite the reprobation of every honest man in England."


An engine-driver on the Pennsylvania Railway yesterday saved the lives of 600 passengers by an extraordinary act of heroism. The furnace door was opened by the fireman to replenish the fire while the train was going at thirty-five miles an hour. The back draught forced the flames out so that the car of the locomotive caught fire, and the engine-driver and the fireman were driven back over the tender into the passenger car, leaving the engine without control. The speed increased, and the volume of flame with it. There was imminent danger that all the carriages would take fire, and the whole be consumed. The passengers were panic-stricken. To jump off was certain death; to remain was to be burned alive. The engine-driver saw that the only way to save the passengers was to return to the engine and stop the train. He plunged into the flames, climbed back over the tender, and reversed the engine. When the train came to a standstill, he was found in the water-tank, whither he had climbed, with his clothes entirely burnt off, his face disfigured, his hands shockingly burned, and his body blistered so badly that the flesh was stripped off in many places. Weak and half-conscious he was taken to the hospital, where his injuries were pronounced serious, with slight chance of recovery. As soon as the train stopped the flames were easily extinguished. The unanimous testimony of the passengers is that the engine-driver saved their lives. His name is Joseph A. Sieg.

Daily News, Oct. 24th, 1882.


As an early morning train drew up at a station, a pleasant looking gentleman stepped out on the platform, and, inhaling the fresh air, enthusiastically observed to the guard, "Isn't this invigorating?" "No, sir, it's Croydon," replied the conscientious employe.


On a Georgia railroad there is a conductor named Snell, a very clever, sociable man, fond of a joke, quick at repartee, and faithful in the discharge of his duties. One day as his train well filled with passengers, was crossing a low bridge over a wide stream, some four or five feet deep, the bridge broke down, precipitating the two passenger cars into the stream. As the passengers emerged from the wreck they were borne away by the force of the current. Snell had succeeded in catching hold of some bushes that grew on the bank of the stream, to which he held for dear life. A passenger less fortunate came rushing by. Snell extended one hand, saying, "Your ticket, sir; give me your ticket!" The effect of such a dry joke in the midst of the water may be imagined.

Harper's Magazine.


Dean Ramsay in his Reminiscences remarks:—"Some curious stories are told of ladies of this class, as connected with the novelties and excitement of railway travelling. Missing their luggage, or finding that something has gone wrong about it, often causing very terrible distress, and might be amusing, were it not to the sufferer so severe a calamity. I was much entertained with the earnestness of this feeling, and the expression of it from an old Scottish lady, whose box was not forthcoming at the station where she was to stop. When urged to be patient, her indignant exclamation was, "I can bear ony pairtings that may be ca'ed for in God's providence; but I canna stan' pairtin' frae ma claes."


A gentleman was travelling by rail from Breslau to Oppeln and found himself alone with a lady in a second-class compartment. He vainly endeavoured to enter into conversation with the other occupant of the carriage; her answers were invariably curt and snappish. Baffled in his attempts, he proceeded to light a cigar to while away the time. Then the lady said to him: "I suppose you have never travelled second-class before, else you would know better manners." Her travelling companion quietly rejoined: "It is true, I have hitherto only studied the manners of the first and third-classes. In the first-class the passengers are rude to the porters, in the third-class the porters are rude to the passengers. I now discover that in the second-class the passengers are rude to each other."


Kate Shelley, to whom the Iowa Legislature has just given a gold medal and $200, is fifteen years old. She lives near Des Moines, at a point where a railroad crosses a gorge at a great height. One night during a furious storm the bridge was carried away. The first the Shelleys knew of it was when they saw the headlight of a locomotive flash down into the chasm. Kate climbed to the remains of the bridge with great difficulty, using an improvised lantern. The engineer's voice answered her calls, but she could do nothing for him, and he was drowned. As an express train was almost due, she then started for the nearest station, a mile distant. A long, high bridge over the Des Moines River had to be crossed on the ties—a perilous thing in stormy darkness. Kate's light was blown out, and the wind was so violent that she could not stand, so she crawled across the bridge, from timber to timber, on her hands and knees. She got to the station exhausted, but in time to give the warning, though she fainted immediately.

Detroit Free Press, May 13th, 1882.


The Merv correspondent of the Daily News in a letter dated the 30th of April, 1881, remarks, "I was very much amused by the description given me by some Tekkes of the Serdar's departure for Russia. It seems that my informants accompanied him up to the point where the trans-Caspian railway is in working order. 'They shut Tockme Serdar and two others in a large box (sanduk) and locked him in, and then dragged him away across the Sahara. And,' added the speakers, 'Allah only knows what will happen to them inside that box.' The box, I need hardly say, was a railway carriage."


A man commonly known as "Billy" Cooper, of the town of Van Etten, was walking on the railroad track at a point not far distant from his home. In crossing the railroad bridge he made a miss-step, and, slipping, fell between the ties, but his position was so cramped that he was unable to get out of the way of danger. There, suspended in that awful manner, with the body dangling below the bridge, he heard a train thundering along in the distance, approaching every moment nearer and nearer. No one will ever know the struggles for life which the poor fellow made, but they were futile; with arms pinioned to his sides he was unable to signal the engineer. The train came sweeping on upon its helpless victim until within a few feet of the spot, when the engineer saw the man's head and endeavoured to stop his heavy train. But too late; the moving mass passed over, cutting his head from the shoulders as clean as it could have been done by the guillotine itself. Cooper was 60 years of age.

Ithaca (N.Y.) Journal.


An English traveller in Ireland, greedy for information and always fingering the note-book in his breast pocket, got into the same railway carriage with a certain Roman Catholic archbishop. Ignorant of his rank, and only perceiving that he was a divine, he questioned him pretty closely about the state of the country, whisky drinking, etc. At last he said, "You are a parish priest, yourself, of course." His grace drew himself up. "I was one, sir," he answered, with icy gravity. "Dear, dear," was the sympathizing rejoinder. "That accursed drink, I suppose."


This railway, the last new project in mountain-climbing, is now finished. It is 900 metres in length, and will enable tourists to ascend by it to the very edge of the crater. The line has been constructed with great care upon a solid pavement, and it is believed to be perfectly secure from all incursions of lava. The mode of traction is by two steel ropes put in motion by a steam engine at the foot of the cone. The wheels of the carriages are so made as to be free from any danger of leaving the rails, besides which each carriage is furnished with an exceedingly powerful automatic brake, which, should the rope by any chance break, will stop the train almost instantaneously. One of the chief difficulties of the undertaking was the water supply; but that has been obviated by the formation of two very large reservoirs, one at the station, the other near the observatory.

Railway Times, 1879.


Yesterday evening, Aug. 6th, 1883, a special train of "empties," which left Charing-cross at 5.55 to pick up returning excursionists from Gravesend, had some extraordinary experiences, such as perhaps had hardly ever occurred on a single journey. On leaving Dartford, where some passengers were taken up, the train was proceeding towards Greenhithe, when the driver observed on the line a donkey, which had strayed from an adjoining field. An endeavour was made to stop the train before the animal was reached, but without success, and the poor beast was knocked down and dragged along by the firebox of the engine. The train was stopped, and with great difficulty the body of the animal, which was killed, was extricated from beneath the engine. While this was in progress, a balloon called the "Sunbeam," supposed to come either from Sydenham or Tunbridge Wells, passed over the line, going in the direction of Northfleet. The two aeronauts in the car were observed to be short of gas, and were throwing out ballast, but, notwithstanding this, the balloon descended slowly, and when some distance ahead of the train was, to the horror of the passengers, seen to drop suddenly into the railway cutting two or three hundred yards only in advance of the approaching train. The alarm whistle was sounded, and the brakes put on, and as the balloon dragged the car and its occupants over the down line there seemed nothing but certain death for them; but suddenly the inflated monster, now swaying about wildly, took a sudden upward flight, and, dragging the car clear of the line, fell into an adjoining field just when the train was within a hundred yards of the spot. The escape was marvellous.


"Dummy," is a deaf mute newsman on the Long Island Railroad. Lately he had suffered much in mind and body from an aching tooth. He did not like dentists, but he resolved that the tooth must go. He procured a piece of twine, and tied one end of it to the tooth and the other end to the rear of an express train. When the train started, Dummy ran along the platform a short distance, and then dropped suddenly on his knees. The engine whistled, and dummy cried, but the train took the tooth.


It happens, in numerous instances, that virtuous resolves are made overnight with respect to early rising, which resolves, when put to the test, are doomed only to be broken. Some years ago a clergyman, who had occasion to visit the West of England on very important business, took up his quarters, late at night, at a certain hotel adjacent to a railway, with a view of starting by the early train on the following morning. Previous to retiring to rest, he called the "boots" to him, told him that he wished to be called for the early train, and said that it was of the utmost importance that he should not oversleep himself. The reverend gentleman at the same time confessed that he was a very heavy sleeper, and as there would be probably the greatest difficulty in awakening him, he (the "boots") was to resort to any means he thought proper in order to effect his object. And, further, that if the business were effectually accomplished, the fee should be a liberal one. The preliminaries being thus settled, the clergyman sought his couch, and "boots" left the room with the air of a determined man. At a quarter to five on the following morning, "boots" walked straight to "No. twenty-three," and commenced a vigorous rattling and hammering at the door, but the only answer he received was "All right!" uttered in a very faint and drowsy tone. Five minutes later, "boots" approached the door, placing his ear at the keyhole, and detecting no other sound than a most unearthly snore, he unceremoniously entered the room, and laying his brawny hands upon the prostrate form of the sleeper, shook him violently and long. This attack was replied to by a testy observation that he "knew all about it, and there was not the least occasion to shake him so." "Boots" thereupon left the room, somewhat doubtingly, and only to return in a few minutes afterwards and find the Rev. Mr. — as sound asleep as ever. This time the clothes were stripped off, and a species of baptismal process was adopted, familiarly known as "cold pig." At this assault the enraged gentleman sat bolt upright in bed, and with much other bitter remark, denounced "boots" as a barbarous follow. An explanation was then come to, and the drowsy man professed he understood it all, and was about to arise. But the gentleman who officiated at the — hotel, having had some experience in these matters, placed no reliance upon the promise he had just received, and shortly visited "No. twenty-three" again. There he found that the occupant certainly had got up, but it was only to replace the bedclothes and to lie down again. "Boots" now felt convinced that this was one of those cases which required prompt and vigorous handling, and without more ado, therefore, he again stripped off the upper clothing, and seizing hold of the under sheet, he dragged its depository bodily from off the bed. The sleeping man, sensible of the unusual motion, and dreamily beholding a stalwart form bent over him, became impressed with the idea that a personal attack was being made upon him, probably with a view to robbery and murder. Under this conviction, he, in his descent, grasped "boots" firmly by the throat, the result being that both bodies thus came to the floor with a crash. Here the two rolled about for some seconds in all the agonies of a death struggle, until the unwonted noise and the cries of the assailants brought several persons from all parts of the hotel, and they, seeing two men rolling frantically about in each other's arms, and with the hand of each grasping the other's throat, rushed in and separated them. An explanation was of course soon given. The son of the church was effectually awakened, he rewarded the "boots," and went off by the train.

Fortune subsequently smiled upon "boots," and in the course of time he became proprietor of a first-rate hotel. In the interval the Rev. Mr. — had risen from a humble curate to the grade of a dean. Having occasion to visit the town of —, he put up at the house of the ex-boots. The two men saw and recognized each other, and the affair of the early train reverted to the mind of both. "It was a most fortunate circumstance," said the dean, "that I did not oversleep myself on that morning, for from the memorable journey that followed, I date my advancement in the Church. But," he continued, with an expression that betokened some tender recollection, "if I ever should require you to wake me for an early train again, would you mind placing a mattress or feather-bed on the floor?"

The Railway Traveller's Handy Book.


A startling event happened at an early hour yesterday morning (Jan. 8th, 1884), in connection with the mail train from Brest, which is due in Paris at ten minutes to five o'clock. Whilst proceeding at full speed the passengers observed the brakes to be put on with such suddenness that fears were entertained that a collision was imminent, especially as the spot at which the train was drawn up was in utter darkness. Upon the guard reaching the engine he found the stoker endeavouring to overpower the driver, who had evidently lost his reason. After blocking the line the guard joined the stoker, and succeeded in securing the unfortunate man, but not until he had offered a desperate resistance. The locomotive was then put in motion, the nearest station was reached without further misadventure, and the driver was placed in custody. The train ultimately arrived in Paris after two hours' delay.


Steam and gunpowder have often proved the most eloquent apostles of civilization, but the impressiveness of their arguments was, perhaps, never more strikingly illustrated than at the little railway station of Gallegos, in Northern Mexico. When the first passenger train crossed the viaduct, and the Wizards of the North had covered the festive tables with the dainties of all zones, the governor of Durango was not the most distinguished visitor; for among the spectators on the platform the natives were surprised to recognise the Cabo Ventura, the senior chief of a hill-tribe, which had never formally recognised the sovereignty of the Mexican Republic. The Cabo, indeed, considered himself the lawful ruler of the entire Comarca, and preserved a document in which the Virey Gonzales, en nombre del Rey—in the name of the King—appointed him "Protector of all the loyal tribes of Castro and Sierra Mocha." His diploma had an archaeological value, and several amateurs had made him a liberal offer, but the old chieftain would as soon have sold his scalp. His soul lived in the past. All the evils of the age he ascribed to the demerits of the traitors who had raised the banner of revolt against the lawful king; and as for the countrymen of Mr. Gould, the intrusive Yangueses, his vocabulary hardly approached the measure of his contempt when he called them herexes y combusteros—heretics and humbugs.

"But it cannot be denied," Yakoob Khan wrote to his father, "that it has pleased Allah to endow those sinners with a good deal of brains;" and the voice of nature gradually forced the Cabo to a similar conclusion, till he resolved to come and see for himself.

When the screech of the iron Behemoth at last resounded at the lower end of the valley, and the train swept visibly around the curve of the river-gap, the natives set up a yell that waked up the mountain echoes; men and boys waved their hats and jumped to and fro, in a state of the wildest excitement. Only the old Cabo stood stock-still. His gaze was riveted upon the phenomenon that came thundering up the valley; his keen eye enabled him to estimate the rate of speed, the trend of the up-grade, the breadth, the length, the height of the car. When the train approached the station, the crowd surged back in affright, but the Cabo stood his ground, and as soon as the cars stopped he stepped down upon the track. He examined the wheels, tapped the axles, and tried to move the lever; and when the engine backed up for water, he closely watched the process of locomotion, and walked to the end of the last car to ascertain the length of the train. He then returned to the platform and sat down, covering his face with both hands.

Two hours later the Governor of Durango found him in still the same position.

"Hallo, Cabo," he called out, "how do you like this? What do you think now of America Nueva?" ("New America," a collective term for the republics of the American continent).

The chieftain looked up. "Sabe Dios—the gods know—Senor Commandante, but I know this much: With Old America it's all up."

"Is it? Well, look here: would you now like to sell that old diploma? I still offer you the same price."

The Cabo put his hand in his bosom, drew forth a leather-shrouded old parchment, and handed it to his interlocutor. "Vengale, Usted—it's worthless and you are welcome to keep it." Nevertheless, he connived when the Governor slipped a gold piece into the pouch and put it upon his knees, minus the document.

But just before the train started, the Governor heard his name called, and stepped out upon the platform of the palace-car, when he saw the old chieftain coming up the track.

"I owe you a debt, senor," said he, "y le pagare en consejo, I want to pay it off in good advice: Beware of those strangers."

"What strangers?"

"The caballeros who invented this machine."

"Is that what you came to tell me?" laughed the Governor as the train started.

The old Cabo waved his hand in a military salute. "Estamos ajustade, Senor Commandante, this squares our account."

Atlantic Monthly, Jan., 1884.


"Ticket, sir!" said an inspector at a railway terminus in the City to a gentleman, who, having been a season ticket holder for some time, believed his face was so well known that there was no need for him to show his ticket. "My face is my ticket," replied the gentleman a little annoyed. "Indeed!" said the inspector, rolling back his wristband, and displaying a most powerful wrist, "well, my orders are to punch all tickets passing on to this platform."


The question of the liability of railway companies in the event of personal accident through parcels falling from a rack in the compartments of passenger trains has been raised in the Midlands. In December last, a tailor named Round was travelling from Dudley to Stourbridge, and, on the train being drawn up at Round Oak Station, a hamper was jerked from the racks and fell with such force as to cause him serious injury. Certain medical charges were incurred, and Mr. Round alleged that he was unable to attend to his business for five weeks in consequence of the accident. He therefore claimed 50 pounds by way of compensation. Sir Rupert Kettle, before whom the case was tried, decided that the company was not liable, and could not be held responsible for whatever happened in respect to luggage directly under the control of passengers. The case is one of some public interest, inasmuch as a parcel falling from a rack is not an uncommon incident in a railway journey. Moreover, the hamper in question belonged, not to the plaintiff, but to a glass engraver, and contained four empty bottles, two razors, and a couple of knives.

Daily News, March 29th, 1884.


A writer in Cassell's Magazine remarks:—"We hear individuals now and then talking of the ease with which the season-ticket holder journeys backwards and forwards daily from Brighton. By the young, healthy man, no doubt, the journey is done without fatigue; but, after a certain time of life, the process of being conveyed by express fifty miles night and morning is anything but refreshing. The shaking and jolting of the best constructed carriage is not such as we experience in a coach on an ordinary road; but is made up of an infinite series of slight concussions, which jar the spinal column and keep the muscles of the back and sides in continued action." Dr. Radcliff, who has witnessed many cases of serious injury to the nervous system from this cause, contributed the following conclusive case some years ago to the pages of the Lancet:—"A hale and stout gentleman, aged sixty-three, came to me complaining of inability to sleep, numbness in limbs, great depression, and all the symptoms of approaching paralytic seizure. He was very actively engaged in large monetary transactions, which were naturally a source of anxiety. He had a house in town; but, having been advised by the late Doctor Todd to live at Brighton, he had taken a house there, and travelled to and fro daily by the express train. The symptoms of which he complained began to appear about four months after taking up his residence at Brighton, and he had undergone a variety of treatment without benefit, and was just hesitating about trying homaeopathy when I saw him. I advised him to give up the journey for a month, and make the experiment of living quietly in town. In a fortnight his rest was perfectly restored, and the other symptoms rapidly disappeared, so that at the end of the month he was as well as ever again. After three months, he was persuaded to join his family at Brighton, and resumed his daily journeys. In a few days his rest became broken and in two months all the old symptoms returned. By giving up the journeys and again residing in town, he was once more perfectly restored; but, it being the end of the season, when the house at Brighton could not readily be disposed of, and yielding to the wishes of his family, he again resumed his journeys. In a month's time he was rendered so seriously unwell that he hesitated no longer in taking up his permanent abode in town; and since that time—now more than two years ago—he has enjoyed perfect health."


The following appeared in the Irish Times (Dublin, 1884): "It is not generally known that the country people along the line of the electric railway make strange uses of the insulated rails, which are the medium of electricity on this tramway, in connection with one of which an extraordinary and very remarkable occurrence is reported. People have no objection to touch the rail and receive a smart shock, which is, however, harmless, at least so far. On Thursday evening a ploughman, returning from work, stood upon this rail in order to mount his horse. The rail is elevated on insulators 18 inches above the level of the tramway. As soon as the man placed his hands upon the back of the animal it received a shock, which at once brought it down, and falling against the rail it died instantly. The remarkable part is, that the current of electricity which proved fatal to the brute must have passed through the body of the man and proved harmless to him."


A gate-keeper in the employ of the Hessian Railway Company was recently the hero of an amusing incident. His wife being ill, he went himself to milk the goat; but the stubborn creature would not let him come near it, as it had always been accustomed to have this operation performed by its mistress. After many fruitless efforts, he at length decided to put on his wife's clothes. The experiment succeeded admirably; but the man had not time to doff his disguise before a train approached, and the gatekeeper ran to his accustomed post. His appearance produced quite a sensation among the officials of the passing train. The case was reported and an inquiry instituted, which however resulted in his favour, as the railway authorities granted the honest gate-keeper a gratuity of ten marks for the faithful discharge of his duties.


The Marquis of Hartington, when laying the foundation stone of a public hall to be erected in memory of the inventor and practical introducer of railway locomotion, expressed himself as follows:—"That almost all the progress which this country has made in the last half-century is mainly due to the development of the railway system. All the other vast developments of the power of steam, all the developments of manufacturing and mining industry would have availed but little for the greatness and prosperity of this country—in fact they could hardly have existed at all if there had been wanting those internal communications which have been furnished by the locomotive engine to railways brought into use by Stephenson. The changes which have been wrought in the history of our country by the invention, the industry, and perseverance of one man are something that we may call astounding. There are some things which exceed the dreams of poetry and romance. We are justly proud of our imperial possessions, but the steam engine, and especially the locomotive steam-engine, the invention of George Stephenson—has not only increased the number of the Queen's subjects by millions, but has added more millions to her Majesty's revenues than have been produced by any tax ever invented by any statesman. Comfort and happiness, prosperity and plenty, have been brought to every one of her Majesty's subjects by this invention in far greater abundance than has ever been produced by any law, the production of the wisest and most patriotic Parliament. The results of the career of a man who began life as a herd boy, and who up to eighteen did not know how to read or write, and yet was able to confer such vast benefits upon his country and mankind for all time, is worthy of a national and noble memorial."


Of all celebrations in the North of England there was never the like of the centenary of the birth-day of George Stephenson, June 9th, 1881. The enthusiastic crowds of people assembled to honour the occasion were never before so numerous on any public holiday. Sir William Armstrong, C.B., in his speech at the great banquet remarked:—"The memory of a great man now dead is a solemn subject for a toast, and I approach the task of proposing it with a full sense of its gravity. We are met to celebrate the birth of George Stephenson, which took place just 100 years ago—a date which nearly coincides with that at which the genius of Watt first gave practical importance to the steam-engine. Up to that time the inventive faculties of man had lain almost dormant, but with the advent of the steam-engine there commenced that splendid series of discoveries and inventions which have since, to use the words of Dr. Bruce, revolutionised the state of the world. Amongst these the most momentous in its consequences to the human race is the railway system—(cheers)—and with that system including the locomotive engine as its essential element, the name of George Stephenson will ever be pre-eminently associated. In saying this, I do not mean to ignore the important parts played by others in the development of the railway system; but it is not my duty on this occasion to review the history of that system and to assign to each person concerned his proper share of the general credit. To do this would be an invidious task, and out of place at a festival held in honour of George Stephenson only. I shall, therefore, pass over all names but his, not even making an exception in favour of his distinguished son. (Cheers.) It seldom or never happens that any great invention can be exclusively attributed to any one man; but it is generally the case that amongst those who contribute to the ultimate success there is one conspicuous figure that towers above all the rest, and such is the figure which George Stephenson presents in relation to the railway system. (Cheers.) To be sensible of the benefits we have derived from railways and locomotives let us consider for a moment what would be our position if they were taken from us. The present business of the country could not be carried on, the present population could not be maintained, property would sink to half its value—(hear, hear)—and instead of prosperity and progress we should have collapse and retrogression on all sides. (Cheers.) What would Newcastle be if it ceased to be a focus of railways? How would London be supplied if it had to fall back upon turnpike roads and horse traffic? In short, England as it is could not exist without railways and locomotives; and it is only our familiarity with them that blunts our sense of their prodigious importance. As to the future effects of railways, it is easy to see that they are destined to diffuse industrial populations over those vast unoccupied areas of the globe that abound in natural resources, and only wait for facilities of access and transport to become available for the wants of man. There is yet scope for an enormous extension of railways all over the world, and the fame of Stephenson will continue to grow as railways continue to spread. (Loud cheers.) But I should do scant justice to the memory of George Stephenson if I dwelt only on the results of his achievements. Many a great reputation has been marred by faults of character, but this was not the case with George Stephenson. His manly simplicity and frankness, and his kindly nature won for him the respect and esteem of all who knew him both in the earlier and later periods of his career—(cheers)—but the prominent feature in his character was his indomitable perseverance, which broke down all obstacles, and converted even his failures and disappointments into stepping stones to success. It was not the desire for wealth that actuated him in the pursuit of his objects, but it was a noble enthusiasm, far more conducive to great ends than the hope of gain, that carried him forward to his goal. Unselfish enthusiasm such as his always gives a tone of heroism to a character, and heroism above all things commands the homage of mankind. Newcastle may well be proud of its connection with George Stephenson, and the proceedings of this day testify how much his memory is cherished in this his native district. Any memorial dedicated to him would be appropriate to this occasion, and if such memorial were connected with scientific instruction it would be in harmony with his well-known appreciation of the value of scientific education, and of the sacrifices he made to give his son the advantage of such an education. (Cheers.) I now, gentlemen, have to propose to you the toast which has been committed to me, and which is 'Honour to the memory of George Stephenson, and may the college to be erected to his memory prove worthy of his fame.' I must ask you to drink this toast standing; and consider that the birth of Stephenson is a subject of jubilation. I think that although he is dead we may drink that toast with hearty cheering. (Hear, hear, and loud cheers.)

Mr. George Robert Stephenson, who was warmly cheered on rising to respond to the toast, said: "Mr. Mayor and gentlemen,—Let me, in the first place thank Sir William Armstrong for the many kind words he has uttered in honour of the memory of George Stephenson. It is true that he was, as Sir William said, one of the most kind-hearted and unselfish men that ever lived; but I suppose that no man has had a more up-hill struggle during the present century. (Cheers). I have now in my possession documents that would show in his early life the extraordinary and peculiar nature of the opposition that was brought against him as a poor man. He was opposed by many of the leading engineers of the day; some of these men using language which, it is not incorrect to say, was not only injurious but wicked. This is not the proper occasion to weary you with a long speech, but with the view of showing the peculiar mode of engineers reporting against each other, I could very much wish, with your permission, to read a few sentences from documents that I have in my possession, dating back to 1823. (Hear, hear). This, gentlemen, will clearly show the sort of opposition I have alluded to. It occurs at the end of a report by an opponent upon some projected work on which the four brothers were engaged:—'But we cannot conclude without saying that such a mechanic as Mr. Stephenson, who can neither calculate, nor lay his designs on paper, or distinguish the effect from the cause, may do very well for repairing engines when they are constructed, but for building new ones, he must be at great loss to his employers, from the many alterations that will take place in engine-building, when he goes by what we call the rule of thumb.' In a preceding sentence he is taunted with being like the fly going round on a crank axle, and shouting 'What a dust I am kicking up.' Gentlemen, the dust that George Stephenson kicked up formed itself into a cloud, and in every part of the globe to which it reached it carried with it and planted the seeds of civilization and wealth. Notwithstanding the hard and illiberal treatment to which he was exposed, he was not beaten; on the contrary, by his genius and his never-failing spirit, he raised himself above the level of the very men who opposed every effort he made towards the advancement of engineering science—efforts which have resulted in a vast improvement of our means for extracting the valuable products of the earth, and also of our means of conveying them at a cheap rate to distant markets. It is not too much to say that George Stephenson headed a movement by which alone could employment have been found for an ever-increasing population."

In the town of Chesterfield the Centenary was celebrated most befittingly. It was there the father of railways spent his latter days, and there he died. Although there was not such a flood of oratory as at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, many interesting speeches were delivered in connection with the event. We give some extracts from an address delivered by the Rev. Samuel C. Sarjant, B.A., Curate-in-Charge at that time—delivered at Holy Trinity Church, Chesterfield. An address which, for ability, nice discrimination of thought, and true appreciation of the subject, would not disgrace any pulpit in Christendom:—

"We meet to-day for the highest of all purposes, the worship of Almighty God. But we also meet to show our regard for the memory of one of the great and gifted dead. It is no small distinction of this town that the last days of George Stephenson were spent in it. And it adds to the interest of this church that it contains his mortal remains. With little internally to appeal to the eye, or to gratify taste, this church has yet a spell which will draw visitors from every part of the world. Men will come hither from all lands to look with reverence upon the simple resting place of him who was the father of the Locomotive and of the Railway system. And perhaps the naked simplicity which marks that spot is in keeping with a life, the grandeur of which was due solely to the man himself, and not to outward helps and circumstances . . .

"Toil has its roll of heroes, but few, if any, of them are greater than he whose birth we commemorate to-day. He was pre-eminently a self-made man, one who 'achieved' greatness by his own exertions. Granting that he was gifted with powers of body and mind above the average, these were his only advantages. The rest was due to hard work, patient, persistent effort. He had neither wealth, schooling, patrons, nor favouring circumstances. He comes into the arena like a naked athlete to wrestle in his own strength with the difficulties before him. And these were many and great!

"I need not dwell upon the details of a life which is so well known to most, and to some present so vividly, from personal intercourse and friendship. We all know what a battle he fought, how nobly and well, first striving by patient plodding effort to remove his own ignorance, cheerfully bending himself to every kind of work that came in his way, and seeking to gain not only manual expertness, but a mastery of principles. We know how he went on toiling, observing, experimenting, saying little—for he was never given to the 'talk of the lips'—but doing much, letting slip no chance of getting knowledge, and of turning it to practical account. He was one of those, who

While his companions slept Was toiling upwards in the night.

And in due time his quiet work bore fruit. He invented a safety-lamp which alone should have entitled him to the gratitude of posterity. He then set himself to improve the locomotive, and fit it for the future which his prescient mind discerned, and on a fair field he vanquished all competitors. He then sought to adapt the roadway to the engine and make it fit for its new work. And then, hardest task of all, he had to convince the public that railway travelling was a possible thing; that it could he made safe, cheap, and rapid. In doing this he was compelled to design, plan, and execute almost everything with his own mind and hand. All classes and interests were against him, the engineers, the land owners, the legislature, and the public. He had to encounter the phantoms of ignorance and fear, the solid resistance of vested interests, and the bottomless quagmires of Chat Moss. But he triumphed! And it was a well-earned reward as he looked down from his pleasant retreat at Tapton upon the iron bands which glistened below, to know that they were part of a network which was spreading over the whole land and becoming the one highway of transit and commerce. Nor was this all his satisfaction. He knew that Europe and America were welcoming the railway, and that it was promising to link together the whole civilized world.

"Of the 'profit' of his labours to humanity I scarcely venture to speak, since it cannot possibly be told in a few words. The railway system has revolutionised society. It has powerfully affected every class, every interest and department of life. It has given an incredible impulse to commerce, quickened human thought, created a new language, new habits, tastes and pleasures. It has opened up fields of industry and enterprise inaccessible and unknown before. It has cheapened the necessaries and comforts of life, enhanced the value of property, promoted the fellowship of class with class, and brought unnumbered benefits and advantages within the reach of all. And it is yet, as to the world at large, but in the infancy of its development.

"How much, then, do we owe, under God, to George Stephenson. How much, not merely to his energy and diligence, but to his courage, patience, and uprightness? For these qualities, quite as much as gifts of genius and insight, contributed to his final success. He was crowned because he strove 'lawfully.' His patience was as great in waiting as his energy in working. He did not work from greed or self-glorification; and therefore the hour of success, when it came, found him the same modest, self-restrained man as before. He neither overrated the value of the system which he had set up, nor made it a means of speculation and gambling. He was a man of sterling honesty and uprightness—of self-control, simple in his habits and tastes, given to plain living and high thinking. And yet he was most kindly, genial, and cheery, of strong affections, considerate of his workpeople, tender to his family, full of love to little children and pet animals, brimming with fun and good humour. He had the gentleness of all noble natures, the largeness of mind and heart which could recognise ability and worth in others, and give rivals their due. For the young inventor, or for such of his helpers as showed marked diligence or promise, he had ready sympathy and aid. Nor ought we to pass unnoticed his love of nature and of natural beauty. Strong throughout his whole life, this was especially conspicuous at its close. Such leisure as his last days brought was spent amidst flowers and fruits, gardens and greeneries which he had planned and filled, and from the midst of whose treasures he could look forth over venerable trees and green fields upon a wide and varied landscape. And yet, even in this relaxation, the old energy and earnestness of purpose asserted themselves. He toiled and experimented, watching the growth of his plants and flowers with more than professional pains. Nor is it improbable that the ardour which led him to confine himself for hours together in a heated and unhealthy atmosphere led to his fatal illness.

"We are bound, then, to mark and admit how much the moral element in the worker contributed to his success, and to the freshness of the regard which is felt for his memory and name. England is proud of his works, but prouder still of the man who did them. Far different would have been the result if impatience, ungenerousness, and love of greed had marred his life and work. The tributes of respect which we gladly lay upon his tomb to-day, would probably have been placed elsewhere."


Many years ago the editor of this book and an elderly lady, the widow of a well-known farmer, took tickets from Little Bytham for Edenham in Lincolnshire. They were the only passengers, and as the railway passed for nearly two miles through Grimsthorpe park, she asked the driver if he would stop at a certain spot which would have saved us both perhaps half-a-mile's walk. The request was politely refused. After going a good distance the train was suddenly pulled up. I opened the window and found it had stopped at the very spot we desired. The stoker came running by with a fine hare which the train had run over. I said we can get out now and he said, Oh yes. And so through this strange misadventure to poor pussy our walk was much shortened.

Some years before the above occurrence I was travelling by the early morning mail train from the Midlands to the West of England. At Taunton I perceived a crowd of persons gathered at the front of the train. I went forward and saw a corpse was being removed from the van to a hearse outside the station. On reading the inscription on the coffin plate I was somewhat taken aback to find my own name. So Richard Pike living and Richard Pike dead had been travelling by the same train. Perhaps rarely, if ever, have two more singular circumstances occurred in connection with railway travelling.


Serjeant Ballantine in his Experiences of a Barrister's Life, says:—"There was a singular physical fact connected with him (Sir Edward Belcher), he had entirely lost the sense of taste; this he frequently complained of, and could not account for. A friend of mine, an eminent member of the Bar, suffers in the same way, but is able to trace the phenomenon to the shock that he suffered in a railway collision."


A party of gentlemen who had been to Doncaster to see the St. Leger run, came back to the station and secured a compartment. As the train was about to start, a well-dressed and respectable looking man entered and took the only vacant seat. Shortly after they had started, he said, "Well, gentlemen, I suppose you have all been to the races to-day?" They replied they had. "Well," said the stranger, "I have been, and have unfortunately lost every penny I had, and have nothing to pay my fare home, but if you promise not to split on me, I have a plan that I think will carry me through." They all consented. He then asked the gentleman that sat opposite him if he would kindly lend him his ticket for a moment; on its being handed to him he took it and wrote his own name and address on the back of the ticket and returned it to the owner. Nothing more was said until they arrived at the place where they collected tickets; being the races, the train was very crowded, and the ticket-collector was in a great hurry; the gentlemen all pushed their tickets into his hands. The collector then asked the gentleman without a ticket for his, who replied he had already given it him. The collector stoutly denied it. The gentleman protested he had, and, moreover, would not be insulted, and ordered him to call the station-master. On the station-master coming, he said he wished to report the collector for insulting him. "I make a practice to always write my name and address on the back of my ticket, and if your man looks at his tickets he will find one of that description." The man looked and, of course, found the ticket, whereupon he said he must have been mistaken, and both he and the stationmaster apologised, and asked him not to report the case further.


Complaints are sometimes made of the want of due respect paid on the part of porters to passengers' luggage. It appears that occasionally a like lack of caution is manifested by owners to their own property. It is said that on a train lately on a western railway in America, some passengers were discussing the carriage of explosives. One man contended that it was impossible to prevent or detect this; if people were not allowed to ship nitro-glycerine or dynamite legitimately, they'd smuggle it through their baggage. This assertion was contradicted emphatically, and the passenger was laughed at, flouted, and ignominiously put to scorn. Rising up in his wrath, he produced a capacious valise from under the seat, and, slapping it emphatically on the cover, said, "Oh, you think they don't, eh? Don't carry explosives in cars? What's this?" and he gave the valise a resounding thump, "Thar's two hundred good dynamite cartridges in that air valise; sixty pounds of deadly material; enough to blow this yar train and the whole township from Cook County to Chimborazo. Thar's dynamite enough," he continued; but he was without an auditor, for the passengers had fled incontinently, and he could have sat down upon twenty-two seats if he had wanted to. And the respectful way in which the baggage men on the out-going trains in the evening handled the trunks and valises was pleasant to see.

The neglect of carefulness appears, in one instance at least, to have involved inconvenience to the offending official. "An unknown genius," says an American periodical, "the other day entrusted a trunk, with a hive of bees in it, to the tender mercies of a Syracuse 'baggage-smasher.' The company will pay for the bees, and the doctor thinks his patient will be round in a fortnight or so."

—Williams's Our Iron Roads.


Several Sundays ago a Philadelphia gentleman took his little son on a railway excursion. The little fellow was looking out of the window, when his father slipped the hat off the boy's head. The latter was much grieved at his supposed loss, when papa consoled him by saying that he would "whistle it back." A little later he whistled and the hat reappeared. Not long after the little lad flung his hat out of the window, shouting, "Now, papa, whistle it back again!" A roar of laughter in the car served to enhance the confusion of perplexed papa. Moral: Don't attempt to deceive little boys with plausible stories.


A good story is told of the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincoln Railway Company. A week or two since, the company ran an excursion train to London and back, the excursion being intended for their workmen at Gorton and Manchester. There was an enormous demand for the tickets; so enormous that the officials began, to use an expressive term, "to smell a rat." But the sale of the tickets was allowed to proceed. The journey to London was made, and a considerable number of the passengers congratulated themselves upon the remarkably cheap outing they were having. But on the return journey they made a most unpleasant discovery. Their tickets were demanded at Retford, and then the ticket-collectors insisted upon the holder of every ticket proving that he was in the employ of the company. The result can be imagined. There were more persons in the train who had no connection with the company than there were of the company's employes; and the former had either to pay a full fare to and from London, or to give their names and addresses preparatory to being summoned. We hear, from a reliable source, that the fares thus obtained amount to about 300 pounds.

Echo, Sept. 23, 1880.


We learn from the Colonies that a monkey signalman manages the railway traffic at Witenhage, South Africa. The human signalman has had the misfortune to lose both his legs, and has trained a baboon to discharge his duties. Jacky pushes his master about on a trolly, and, under his directions, works the lever to set the signals with a most ludicrous imitation of humanity. He puts down the lever, looks round to see that the correct signal is up, and then gravely watches the approaching train, his master being at hand to correct any mistake.


The guard of an English railway carriage recently refused to allow a naturalist to carry a live hedgehog with him. The traveller, indignant, pulled a turtle from his wallet and said, "Take this too!" But the guard replied good naturedly, "Ho, no, sir. It's dogs you can't carry; and dogs is dogs, cats is dogs, and 'edge'ogs is dogs, but turtles is hinsects."


In the discussion on Mr. C. Douglas Fox's recent paper on the Pennsylvania railway, Mr. Barlow, the engineer of the Midland, observed that there was a certain attractive power about a Pullman's carriage, which ought not to be overlooked, a power which brought passengers to it who would not otherwise travel by railway. A Pullman's carriage weighed somewhere about twenty tons. The cost of hauling that weight was about 1.5d. per mile; that was the sum which the Midland Company proposed to charge for first-class passengers, so that one first-class passenger would pay the haulage of the carriage. If the attractive power of the carriage brought more than one first-class passenger it would of course pay itself.

Herepath's Railway Journal, Jan. 23, 1875.


The Springfield Republican, of 1877, is responsible for the following story:—"The industry of railroading has developed some thrifty characters, among whom a former employe of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford road deserves high rank. He was at one time at work in the Springfield depot, and while taking a trunk out of a baggage car from Boston he was thrown over and hurt, the baggage-smashing art being for a time reversed. The injured employe suffered terribly, and crawled around on crutches until the Boston and Albany and the New Haven roads united and gave him 6000 dollars. He was cured the next day. Shortly afterwards a man on the Boston and Albany road was killed, and the Company gave his widow 3,000 dollars. The former cripple, who had scored 6,000 dollars already, soon married her, and thus counted 9,000 dollars. He recovered his health so completely that he was able again to work on the railroad, but finally, not being hurt again within a reasonable time, he retired to a farm which he had bought with a part of the proceeds of his former calamities."


It would be difficult to close this series of Railway Anecdotes more appropriately than in the words of George Stephenson's celebrated son Robert at a banquet given to him at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in August, 1850. "It was but as yesterday," he said, "that he was engaged as an assistant in tracing the line of the Stockton and Darlington Railway. Since that period, the Liverpool and Manchester, the London and Birmingham, and a hundred other great works had sprung into vigorous existence. So suddenly, so promptly had they been accomplished, that it appeared to him like the realization of fabled powers, or the magician's wand. Hills had been cut down, and valleys had been filled up; and where this simple expedient was inapplicable, high and magnificent viaducts had been erected; and where mountains intervened, tunnels of unexampled magnitude had been unhesitatingly undertaken. Works had been scattered over the face of our country, bearing testimony to the indomitable enterprise of the nation and the unrivalled skill of its artists. In referring thus to the railway works, he must refer also to the improvement of the locomotive engine. This was as remarkable as the other works were gigantic. They were, in fact, necessary to each other. The locomotive engine, independent of the railway, would be useless. They had gone on together, and they now realized all the expectations that were entertained of them. It would be unseemly, as it would be unjust, if he were to conceal the circumstances under which these works had been constructed. No engineer could succeed without having men about him as highly-gifted as himself. By such men he had been supported for many years past; and, though he might have added his mite, yet it was to their co-operation that all his success was owing."


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