The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 10 (February 1, 1928)
Home Rails. — A Domestic Catastrophe
Aregrettable railway accident occurred late yesterday afternoon when the 4.45 express from Victoria, scheduled to arrive at Liverpool Street at 4.56, left the rails at a point midway between the south-east corner of the sideboard and the northern edge of the coal-box. The engine had just been rewound and was negotiating the awkward bend at this point at top speed. Leaving the track without any warning, the engine became uncoupled and ploughed up the pile of the carpet for some distance. Then gaining fresh impetus on reaching the linoleum surround, it crashed into the dining-room door, where it immediately overturned.
Happily the accident was not accompanied by any loss of life, although several passengers were slightly injured. An elderly doll, riding in the tender with her legs resting on the roof of the foremost carriage was dislodged as soon as the train left the metals and, we regret to say, falling heavily, lost two more fingers. Several cows and horses, belonging to Pauline's farm, travelling in the second and third carriages, were badly shaken, and the milkmaid in charge of the animals complained of scraped paint. A dog, believed to be Dismal Desmond, which, with his companion, Galloping Gus, had been leaning against the door when the engine crashed into it, was knocked down but not seriously hurt.
The locomotive—an old model which it was hoped would in any event have been replaced about Christmas—was not badly damaged in the actual impact, but as it lay on its side, the maid, coming into the room to prepare tea, trod upon it and buckled the front wheels. The owners were not insured against accidents of this type, but have extracted a promise from the underwriters as an act of grace to provide a new engine of the 1928 class not later than 25th December next.
A tragic circumstance connected with the accident is that the 4.55 p.m. was, as it happened, the last train of the day. In another few minutes the line would have been closed down, the 4.56, the 4.57 and the 4.58 having been cancelled by the authorities as a punishment for the action of the General Traffic Manager (Gordon) in kicking his friend Brian, the stationmaster at Liverpool Street, and pulling the hair of his young sister, Pauline, the station-mistress at Victoria.
The cause of the accident is not quite clear, but in an interview given to our representative during tea, the General Traffic Manager said he suspected foul play by the stationmaster at Liverpool Street, whose turn it would have been to wind up the 4.57 slow, and who was no doubt somewhat peeved by the withdrawal of that train consequent upon the action of the General Traffic Manager in kicking him (the stationmaster at Liverpool Street) and pulling the Victoria station mistress' hair. Asked if he did not think this was a somewhat unworthy suspicion he said he thought not. He added that if this was not the cause of the accident it may have been due to faulty adjustment of the track by the Chairman, who frequently, he alleged, assumed running powers over the line after he (the General Traffic Manager) had been put to bed. The Chairman, who had just returned from his office, hotly denied this imputation.
It is understood that in view of the guarantee obtained—namely that subject to no further misdemeanour on the part of the General Traffic Manager, the wrecked engine will be replaced by a newer model in the course of the present month—no inquiry will be held.
Writing In The Train.
That the train is a good place in which to work is the conviction of many prominent literary men. The peculiar pleasure and excitement of train travel gives wings to the imagination and the mind goes soaring into every corner of the realm of fancy.
Of the great literary men of our day who work in the train, George Bernard Shaw is perhaps the most famous. It is said that this distinguished dramatist writes nearly the whole of his plays whilst travelling in the train between London and his country house at Agot St. Lawrence, Herts.page 7