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By Robert Gwynne on

Accidents from history – Penistone 1896

How does mechanical signalling work, and what can go wrong if you don't follow the rules?

Our volunteers do a wonderful job on the historic Lancashire and Yorkshire Signalling School – the oldest working model railway in the world – and will be re-enacting a another railway accident this Saturday.

A Manchester Sheffield and Lincoln 0-6-0 pictured in 1896 - very similar to that involved in this incident.
A Manchester Sheffield and Lincoln 0-6-0 pictured in 1896 – very similar to that involved in this incident.

This time the location is Penistone on the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincoln railway, a line that was steeply graded but which also carried the unfortunate nickname of the ‘Money, Sunk and Lost’. (When it gave birth to the Great Central Railway with its London Marylebone terminus it became the ‘Gone Completely’).

The MS&L line was a superbly well engineered line connecting Manchester with the Midlands and it also carried a lot of coal traffic up along and over the Pennines.

This accident in 1896 was caused by a signalman not following the rules which specify a distance that must be kept clear ahead of a signal that is being approached by a train. In this case the approaching train passed a signal at danger caused a rear end shunt of a coal train. The accident highlighted a number of failings, and the difficulty of working coal trains over the gradients on this line. Thankfully no one was injured but it was a close run thing.

The volunteers in our signalling school
The volunteers in our signalling school

The demonstration takes place on 11 July at 2 pm on the model railway in ‘The Warehouse‘.

 


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