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start until the coal-train should have arrived. This
coal train had been telegraphed from Islipthe next
stationand the Oxford station-master, Mr. A. Blott,
having given this caution, retired into his office. At
this moment a ballast-train engine entered the station
by the down-line (the contractors' line) without any
train behind it. The driver of the passenger train here-
upon, without stopping to consider whether or no this
was the coal train of which he had received information,
put his own train in motion with unusual speed.
The proper signals which should have warned him to
pause were displayed, but he disregarded them. The
guard (Joseph Kinch), who noticed in passing that the
ballast-train was not the one which had been expected,
put on the breaks, and hoisted the signal flag, which
should have given warning to the driver to stop. The
stoker, whose duty it was to have looked back on leaving
the station, did not look back, and so the train went
rapidly on. At the bridge, a little way out of Oxford,
the policeman, who should have shown a red light,
showed a green or "go on" signal. The driver went
on at an increased speed, and the result was a collision
with the heavy coal-train, which was advancing from
the opposite direction. It is said that the foreman-porter,
on seeing the passenger-train leave the Oxford station,
endeavoured to make the driver understand his danger;
but, in the midst of the noise and confusion created by
the blowing oft of steam from the waste pipes, his voice
received no attention. We are not informed how it was
that at so critical a moment the station-master retired
into his office without waiting upon the platform to
start the train with his own lips. We are not informed
whether or no the usual examination into the sobriety
of the driver had been made before he was allowed to
take his place upon the engine. The only person
concerned who seems entirely free from blame is the guard,
who put on his breaks and hoisted his signal,—who did,
in short, all that lay in his power to communicate with
the driver, but in vain. The consequences of the collision
were most fearful. The engine of the passenger train
was turned completely round and thrown into the water
ditch in a frightfully shattered state. The first engine
attached to the coal train fell upon it, the wheels of
each being transfixed, and the second engine also ran
into the ditch. The third-class carriage and the second-
class carriage were completely broken up, scarcely the
boards remaining attached, and the passengers were
scattered about the line in every direction. The crash
of the collision was heard at a very great distance, and
persons resident in the neighbourhood were soon on the
spot, endeavouring to render assistance. Mr. Blott and
Mr. Hays the Oxford ticket-collector, who had never
ceased running after the train, soon came up, and did
everything in their power to prevent further injury by
stopping all down trains of the line. The difficulty of
knowing what to do in order to assist the injured parties
was greatly increased by the ravages of a fire which,
kindled from the furnaces of the engines, burst forth
immediately after the accident. The injured parties
were then got out of the wreck as quickly as possible,
and sent on to Oxford, where they were at once admitted
into the Ratcliffe Infirmary. Two engine drivers and
three stokers were killed on the spot, all their bodies
being frightfully mutilated. One male passenger was
thrown under the wreck, and before his body could be
extricated the upper half was burnt to a cinder. A
poor young woman named Julia Norman, also a
passenger, was thrown into the water, and in some
extraordinary manner became embedded under the
boiler of the passenger engine. She was only
discovered by her legs having protruded above the water,
and it was not till the next morning that her body was
extricated. The names of the persons killed who have
been identified are as follows: J. Tarry, engine driver;
R. Law, ditto; R. Bugden, stoker; T. Landon, ditto;
S. Wilcox, ditto; and Julia Norman, passenger. Many
persons were dreadfully and it is feared fatally injured.
W. Knibbs, a second-class passenger, had his head badly
cut; Sarah Smith, of Steeple Claydon, had her chest
hurt, and it is supposed that her breast-bone is broken;
J.Walters, of Bicester, had his knee and thighs fractured;
R. Faulkner, senior, a sawyer, had a serious concussion,
while his two sons, Richard and Job, had, the former
his head cut, and the latter one of his thighs burnt. It
was found necessary to amputate the arm of J. Williams,
a hawker. J. Townshend, of Bicester, had his hip
dislocated, if not broken; T. Monnay had his head cut,
and his thigh and jaw much injured; J. Sayers had
four ribs broken, and G. Slade received a spinal injury.
A horse-dealer named Jordan had his skull fractured,
and a cattle-dealer of Northampton, named Lott, was
also among the injured. A passenger named Eliza
Davis received a concussion of the brain, and two guards
named Kinch and Watts, were slightly hurt. A
passenger named Jones had his skull fractured and his
spine injured. The above enumeration must be taken
in connection with the facts that there were only
21 passengers, and that of the 6 men in charge of the
engines 5 were killed. The survivor escaped
miraculously by jumping into a ditch full of water. The
servants of the company have been the chief sufferers by
the accident, but, with the exception of two boys who
are the sons of a clergyman, hardly any one seems to
have escaped entirely unscathed. All the bodies of
those who were killed were frightfully mutilated.
Tarry's watch was crushed nearly flat, the hands being
fixed in the dial plate at 35 minutes after 6. Sarah
Smith was discovered in a state of almost perfect nudity
on the buffer of one of the engines, with a piece of iron
firmly fixed across her throat. She was extricated with
great difficulty. This poor woman had been to Oxford
to see her brother, who had enlisted a few days
previously. She has lost everything she possessed.
There were some miraculous escapes of passengers in
the train. Another gentleman sustained only a few
bruises, and was so little hurt that he proceeded to
London. Of the six men in charge of the engine only
two escaped, viz., Kinch, the guard, and John Lee, the
driver of the second engine, who, foreseeing an accident,
got over his tender on to a coal truck, and had crossed
two or three before the collision took place. All the
bodies were frightfully mutilated. Wm. Jones, the
horse dealer, had £123 in bank notes and gold in his
pockets. On the accident occurring some hundreds of
persons collected on the spot, but a controlling hand
was much wanted, which fortunately was soon found
in the person of Mr. Cardwell, President of the Board
of Trade, who having expected his wife by the next
train, was terrified when he heard of the accident, and
hastened at once to the spot. The hon. member
rendered almost superhuman exertions, to assist the
sufferers. Mr. Grafton, of the firm of Grafton and
Hood, engineers of Oxford, was early on the spot, and
ably seconded all that Mr. Cardwell proposed. The
alarm which prevailed among the crowd was very great.
At one period an approaching train on the Great
Western Railway was thought to be running on the
North Western line, and 30 persons, rushing into the
water to escape an imagined danger narowly escaped
being drowned.—An inquest on the bodies of the persons
killed was held at Oxford. After an investigation of
several days it terminated on the 17th inst., when the
jury returned the following verdict:—"The deceased
persons came to their deaths from a collision that
occurred between a passenger train and a coal train on
the Bucks branch of the London and North Western
Railway. The collision took place in consequence of
the passenger train being started without orders from
the station master, and they find a verdict of
manslaughter against Kinch the guard of the said passenger
train, on whom the responsibility of starting the train
devolved; and they think the engine driver worthy of
blame for proceeding at a much faster rate than is usual
at first leaving the station. It appears from the evidence
that in consequence of repairs going on at the Wolvercot
tunnel the whole of the traffic between Oxford and
Islip is now carried on upon a single line, and the jury
beg to express their opinion that in all such cases a pilot
engine should be employed in order to lessen the
probability of collision. They consider also that a policeman
or signal man should be stationed between the swing
bridge and Wolvercot tunnel, as that part of the line
appears to be at present quite unprotected, and as it
includes a level crossing. It appears also that part of
the line on which the accident occurred is in such close
proximity to the Oxford and Rugby line, that it is very