Shocking Railway Accident

Contributed by D. J. P. Johnson

Mold Railway Station stood where the Tesco Stores is today. A line was first constructed from Chester in 1849 and another linking Wrexham came about in 1862. A north-east Wales circuit was completed in 1869 when the line was extended from Mold to Denbigh. The latter was known as the Mold & Denbigh Junction Railway but operated under the auspices of the London & North Western Railway. The story below concern an accident that occurred on this latter route and reported in the Wrexham Advertiser ( 26 June 1874 ).

‘A shocking accident, which, we regret to say, terminated fatally, occurred at the Railway Station on Saturday Evening last. Those whose business takes them to the station to meet the last train for Denbigh on Saturday evenings, know the unruly state of the crowd which generally meets there, many being unfortunately the worse for drink after being at the Mold market, and the wonder is, that these accidents are not of more frequent occurrence. The poor lad who met with his death there on Saturday night, had formerly been employed on the railway as porter at Nannerch, and lived near Coed yr Hendre with his grandfather and grandmother. He went to the station soon after nine o’clock, and when the train arrived at 9.35., he seems to have ran after it, and coming into contact with some passengers on the platform, he was knocked against one of the vans, falling between the wheels and platform. His left leg was frightfully mangled, the thigh being fractured and the knee smashed, besides several cuts on the lower parts of the leg and foot. He was extricated as soon as possible and taken to the porter’s room, where medical assistance was at once sent for. Among those who were on the spot in a few minutes were, Mr. Edward Williams, son of Dr. Williams, Mr. Bull, assistant to Dr. Trubshaw, and Mr. Jamon Jones. The deceased seemed to be conscious, but it was evident he would not recover, owing to the great loss of blood and the shock to the nervous system. It was some time before anyone could be prevailed upon to take him in, and Dr. Trubshaw asked Mr. Inspector Minshall if he could find a bed for the poor fellow. The officer went to Mrs. Duckworth of the King’s Head Inn, and she, with the good nature which has always distinguished her, said she would take the man in, and the deceased was removed there on a stretcher about midnight. He never rallied, however, and about four o’clock on Sunday morning expressed a belief that he was dying, an event that took place a little before five o’clock.

The coroner ( P. Parry,Esq. ) was communicated with on Monday, and an inquest was held at the King’s Head, the following gentlemen being sworn on the jury :-

Messrs.W. ParryW. DoddJ. Wilson
E. HopwoodF. JonesW. Price
C. FletcherT. LloydDavid Owen
R. RobertsM. ShannonPeter Jones

Before they were sworn, several of the jury remarked on the absence of all the leading tradesmen, and expressed an opinion that on an inquest of that kind the police ought to have summoned some of them. Having viewed the body, the first witness called was Robert Garner, who said that he was a foreman porter at Mold station. He was on duty there on Saturday night, when the last 58 train from Chester came in. About ten minutes before the train arrived he saw the deceased – John Hughes, better known as John Jones – pass into the station. He was by himself & had drink but was perfectly sober. He saw nothing of the deceased afterwards. The train came into the station at a very slow rate, about two miles per hour, stopping short of its usual place. He knew the deceased who had formerly been a porter at Nannerch station.

William Price said he was the engineer driver of the train in question. He started from Chester at 8.51pm, sixteen minutes late, such being often the case on Saturday nights. He knew the deceased, and saw him on the night in question standing on the Chester end of the platform. He ran along the copying stones between the crowd and the first van of the train. Witness took particular notice of him, as he wanted to see what his intent was,, and saw him knock against the passengers. At the third lamp the deceased was knocked against the end of the van. Witness saw that he was falling and immediately reversed the engine, stopping the train. Witness got off the engine and went to see what had become of the deceased and found him lying under the foot board and axelbox, between the wheels of the second carriage and, the platform, being quite still. Witness uncoupled the train, drawing the engine van and first carriage ahead, and getting the leg of the deceased clear of the wheel, he with the assistance of the passengers got the other part of the train backwards. When he had been released the deceased was taken to the porter’s room. In answer to the foremen, Price said that the deceased had never been encouraged to get on the engine and tender. The engine had passed him before he commenced running.

In answer to the Corner the jury then said they were satisfied that the deceased met with his death accidentally; a verdict to that effect was returned.

The foreman proposed that a vote of thanks should be passed to Mrs. Duckworth for her humane conduct which was seconded by the Coroner. We are sorry to have to add, there is some probability that the vote is all Mrs. Duckworth is likely to receive, as those interested object to pay for the convenience, arguing that that as it was obtained by Inspector Minshall and not by them he is the proper person to pay.’

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