Author Topic: Hawkesbury River Ghost Train: Hawsesbury: NSW  (Read 459 times)

Offline KANACKI

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Hawkesbury River Ghost Train: Hawsesbury: NSW
« on: March 28, 2021, 05:18:29 PM »
How often do any of you catch a train?

Many do on day to day hum drum necessity to commute to work. Yet your day would of been quite different on 21st of June 1987. On a clear warm winters afternoon nothing seemed out of ordinary for Peter Fish, Russel Peters,John Stephan, Louise Clark and Sara Thompson.

They was part of a group of young people working on work for dole project landscaping on a project near the Hawkesbury River. They had finished up for the day earlier. It was not normal practice but the work had been done so they was allowed to go home early. Most went by car others with no money on the dole caught the train to there earlier in the day and was returning to Sydney awaiting the train from Gosford.

While awaiting the train for Sydney around 230 pm. Came the sound of a chugging  steam train from the opposite direction from Sydney. Belching smoke and steam and brakes sparking came thundering passed them leaving them stunned. They saw a ghastly panicked white faced driver and fireman struggling to keep the train on the rails with terrified passengers screaming inside the windows fly past them. The force of train flying passed rattled the windows of Hawkesbury River railway station.

As quickly as this chugging screaming roaring train past them to their utter astonishment looking down the tracks where this fast moving train thundered went ..... suddenly vanished into the simmering heat of the railway tracks.

As they stood there Dumb Founded in disbelief, the train from Gosford arrived at the Station. On the very track only only a minute earlier this ancient steam train thundered past with people screaming.

Stunned and bewildered the group got on the Sydney train not quite sure what happened?

Was it all a mass hallucination?

To be continued......

Kanacki

Offline KANACKI

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Re: Hawkesbury River Ghost Train: Hawsesbury: NSW
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2021, 10:05:41 AM »
So by strange coincidence  on 21st of June 1887 as reported in the newspapers of the time.

FEARFUL RAILWAY DISASTER AT PEAT'S FERRY. FIVE PERSONS KILLED— MANY INJURED.

A terrible railway accident occurred on the Homebush-Waratah line on Tuesday afternoon, resulting in a lamentable destruction of life and property. It appears that an excursion train which left Sydney at 10.25 a.m. for the Hawkesbury River collided with some contractor's trucks of an unfinished portion of the line at Peat's Ferry at half-past 2, with the result that fearful injury was done to the rolling-stock. When the train left Redfern Station in the morning it was filled with about 400 excursionists, who were bent upon enjoying themselves on the Hawkesbury. 

Everything appears to have gone on smoothly until Ryde was reached, and then it was thought by many of those who were in the train that the engine was not sufficiently strong to draw the train, which consisted of nine carriages, exclusive of the locomotive, up some steep gradients. Two of the carriages appear to have been left behind at Beecroft, and the train then proceeded as far as Hornsby; and having arrived at that place, the engine was detached, and sent back to pick up the cars that had been left behind. After a while they reached the station at Hornsby, and at that place the train was, to use a railway term, 'made up,' i.e., the two sections of the train were joined together preparatory to starting for the terminal point of the railway at the Hawkesbury. 

Everything being ready, the train, which was then very late, moved out of the Hornsby station towards Peat's Ferry, and the holiday-makers, who had, to say the least of it, made the best of their lot notwithstanding the delay that had occurred, began to look forward to spending a few pleasant hours in the vicinity of the river. Many of those in the train gave themselves up to the festivities incident to the Jubilee celebrations, and snatches of well-known songs sounded out merrily as the train, bearing its precious human freight, moved onwards towards the tunnel and the incline which leads downward right to the river's brink.

But suddenly there was a great increase of speed, and as the train emerged from the tunnel the driver appeared to have lost all control over it. From the official account of the accident it will be seen that the cause is ascribed to the failure of the Westinghouse air brake, and from all that can be learned of the circumstances of the disaster this would appear to have been really the case.

The driver evidently knew that some disaster was likely to happen, and as the train sped down the incline at an ever increasing rate he sounded his whistle continuously. The train oscillated violently, and the passengers grew thoroughly alarmed as the pace became terrific. Very soon the train was travelling with what seemed lightning-like rapidity, raising a cloud of dust, and as it was all the time approaching the river, to which the descent for some miles is continuous, a disaster seemed inevitable. At one point it is asserted that the train attained a velocity of something like 70 miles an hour. It is said that the driver made a gallant attempt to save his charge from utter ruin by reversing his engine, but it was all too late, for no human agency could withstand the frightful rush of the carriages as they swept on and on to apparent destruction.

 It is said that the guard Clissold put on the brakes, but from various reasons they were rendered completely powerless, and the train sped down the incline with a thundering clatter and a dreadful rush. 
Before it reached the Peat's Ferry station, however, a pointsman or porter in the employ of the Government rushed to the points, and, holding to them bravely, he managed to ' throw' the train on to a siding on which were two contractor's trucks and an engine. It was exceedingly fortunate that the pointsman had the presence of mind to act as he did, otherwise the engine and the whole of the cars attached to it would in all probability have dashed into a train which was drawn up on the line near the Peat's Ferry station, or else the train would have fallen into the river, and as a consequence a much greater loss of life would have occurred.

As it was, however, the runaway train directly it was diverted onto the siding, dashed into the contractor's trucks, which were standing there, with terrific force, and almost in an instant the first and second carriages were 'telescoped,' and shrieks of agony and terror resounded on every side. The engine toppled over the side of the embankment

To be continued.....

Kanacki

Offline KANACKI

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Re: Hawkesbury River Ghost Train: Hawsesbury: NSW
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2021, 10:13:09 AM »
LIST OF THOSE KILLED. 

T. Wilson, engine-driver. Mr. Rennie, manager for Amos Brothers, contractors. Eliza Ann Waters, of Petersham. Thomas Phillips, plasterer, of Petersham. H. Hankins, clerk in Railway Store Department, Eveleigh. The young man Hankins, mentioned above as among the killed did not die until after he had been admitted into the Sydney Hospital. His injuries were chiefly internal. He had been about three years in the railway service, and was a member of the departmental ambulance corps. His father is a boot and shoe merchant carrying on business in the Sydney Arcade.

LIST OF THE INJURED. 

Harold Barry, four years old, right arm broken. Miss Eliza Hunter, May-street, St. Peters; combined fracture of the left leg and severe lacerated wound on the left thigh; in a state of collapse and not expected to live. Leg will have to be amputated, but cannot be done unless reaction sets in.

Mrs. Blomgren, Hyde Park Observatory, 219 Elizabeth-street, Sydney; contused wound under chin and contusions on right shoulder. Miss Charlotte Blomgren (daughter of the above); dislocation of right hip and fracture of left arm. Miss Sarah Blomgren (sister of the above); slightly injured. Joseph W. Bannister, 27, residing at 21 Maystreet Pyrmont; sprained ankle and bruised knee. Charles Potter, 45, 7 Derwent-street, Glebe; severe shaking and compound fracture of the left leg. Mrs. Potter (wife of the above); contusion of both legs and a good deal shaken.

Jas. T. Thornton, 123 Lachlan-street, Waterloo; injury to shoulder. John Pye, of Petersham, fireman of the train; cut on scalp and abrasions on back.

Harold A. Bishop Brown, of Ashfield; deep cut on right cheek. Charles Maillay, of Woollahra; graze on shin. Miss Chantler, of 36 Wynyard-square, Sydney; severe fracture of left leg. Sydney Conyers, about 26, residing in Wynyard square, and employed in Existing Lines of Railways Department; fracture of right leg. George A. Bailey, 60, of 135 Queen-street, Woollahra; considerably shaken. Miss Elizabeth Crouch, supposed to reside at Pyrmont; bruised shoulder and right side; good deal shaken. Miss Elizabeth Payton, of 32 Charlotte-street, Enmore; injury to back. Miss Harriet Payton (sister of the above), left shoulder bruised ; much shaken; left side injured. Miss Ada Payton (sister of above); left ankle sprained. Miss Alice Lonergan, of Dowling-street, Moore Park; sprained ankle and slight bruise over left eye. Miss Mahony; left arm and right hip dislocated.

Miss May Mahoney, 17, of Young-street, Croydon ; fracture of right tibia and small contused wound on left leg. Taken to Prince Alfred Hospital. Miss Zitelle E, Bailey, of Queen-street, Woollahra; severely injured. Miss Louisa Hough, of Waverley; both knees bruised. James Malcolm, 22, of Granthain-street, North Shore; shaken. John Nash, 25, of the Lands Department, residing at Burwood; fracture of left thigh and leg, taken to Prince Alfred Hospital.

John Harvey, coachbuilder, Shepherd-street, Darlington; lacerated thumb and bruised hand. Miss Elizabeth Stapleton, of Woollahra; contusions and shock to system. Miss E. A. Hough, of Waverley; injury to hip. James H. Hargreaves, of 81 Forbes-street, Newtown; bruised wrist. O. H. Reed, of Balmain; abdominal injury. Henry Lane, of Amos-street, Macdonaldtown bruised hand. James West, 32, of Abattoir-road, Rosella Bay, contusion of right leg and shaken. P. Bowles, 26, living near Mort's Dock, Balmain; incised wound over right side of forehead, lacerated chin, contusion of left forearm, and much shaken. Marion Turnbull, 24, of Goodsir-street, Balmain; injury to left forearm. A few others were more or less injured, but their names were not ascertainable. 

To be continued....

Kanacki

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Re: Hawkesbury River Ghost Train: Hawsesbury: NSW
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2021, 10:17:44 AM »
THE GUARD'S STATEMENT. 

Alfred Clissold, the guard of the train, has made the following statement : — After leaving Ryde the driver found he was short of water, and could not take the train up the bank. He put back to Ryde, took in water there, and got as far as Beecroft Cutting, where the train again came to a standstill, and we found it necessary to divide it and take half the carriages on to Hornsby at one trip and return for the other half.

This was done, and the carriages which were in front on leaving Sydney were in the rear of the train for the rest of the journey. The train was re-united and started again, but after leaving Hornsby it came to a stand again. I got out and ran towards the engine to ask the driver what was the matter, but before I got to him he succeeded in starting the train again, and I jumped on to the nearest carriage, a first-class saloon, the third from the engine. As soon as we began to go down the bank (that is, the decline), I saw, by the speed we were travelling at, that the driver had lost control over the train.

I applied the break of the carriage I was on and hung on to it with all my might. I could not get to any of the other carriages to put the break on them, as I was intercepted at each side by the ordinary four-wheeled carriages with no passage through. The train was going at a tremendous rate, and it swayed backwards and forwards so as nearly to take me off my legs two or three times, hung on till the engine capsized. I heard something roll down the bank, which must have been the engine. The carriage I was on nearly capsized.

It was hanging more than half way over, and I believe it was only the strength of the coupling which saved it from falling over into the river. It was nearly full of people, and they were trying to get out through the upper windows. I propped it up with a sleeper, and helped to get the passengers out. I have been 27 or 28 years on the line and never had an accident before of any kind. If I had been on the rear carriage instead of on one in the middle of the train, it would have been impossible for me to apply the brake to more than one carriage. It has been said that some of the people were screaming as they came through the tunnels, being afraid at the speed of the train.

This is not true, so far as I saw. Some noise was caused by youths and boys skylarking as we got into the tunnels. The first thing I saw after getting out of the train after the accident was the body of Inspector Rennie laid on the bank. 

To be continued....

Kanacki

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Re: Hawkesbury River Ghost Train: Hawsesbury: NSW
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2021, 10:20:17 AM »
MR. GOODCHAP'S REPORT. 

The following report was made by Mr. Goodchap, Commission of Railways, to Mr. Sutherland, Minister for Works. As the train was nearing the station at Flatrock about 2.40 p.m., going down heavy grades through the tunnels, the brake (Westinghouse) refused to act, and the train increased in velocity until it ran with great force into some contractors' trucks on the line beyond the station.

The engine overturned into the mud and water, the unfortunate engine-driver going with it and under it. The fireman was shot out and fortunately clear of the engine, but was badly wounded in the head. The engine-driver was killed.

The saloon carriage next the engine was overturned, but on dry land, the coupling connecting it with the engine having broken when the engine fell over. Four passengers were killed on the spot, and about nine others have sustained fractures of limbs. Some 12 or 15 more are more or less injured.

News of the accident reached Sydney about 3 o'clock. Within an hour seven or eight medical men had been obtained, and, with all appliances, were conveyed to Ryde Station, at which place the authorities received intelligence that the wounded had been placed in a special train which was on its way to Ryde. It arrived at a quarter to 5, and the wounded were at once attended to. The special proceeded to the river, where some of the wounded had remained. As far as can be gathered, the failure of the brake was the cause of the accident. Further particulars are being obtained. 

To be continued....

Kanacki

Offline KANACKI

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Re: Hawkesbury River Ghost Train: Hawsesbury: NSW
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2021, 10:38:40 AM »
PROCTOR, THE POINTSMAN.

Proctor, the Peat's Perry pointsman, whose name has become almost a household word in this colony, and of whom a portrait is published in this issue, is a native of the Emerald Isle; and hails from the town of Trim, in County Meath. He was born in 1854, and is consequently in his 33rd year. He came out to this colony in August, 1881.

Finding however, that there was little opening in Sydney for one of his trade, that of a cooper, he engaged in various employments until eventually about three years ago he entered the service of the New South Wales Railway Department. The part played by Proctor in the terrible disaster which marred the Jubilee celebrations was one of strict adherence to duty in circumstances of great personal peril, demanding great nerve and presence of mind.

Owing to a train being drawn up on the main line at Peat's Ferry station, Proctor's orders were to turn the expected excursion train, into the siding ; and, with this object, he was standing by the points, when the shrill whistling of the engine, immediately followed by the appearance of the runaway train , dashing along the line at a terrific pace, made it evident that a calamity involving the most serious consequences was unavoidable.

One of three results was inevitable - either the train would leave the rails at the points, and be precipitated down the railway embankment, killing the pointsman in its descent, or it would continue on the main line and collide with the train containing some two hundred excursionists standing in the station, or (and this third depended entirely on the coolness and pluck of the points-man) it would turn into the siding, and go speeding into, a number of empty trucks.

Men who were standing near Proctor ran away ; and he himself warned a little boy who, was with him to run to a place of safety. How ever, he stuck to his post, and, exerting all his strength, put the points over, and sent the train into the siding. Had he for one moment faltered, or let go his hold, a dreadful catastrophe would have been the result, while the loss of life must have, exceeded that in any railway disaster which has ever occurred in the colonies.

Describing his action in an official report to the Premier, which was read in the Legislative Assembly on the day following the disaster, the Commissioner for Railways wrote :

The pointsman, Proctor, realised the position at once, and with great presence of mind and intrepidity held the point firmly at great personal risk ; so that the runaway train was turned into the siding where it collided with trucks and was upset, instead of rushing as it would have done into another train, the resistance of which would have greatly increased the shock and smashed the whole train. To the pointsman's firmness in this moment of supreme danger, the escape of a large number of passengers is due.

In reading this Sir Henry Parkes gave expression to the opinion that, in all reasonable probability, Proctor, by his prompt and singularly clear action, had prevented the destruction of nearly the whole of the lives in the train; Sir Henry declared his intention of asking Parliament to substantially recognise Proctor's conduct.
A number of private individuals have taken the matter in hand; and already over £125 have been subscribed for the purpose of presenting Proctor with a testimonial.

To be continued....

Kanacki

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Re: Hawkesbury River Ghost Train: Hawsesbury: NSW
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2021, 08:23:37 PM »
Did Peter Fish, Russel Peters,John Stephan, Louise Clark and Sara Thompson encounter a time slip or anniversary haunting?  None had prior knowledge of the fatal accident one hundred years earlier.

Was weather a contributing factor in the haunting? Or was it the time of year time of day a factor? No one knows if it was one off event or some thing that can happen again?

Kanacki

 


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