19 AUGUST 1876, Page 15


[To THE EDITOR OR THE " STEoTAMEM Sin,—The recent accidents on the Great Western and Somerset and Dorset Railways may make it worth while to mention the following fact, as illustrating the occasional unpardonable care- lessness of railway officials.

On Friday, the 11th inst., I was returning from Stoke-upon- Trent to Newcastle-under-Lyme, a distance of about a mile and a half over a single line, and part of it through a tunnel. Owing to the Stoke wakes, the trains were late, and a special was de- spatched for Newcastle to relieve the 8.20 p.m. train from Stoke to Market Drayton. This was at about 8.35, the latter train being detained till later. I went on by the special, and when we had got a little distance out of the station, we were detained for some ten minutes, the signal (both the arm and the light) being dead against Us. There was some shouting between the guards and engine-drivers, and one of the former appeared to have been back to the station. When he returned he shouted out to the driver, "Have you got the staff?" and on the latter's replying in the affamative, the guard shouted, "All right, go on." We then proceeded quickly through the tunnel to Newcastle, where we fortunately arrived safely, though the signal had not been changed in any way. Many people in the train saw it, and it is thought here that there will some day be an accident on this bit of single line. The fact of the driver's having the staff was only proof of there not being another train on the line, not of there being no other obstacle. I have written on the subject to the station-master of the North Staffordshire Railway at Stoke, but have received no answer up to the present time, and I cannot see what explanation could be given. I now write to you, for the sake of the public.—I am, Sir, &c.,