As railway workers peer over the bridge parapet a breakdown crane is preparing to lift the errant carriage. Another carriage can be seen standing in the siding. Photo courtesy Roy F. Burrows Midland Collection Trust, Midland Railway Study Centre, Derby.
The four photos on this page are of an accident at Woodlesford station which is believed to have taken place in 1910. The mishap must have happened when a train was being shunted into the station sidings with the rear carriage overshooting the buffers and plummeting down the embankment into Aberford Road.
Bradshaw's Railway Guide for 1910 shows there was one train a day from Leeds which terminated at Woodlesford and its possible that it was this working which ended up blocking the road. It left Leeds Wellington station at 5.30 a.m. and after stopping at Hunslet at 5.36 arrived at Woodlesford at 5.43.
The train was introduced in April 1910 and the most likely reason for its running would have been to bring miners from their homes in Leeds to work at the newly opened Water Haigh colliery at Woodlesford, and also to T. & R. W. Bower's pits just over the River Aire at Astley. The timetable indicates the train returned to Leeds at 7.30 a.m.
After arrival the locomotive would run round its train via the goods yard siding. After drawing forward into the siding next to the Up line it would push its carriages back across the Down line into the goods yard so as not to block the main lines for passing trains. It looks as though the accident happened after this manoeuvre went wrong. It's possible the driver applied too much steam and couldn't stop or there may have been a fault with the brakes. Another theory is there may have been a misunderstanding between the driver and the guard who would have been responsible for directing the shunting.
Whatever the reason the driver didn't stop in time and the rear of the train hit the buffers and plunged onto the road.
Another possibility, deduced from the appearance of some of the people in the crowd who are dressed in their best clothes, is that the train could have been for an excursion and they were its intended passengers.
This photo was issued as a postcard dated 9 September 1910. The jib of the breakdown crane is just visible through the trees. Experts from the Breakdown Crane Association say it had a 15 tons capacity and was built by Cowans Sheldon at their Carlisle factory. It was based at Leeds
from 1893 until 1923.
This photo was probably taken early in the morning shortly after the mishap.
A large crowd watches the carriage being lifted back up the embankment. The woman in the centre of the picture with
her hands behind her back was Eliza Booth Penn who lived in Swillington. She was the daughter of Edward Bretherick,
a coal dealer who lived at Norwich Street in Hunslet. At Woodlesford church in 1902 she married Thomas Penn,
a Staffordshire born miner. Their son, Reginald Penn, who later became the assistant enginewright at Water Haigh
colliery, told the Rothwell Advertiser in 1970 that one of the boys on the bridge was called Rowland Parkes. In 1910 he
was 5 years old. His parents were James and Eliza Ann Parkes. James was also a miner and they lived at Mosley Street
off Castleford Road in Normanton. Young Rowland was probably in Woodlesford visiting a relative of his mother whose
maiden name was Bland. Ann Bland, who lived at 31 Church Street, was a barrel washer at Bentley's brewery.