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Killed By Being Struck By The Buffers Of An Engine On The M. S. & L. R.

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I came across this "story" whilst researching my wife's family history.

When I first received the certificate of death for this individual, which states that Thomas Pye was "killed by being struck by the buffers of an engine on the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway", I thought it worth further investigation and had a look through various newspaper reports in Sheffield Central Library.

I have summarised some of these below.

From the details given , I would best guess that the incident took place roughly where the now lifted, Rotherwood Exchange Sidings had once existed, though these were not laid until well after the accident described.

THE SHEFFIELD INDEPENDENT Saturday, 28th August 1858; Issue No: 2028; Volume 39; Page 8 [abstracted entry]

RAILWAY ACCIDENT – Yesterday, T. Badger, Esq., Coroner, held an inquest at the Infirmary, on view of the body of Thomas Pye, of Handsworth Woodhouse, who was killed on the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire Railway, about a mile and a half on this side of Woodhouse Junction, on Wednesday. The deceased, who was 58 years of age, was employed as a plate-layer on the railway, and on Wednesday was at work, with James Lyne, Henry Barnes, and another man, in a cutting near Highfield Spring wood. When they ceased work for dinner, a few minutes after 12 o'clock on Wednesday, deceased took his dinner and smock from the side of the cutting, and turned down the side of the rails towards Sheffield, saying he would go and have dinner in the wood, as it would be warmer. At this moment, the 11:47 passenger train from Eckington was passing on its way to Sheffield, and a luggage train on its way to Hull. Lyne and Barnes were going in the opposite direction to deceased, but turned round immediately the train had passed, and saw him lying beside a telegraph post on the embankment. They went to him, and found him in a helpless state, having evidently been struck by the engine of the passenger train, which, however, had not pulled up. Assistance was obtained, and the engine of a coal train, which shortly afterwards arrived at the place, on its way from Sheffield to New Holland, was stopped and detached, for the purpose of conveying the injured man to Sheffield. Deceased reached the Sheffield Infirmary between one and two o'clock, and died of his injuries about an hour afterwards. John Blythe, of Burley Street, Sheffield, the engine driver, appeared before the Jury and stated that he saw deceased and the other three men near the line when he was about 50 yards from them, but at this time they were all sufficiently far off the rails to be out of danger, and he consequently did not whistle. Immediately after noticing them, he stepped to the other side of the engine to attend to something, saw no more of them, and did not know that any one had been injured until informed by the station master at Sheffield some time after his arrival there. It is supposed that, from the noise of the luggage train, deceased did not hear the passenger train, and in attempting to step upon the line just when it was approaching, was struck by the buffers. He was evidently thrown a considerable distance, and struck with great violence against the telegraph post. Mr. Hart, house surgeon at the Infirmary, stated that the man had died from rupture of the bladder and fracture of both hip bones. – The Jury returned a verdict of Accidental death.

THE SHEFFIELD TIMES Thursday, 26th August 1858; Issue No: 687; Page 4 [abstracted entry]

FATAL RAILWAY ACCIDENT – About noon yesterday a fatal accident occurred at the station at Woodhouse Junction of the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire Railway. About half past one o'clock Thomas Pye, a plate-layer, 60 years of age, was crossing the line at the junction named, in order to resume his work, when he was overtaken by the 1st and 2nd class passenger train from Eckington, which was going at a rapid speed and fatally injured. One of the buffers of the engine struck the unfortunate man, and drove him a considerable distance up the line. When he was picked up he was found to be severely injured, and was removed to the Sheffield Infirmary in the New Holland train which passed shortly afterwards. He arrived at the Infirmary about half-past two o'clock, and died shortly afterwards. An inquest will, in all probability, be held to-day.

THE SHEFFIELD TIMES Saturday, 28th August 1858; Issue No: 689; Page 4 [abstracted entry]

FATAL RAILWAY ACCIDENT – Yesterday, at the Infirmary, before T. Badger, Esq., coroner, an inquest was held on the body of Thomas Pye, a platelayer, who lived at Woodhouse. It appeared from the evidence that about twelve o'clock last Wednesday morning the deceased, who had been working near the Woodhouse Junction Station, took his coat in his hand, and told his companion that he should go to the wood corner to eat his dinner. He walked by the side of the line for a short distance, and was then overtaken by the first train from Eckington. The buffer of the engine struck him on the back, and drove him against a telegraph post, a distance of eight or ten yards. When picked up he was found to be severely injured, and was immediately conveyed to the Infirmary, where he died shortly after admission. At the time the accident happened a luggage train was passing on the other line, and it is supposed that the noise of that train prevented the deceased from hearing the Eckington train. – A verdict of "Accidental death" was returned.

Thomas Pye was interred at the burial ground of the Parish Church of St John, in the parish of Park, St John, Sheffield on 28-08-1858.

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