HC Deb 31 March 1909 vol 3 cc456-7W

asked the President of the Board of Trade, with reference to the recent outrage on the Midland Railway between Grindleford and Dore and Totley Stations, if he is aware that Mr. Blackwell, the assaulted person, pulled the communication chain two minutes after leaving Grindleford Station, and that the train travelled three and a half miles before stopping at Dore and Totley Station; that Mr. Blackwell was informed by the guard that the latter noticed that the brakes were on, but he thought that this was caused by the driver being pulled up by the signals being against him, so that Mr. Blackwell failed in his endeavour to communicate his need for help to the conductors of the train; that officials of the Midland Railway have called upon Mr. Blackwell, expressing to him their opinion that he was not attacked and that they could not believe any of his statements; and what action he intends to take in these circumstances for the protection of the travelling public?


The pulling of the communication chain causes an application of the brakes, and though the guard of a train may attribute this application to the driver having put on the brakes, the driver cannot have the same ground for not noticing that the communication apparatus has been used, and it is on the driver and not on the guard, that the duty of stopping the train lies. In the present case both the driver and guard state that the brakes were not applied until the train was leaving the tunnel, 1 mile 660 yards from Dore Station, and within a short distance from Dore West signal cabin. I am informed that the instructions issued to the company's drivers are to the effect that when he observes that the brake is being applied he must infer that the communication chain has been used, and must stop his train with as little delay as possible, but must exercise his, discretion in stopping, as it is undesirable to bring the train to a stand on a bridge or in a tunnel or other places of a similar character.