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4 corrections, most recently by anonymous - Show corrections

HURSTVILLE TRAIN

DISASTER.

JURY'S VERDICT.

A SEVERE CENSURE.

At the conclusion of the evidence at the in- quest yesterday into the death of the four victims of the Hurstville railway smash, the Jury, after an absence of three hours, found

that the deceased died from injuries acci-  

dentally received through being crushed be- tween two railway carriages in collision.

The jury added the following riders:

(1.) That, through defective lighting in the yard of the railway station at Hurst- ville and the obstruction caused by trains, tho wrong signal was given to those on train No. 273 (the empty train), thereby I causing It to leave the railway platform

before the signalman had seen the tail light of train No. 271 (Sutherland train) pass No. 4 signal.  

(2.) That, knowing signal No. 4 was irre- gular, the driver of train 271 was negligent in not immediately communicating with

the signalman.  

(3.) That there was gross indifference to "safety first" on the part of the driver of train 273, in not informing the signal- man of the irregularity, and particularly In backing his train out before being cer- tain that the position was safe.

(4.) We are further of opinion that the safety working of the department is very

lax.

(5.) We do not find that there has been culpable negligence displayed by any of- ficer of the Railway Department.

In the evidence tendered yesterday, Cecil Reginald Stevens, night officer at Hurstville, said that he had been in his present position for l8 months or two years. Since the adjournment of the inquest on Mon- day, he had gone to tho signal-box at Hurst- ville, and while a train waa at the "up" platform he looked to where a train would be standing on the "down" main line, and he was of the opinion that looking from there to the "starter," a train there would interfere with the view.

Leslie Robert Dickey said he was a signal   man, and had been at Hurstville for 11 years. He had not been connected with any train ac- cident before. When the Sutherland train departed from Hurstville thore "was a train at the "up" platform and another at No. 1 siding. While the train was standing In the "up" platform the roof of the car opposite the signal-box would obscure his view of any trains opposite on the "down" platform, and also greatly obscure his view of a train go- ing to or standing at No. 4 signal. He "let out" the Sutherland train at 5.56 p.m., and when he considered he would be able to see the tail light of that train he looked in that direction and saw a tall light or red light in a position where the train would be. He took it to be the tail light of the Sutherland train. Presently the red light disappeared behind the cars of train No. 263 and engine leading, still In No. 1 siding. A few seconds later he placed No. 4 signal to "danger." He concluded, and was sure, that the Sutherland train had passed No. 4 signal then. Train No. 273 was then approaching Hurstville. No, 2 signal for that train was lowered by him for it to run into the down platform. He lowered No. 3 signal for the engine of this train to run round, as he was under the impression that the Sutherland train had cleared the sec- tion. The engine was disconnected from this train, and ran round. He again lowered No. 3 signal for the train to back out, still not knowing the Sutherland train was there. Train No. 273 backed out and collided with the Sutherland train a fraction after 6.2 p.m.

Alexander William Thomas said he was an outdoor assistant to the signal engineer for railways. He arrived at Hurstville after the accident, and went to the signal-box about 6.30 p.m. He spoke to the signalman when he was at liberty. The signalman said he did not know how the accident occurred, and that there was nothing wrong with the sig- nalling apparatus. Late that night witness saw tests made of signals 3 and 4. In the meantime they had been in use. They were found to be working satisfactorily.  

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