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SERIOUS RAILWAY ACCIDENT.
TEN TRUCKS DERAILED.
A BREAK-AWAY AT CAPE HORN.
THE DAMAGE ESTIMATED AT 1,500 pound.
Another serious accident has occurred at Cape Horn, on the Eastern Railway, about 22 miles from Perth. This point in the line is quite notorious for the accidents and mis- haps which have taken place there. The incline is extraordinarily steep, being 1 in 30, and is approached from a rather abrupt curve. Less than a month ago a collision occurred ' within a short distance of the scene of the
present accident, and the travelling public will experience a sense of relief when they
learn that the deviations on the Eastern
Railway have been completed and that this
dangerous portion of the line need no longer be used, while the officials who are respon- sible for the safety and expeditious running of the trains will be more than thankful.
The accident yesterday, occurred to the second goods train, which left the Perth station between four and five o'clock on Wednesday afternoon and proceeded to Chidlow's Well. The train was in charge of Guard McKenzie, whilst Engine-driver Cook was in charge of the locomotive. After delivering a first load at Chidlow's Well, the engine returned to Midland Junction for the balance of the loaded trucks, because it is found impossible to take a full train up the steep ascents in the vicinity of Greenmount and Darlington. There were thirteen truck's carrying provisions and machinery for the goldfields, as well as two trucks each of coal and manure. Unfortunately the guard did not bring his break-van with him, otherwise it is possible that the accident wonld not have occurred, or if a breakaway had taken place it's effects would have been greatly minimised. Returning to Chidlow's Well a halt was made at Darlington for the driver to perform some service in connection with the engine and then-whether it was that the stoppage was too sudden or the couplings too weak-a break occurred at the third truck from the engine, and the ten trucks behind it moved slowly down the incline, gradually gaining momentum as they rolled along the line, until attaining a tremendous speed, they came rushing down the steep descent at a terrible rate. It is estimated that the speed could not have been less that 100 miles an hour. Dashing down the line the waggons kept to the rails until the curre was reached, and there they oontinued their course in a straight line, falling over the embankment into the gully beneath. All the trucks were more or less damaged, most of them being completely destroyed, while some were thrown to a distance of a chain from the line, thus showing the marvellous momentum to which the train must have attained as it flew from the rails. The railway fence was smashed, and the permanent way was injured. Amongst the debris of the trucks, the goods which they had contained were thrown in hopeless confusion. Coals and manure were strewn in every direction, whilst flour, oats, chaff, tinned meats, aerated water, and broken whisky bottles were spread all about the place. The machinery was thrown to some distance, and the spectacle that was pre- sented was one of damage and destruction.
The accident occurred about one e'clook in the morning, and as soon as possible a gang of twenty men were on the scene repairing the line in order that there might be no block in the traffic. They set energetically to work, and the only deiay that occurred in the passing trains was that the two goods trains which passed the spot in opposite
directions were detained each for an hour
only, and the " down " mail had also to wait for a short period. ' The General Traffic Manager, Mr. Davies, went to the spot about six o'clock yesterday morning, and remained there until the middle of the afternoon, superintending the repairs and inspecting tbe damage. He was joined by his assistant, Mr. Hope, a couple of hours later, and both gentlemen returned to Perth about half-past four. A man has been stationed in charge of the place to take care of the goods which were lying about, and to have collected all
that remain unbroken.
A searching inquiry will be made into the causes of the accident. The coupling which gave way was attached to a truck belonging to the Midland Railway Company, and which had a load of manure to be taken to Mr. Edward Keene's vineyard. These trucks are supposed to be equal to those employed on the Government lines, and it will, therefore, be a matter for investigation whether the truck in question was up to the standard. The conditions which are usually endorsed on the Government way-bills include a clause that the Department shall not be liable for damage to a greater sum than 10pounds, but it is not intended to attempt to evade the respon- sibility, which the accident has involved on the Department. If the truck is proved not to have been up to the required standard it is still a question between the Department and the Midland Company as to what liability attaches to the latter. A rough estimate of the damage done sets it down at 1,500pounds, but there will, of course, be a more minute inquiry as to the value of the damaged property.