THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Man was killed accidentally while crossing railway track

From the News Letter, May 14, 1909

Friday, 14th May 2021, 6:00 am
The village of Castledawson, Co Londonderry

The News Letter reported on this day in 1909 that the coroner Dr McIvor had continued to hear evidence in the inquest at Castledawson into the tragic death of Joseph Murphy earlier that month.

Mr Murphy the inquest was told had been hit on the evening of May 7 at Castledawson Station by the train that was arriving in the Co Londonderry town from Belfast.

Evidence was heard from the station’s porter Mr H Hughes who said that at 3.30pm on the day in question he had seen Mr Murphy “standing at a gate” on across the line from where he was.

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Mr Hughes said that Murphy had started to cross the line even though the train was only 35 yards from the platform.

He had shouted at Mr Murphy to turn back which led him to pause momentarily and then “rush” across the line.

Mr F McKay the engine driver told the inquest that he had been “quiet unaware” that there had been anyone on the railway track until his fireman, Mr J Marks, had shouted at someone and at the same time as giving two sharp whistles before Mr McKay applied the brakes of the engine.

The jury found that Mr Murphy had met his death accidentally as he attempted to cross the line to the opposite platform.

They attached no blame to anyone involved in the incident. In a rider to their decision the jury recommended that either an overhead bridge should be built at the crossing or that “two should be on guard at each side of the line and kept on duty when trains were due”.