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Thursday, 24 April 2014

Villagers to the rescue in a major rail accident

WHILE the rest of Britain was worrying about the increasing possibility of war with Germany, Kirkby swung into action to deal with a major rail accident on August 25 in 1939.

The fate of invaded Poland was pushed off the front of the Evening Mail by news of 30 injuries as two excursion trains were involved in a collision at Kirkby station.

Some villagers had just got off a packed train returning from Southport when a following train, not due to stop until Millom, ploughed into the back of it.

Coping stones were torn from the edge of the platform and there was shattered wood and glass everywhere.

The smoke-box door of the rear steam locomotive was ripped off its hinges and pushed inside.

The newspaper report noted: “Villagers and first aid workers assisted with the treatment and removal of the injured passengers.

“The first aid workers were on the scene throughout the night.

“The accident occurred at 1.45am when Kirkby passengers had just alighted from the train. Those who escaped injury were able to render assistance and Dr Menzies and D Southern were soon on the scene.

“A call for ambulances was sent to Ulverston and Dalton and the North Lonsdale and Ulverston Cottage Hospitals were warned to be in readiness to receive casualties.

“Three of the more seriously injured were taken to the North Lonsdale Hospital, including the guard of the stopping train.

“People living adjacent to the station, awakened by the crash, turned out to render assistance, and made tea for the less seriously injured passengers.

“They also assured a plentiful supply of hot water for the first aid workers.”

The passengers included a party of 54 from Millom Baptist Church.

Mrs Thomas, of Lonsdale Road, Millom said: “The crash came like a bomb and I thought at first that we had gone over the viaduct.

“The crash threw someone on top of me, my glasses were broken and the windows smashed. The lights went out and people struck matches.

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