The following contemporary account relating to the construction of the Settle - Carlisle railway appeared on page 3 (columns 3 & 4) of the September 30th, 1871 edition of the Lancaster Guardian.
A FATAL ACCIDENT. – On Tuesday, the 26th instant, T. Brown Esq., coroner, held an inquest on the body of George McConnel, who lost his life through an accident on the Batty Green tramway, on Saturday, the 23rd inst. George McConnel, who was a very quiet and civil man, was well known in the surrounding neighbourhood as an itinerant razoer grinder. Latterly he had been much employed in gathering rags, and in this occupation he visited the huts on Bleamoor on Saturday, the 3rd inst. Every Saturday afternoon a train starts from the tunnel to take people who wish to go to buy their week’s provisions at Batty Green. The train is known as the market train. James Oldfield, the guard of the train, who was the principle witness at the inquest, said that the market train, which started from the tunnel about 2 p.m. consisted of two wagons and an engine. On the arrival of the train at Jericho, about 2.30 p.m., George McConnel asked to be allowed to ride to Batty Green. There were about ten passengers in the train who were all requested to sit down at the bottom of the wagons. The deceased, who disregarded the caution, sat down on the far end of the first wagon. When the had travelled almost a quarter of a mile, as the guard saw that the points were wrong, he called out to George Dudley, the driver to pull up when he at once threw off the steam and reversed his engine. On the points being adjusted the engine was started when the passengers were again cautioned to sit down and hold tight. At starting the trucks gave a jerk, when George McConnel fell from his seat on to the line. The guard calling out to the driver “Stop the engine, a man has fallen overboard,” the engine was stopped and reversed. The guard, who ran to the assistance of McConnel, found him under the second wagon in the centre of the tramway. After giving him some water to revive him, he put him into the wagon when he was conveyed to Mather’s “Welcome Home.” After he had been seen by Dr. Green and his assistant, Dr. ?Haighton?, he was conveyed in Mr. Ashwell’s spring cart to his house in Ingleton. It appeared that the deceased in his fall had been caught on the lower part of his body and right thigh between the buffers. On Sunday, the 24th instant, about 2.30 p.m. George McConnel died, in his ??th year of age. The purport of the verdict was that George McConnel was injured fatally by accidentally falling from a railway truck while it was in motion. – The jury, who sympathised with the widow of the deceased, raised her a small sum of money by subscription.
FATAL ACCIDENT AT THE VIADUCT. – On Tuesday, the 26th instant, a sad and fatal accident happened at the viaduct near Batty Green. The deceased, David Davis, a Welshman, who had not been employed on the works more than a week or two, has left at the age of 32 years a widow and four children. At the time of the accident, Davis had been assisting Abraham Miller to raise by means of a crane, a stone three tons weight. Through some cause the deceased left his proper place and went under the jib end of the crane. While he was standing about 12 feet away from the stone a portion of the check gearing broke off and struck the deceased on the head. His skull was fractured, and a deep wound made. He fell down speechless and shortly expired. The deceased was taken to the Railway Inn, where T. P. Brown, Esq., deputy coroner, held an inquest on the body on Wednesday the 27th inst. Charles Hirst, foreman over the works, Abraham Miller, who worked with the deceased, and Joseph Turner, foreman over the carpenters at Batty Green, were examined at the inquest. The last witness produced a plan of the crane, which was a patented one, and the portion of metal which had broken off, and caused the accident. The coroner tested the witnesses as to the strength of the crane. According to their testimony the machine was calculated to lift from eight to nine tons. It had frequently lifted stones four or five tons each. The stone which was being lifted at the time of the accident took place had been lifted by it before. No blame was attached to anyone for the accident. The verdict was "Accidentally killed by a portion of a crane falling upon the deceased David Davis."
A JUVENILE TREAT. - For some time the friends of youth at Batty Green had contemplated treating the children of the day and Sunday schools, and on Tuesday the 26th inst. the long-fostered intention was very successfully carried out. At 2 p.m. about sixty scholars met at the school room, when they were put in marching order, and, headed by Mr. Tiplady, the railway Missionary, they walked in procession up the road. When they were brought to a stand, they sang many of the little hymns the had learnt at school with much animation, After they had warbled their juvenile melodies to the delight of the inhabitants who listened to their music, the children were marched on the Settle Road as far as the residences of Mr. W. H. Ashwell and Mr. Vickers, where, to the delight of Mrs. Ashwell and Mrs. Vickers, they again sang some of their school melodies. The ladies expressed the pleasure they had derived from the children's visit. The children then returned to the school, where they were plentifully supplied with hot tea, buns and spice bread by Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Tiplady, and others. After tea, the children amused themselves in various games on the moor. Mr. Smith, Mr. Hirst, and Mr. Burgoyne afforded them much diversion by throwing amongst them nuts, pears, sweets, &c. The children also ran for prizes. At 7.30 p.m., a public meeting was held in the school-room, when every available space was crowded to excess. The entertainment was commenced by Messrs. G. Hoskins, J. Hirst, J.W.T. Smith, and T. Adams, who greatly interested the meeting by their performances on hand bells. Mr. Tiplady, who occupied the chair, made a few remarks suitable for the occasion, after which he gave a reading entitled "A good Word for Wives," which was well received. Mr. George Keate sang "The Hazel Dell," accompanying his voice with the harmonium. The song was well rendered, and gave satisfaction. Messrs. Shipham, Buckley, Geeson, White, T. Burgoin, T.H. Burgoin, and Miss Combs, by their singing added much to the interest of the meeting. A working man gave a song, which, on account of a hearty encore, was repeated. Mr. Price gave an interesting recitation. The humour, mirth and drollery of some of the performers was of such a character that the meeting was kept in a constant state of excitement. The entertainment given in March was of a most interesting character, but then the persons who took part in the meeting were strangers: on this occasion, however, the performers were connected with Batty Green, and the entertainment was considered quite as successful and interesting as its predecessor.
The text quoted above was manually transcribed from a microfiched copy of the newspaper by Mark R. Harvey during a visit to Lancaster Library on July 10th, 2007.