18 Year Old Girl Killed at Conisborough Station

December 1882

Mexborough and Swinton Times December 1st 1882

18 Year Old Girl Killed at Conisborough Station

On Tuesday morning, Mary Hannah Lane, eighteen years old, daughter of one who farms for Mrs. Woodyear, of Crook-hall, walked a mile and a half to Conisborough station and took there a ticket for the 10-15 train to Doncaster.

The time was 10-6 and most of the ticket holders had crossed the up to the platform, and the girl with Mrs. Burnistone, wife of a traction engine owner in Conisborough, was waiting for a laden coal train to pass along to Doncaster, when it had gone she took a step forward without perceiving the empty coal train coming the other way for Mitchell Main towards Mexborough, with H. Goodchild as its driver and Aneley of Doncaster as its guard.

The driver had whistled, and Mrs. Burnistone had called to her but narrowly herself escaped sharing her fate; for the engine hit her into the four-foot, and knocked her senseless, and when Mr. W. Baron the station master and others picked her up, her head was cut, her leg was broken in three places, and her ribs displaced. She was carried into the adjoining hotel, and brandy was given to her, and Dr. Sykes was sent for from Mexborough. But she didn’t recover consciousness and when the surgeon had arrived she had been dead for some time.

She had been in service up till Martinmas, and was going to take another position at Barnburgh rectory.

The inquest in case was held next morning, at the station hotel before Mr. E. Nicholson. County coroner and jury of which Mr, James Needham was foreman. Mr. Halmshaw, the traffic manager, from Doncaster was present for the railway company.

The co-owner told the jury that the case would need very little consideration, saying that the only question was as to whether there was anybody to blame, and that he believed it would be shown that the girl alone was to blame.

Then they viewed the body. The first witness was the girls farther, Robert Lane, who said: “I’m a labourer living in Crookhill lodge and my daughter was eighteen last august. She had been a servant to Mr. Geo. Wood, of Finningley, and was going to live at the Rev. W. Wares, the rectory, Barnburgh and she was yesterday on her way to Doncaster for a little time. She had breakfast with me about half past eight, and was in her usual health and spirits when she left and bade me good bye at about quarter to ten to walk to Conisborough to catch the train at quarter past. She had sent to see if there was a letter from a young woman whom she was to meet at the stationand there was.

Elizabeth, wife of Andrew Burnistone told:

“I went down to the station about ten o’clock yesterday morning to go to Doncaster, and saw Miss Lane on the platform this side. She was a stranger to me, and we were waiting for a coal train to pass from Denaby towards Doncaster. When it had gone by there was another train very near, empty coming from Doncaster. We heard no whistle from it, and Miss Lane took a step to go over to the other side and was a yard or so in front of me; and the engine hit her, and knocked her down. I had called to her “come back.” But she was knocked down as soon as soon as she could hear; and I hadn’t seen the train and myself had a very narrow escape.

I called to the train master, Mr. Baron who was just coming out of the waiting room and he had the train stopped as quickly has he could, and had the young woman removed. If there had been a whistle she would have been saved. We had no signal at all I’m good of hearing and if there had been a whistle I know I would have heard it.”

She was pressed by several questions upon this point, but adhered to her statement. “You might both have been killed,” a juryman remarked. “Oh yes” she said-“we might”.

The driver of the empty train, Henry Goodchild said:

“We were taking the train, consisting of thirty three wagons and the guard’s brake, from Doncaster to Mitchell Main; and when I had come out of the tunnel towards the station and saw that others and my train were about to pass there I whistled according to rule. On getting nearer I saw two females walking towards the end of the platform from the ticket office, and I gave some short, shrill whistles, pop-whistles, denoting danger, and the fireman shouted while the whistle was open, and I shut off steam and reversed the engine. But this young woman stepped in front of the engine and seemed to be noticing the other train”

“Just what I expected.” The coroner observed, and he asked Goodchild if he was perfectly clear as to having done all that was needful to prevent the accident? And Goodchild answered .

“Perfectly clear, and I don’t feel to deserve any blame at all.”

The Coroner invited the jury to question him, and one of them called attention to the contradiction he had given to Mrs Bernistone; and the stationmaster was asked if he heard the whistle?

He replied that he didn’t, for he was otherwise engaged.

Goodchild told that the time was 10.6.

The stoker, Frederick Jackson, said: “When we had come out of the tunnel, and we were about 250 yards from the platform, the driver began whistling, because he saw the other train about to pass the station; and he whistling more than usual, and getting closer to the station, he gave shrill whistles because he saw these two women walking towards the end of the platform.I saw the girl go on to the crossing, and that it was impossible for her to escape, but didn’t see the engine knock her down. I also shouted at the top of my voice, but couldn’t be heard.”

Mr Halmshaw said he could bring corroborative evidence after the whistling. But the coroner said:

“Well, I order the jury will be satisfied as to the whistling – for I am.”

The fireman observed that manifestly busy Burniston, was too excited to hear the whistle and said “I was excited enough, I can tell you.”

The jury meant talked the matter over, and made various remarks, and one said “I think the main fault is with the company for not providing a better road.”

“Well,” said Mr Halmshaw, “the plans are out, and a new station will be provided in a short time.”

Mr Baron, the stationmaster, yet all that he saw the young woman come to the station at 10 o’clock, and that several of the passengers were booked gone to the other side before the train arrived. “, But these two,” he said, “seem to be lingering. I was in and out of the office, busy, and didn’t see the accident and interfere. The whistling. But I’m so used to it that I should be likely to notice it.”

The coroner smiled, and said to the jury men.

“Yes – the case of the Watermill over again.”

One of them asked – “How many passengers do you book per month. Mr Baron?”

He replied – “in the summertime about 10,000.” He added that he had been 15 years at the station, and in that interval. They had only been one accident and that to a porter.

The jury taught the matter over, and one was heard saying, “it’s a disgrace to the company.” Then they returned a verdict that the death was accidental, and the foreman read this addendum –

“that, considering the enormous amount of the passenger traffic, the M.S.and L. Company be required to provide better accommodation for crossing the line at Conisborough.”

This Mr Halmshaw said again – “plans are already out and tenders are being sought for a new station, and I believe there is to be a subway.”

“Yes,” said a jury man, “and all you are likely to do is to send down some painters to paint the station, as you did before.”

“That cannot be so,” answered Mr Halmshaw, “because we are the plans already.” – And then he left; and the coroner observed in the course of after jaw that he had years of these plans been out.

It was said that the body of the young woman would become removed to Edlington church are to be buried therein near-term relatives