When Thomas tried to get to the other side of Bradford

The following image will be familiar to many, often annoted with the caption ‘Oh Shit’. The incident dates from 1895 at the Gare Montparnasse, Paris. Of course such incompetence could never have occurred in Victorian Britain, or could it?


I confess a combination of surprise and amusement to have come across the following illustration in the Bradford Illustrated Weekly Telegraph of 1891 featuring an accident much closer to home in Nelson Street, Bradford. In its day this must surely have been quite a sight to behold.

1891-09-05 bwt nelson st

Nelson Street, Bradford – 1891 

The Fat Controller was so cross with Thomas that he said he would never allow a cross-Bradford rail link. Sadly this meant that Thomas could never meet his friends on the Midland line.

POSTSCRIPT. What happened in 1891 was not the end of it. I have been informed that there were at least three other instances in the Bradford district of runaway trains and spectacular crashes. In November, 1964 there was an incident at the former Adolphus Street station (picture below – thanks to Kieran Wilkinson for bringing this to my attention). In 1916 as well as in 1885 there were accidents involving runaway trains at Windhill. (Detail of the Windhill accidents from the Bradford T&A)


Henry landed with a big bump.


John Dewhirst @jpdewhirst

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Link to other features on this blog about Bradford railway history

You will find links from the menu above to other features I have published online about the history of football in Bradford and Bradford City in particular. I contribute to the BCAFC match day programme and you can also find archive images as well as a number of book reviews. The links provide free, accessible history about BCAFC based on substance rather than soundbites.