#OnThisDay 2nd July: Railway carriages derailed, IRA bomb at Coventry Rail Station

On This Day 1904: Railway carriages derailed on Albany Road bridge run down the embankment and across Broomfield Road.

Although no-one was injured this accident drew crowds from all over the city to see the four railway carriages which had rolled down the bank on to the Albany Road. The accident occurred during the early hours of 2nd July 1904 when the coaches, which had been left standing on a temporary siding, ran away. The temporary siding which they had been stabled on having not been fitted with a stop block or buffers. The reason the coaching stock ran away was because the locomotive working the Swift Motor Company’s 4:55am Coventry to Birmingham excursion had entered the siding to add four more coaches and when the two sets of coaches touched the set in the siding ran away to ultimately to finish up in Albany Street.

This series of photographs would have been taken the same or following day. Unlike today, railway workers would have immediately addressed the problem and left to later any Health & Safety audits. They would have quickly arranged for the nearest railway breakdown crane to attend, which was based at Rugby, the breakdown crew would have been quickly been assembled, and any materials required quickly ordered. As can be seen, the solution to the problem of getting the coaching stock back on top wasn’t too difficult. A temporary track was laid down the bank to the road to enable the carriages to be pulled up one at a time by a locomotive. This involved the carriage being lifted by the crane, with the aid of jacks and timbers, so that it was positioned correctly on the track laid down the embankment. A cable was then connected between the carriage and the locomotive, which would then gently reverse pulling the carriage on to the siding at the top of the embankment.

Looking down Broomfield Road with three of the remaining carriages still standing across the junction with Albany Road. The fourth carriage has been removed very quickly and is now standing on the Leamington to Coventry branch line. The coaches had been left standing on a temporary siding which consequently had not been fitted with a stop block or buffers. The locomotive which was working the Swift Motor Company’s 4. 55am Coventry to Birmingham excursion had entered the siding to add four more coaches and when the two sets of coaches touched the set in the siding ran away.
Looking down Broomfield Road showing the fourth coach being prepared for removal by the installation of temporary road placed underneath. This would have involved the breakdown crew jacking up the carriage and placing sleepers underneath and at right angles to the coach. Image ‘lnwrar1544’ shows that no rail was placed underneath only rails to the front set of wheels of the coach.
View of the rear coaches which came to rest in Broomfield Road and the many spectators who came to visit. Not one of the inquisitive crowd is bare headed with some wearing the Coventry berry which was noted for its button on the top.
Looking down Albany Road towards Coventry which lay beyond the bridge and with Broomfield Road on the left. On the left is an early garage whilst immediately above the bridge a noticeboard hanging from the wires would be warning passengers to be seated as they passed under the railway bridge.

Sourced from: Warwickshire Railways

On This Day 1939: Staff are lucky to escape an IRA bomb at Coventry Rail Station.

On 23rd of March, there were four explosions in underground telephone inspection chambers. The first explosion, at 7.15am was in the Cheylesmore area, and shattered the glass in numerous windows. The bomb blew heavy pieces of metal into a nearby engineering works, and damaged telephone lines, lampposts, and surrounding houses. Three hours later, there was a similar explosion in a telephone junction box in Quinton Road which hurled fragments of the iron box and pieces of concrete paving over a wide area, and through the glass roof of a nearby factory.

During the lunch hour there was a third explosion, in an inspection chamber of the electric transformer station at Gosford Green. John Martin, a passer-by, was injured. A fourth explosion in the afternoon, in Coundon Road, hurled a heavy iron manhole cover through the roof of St. Osburg’s Roman Catholic presbytery, the church my parents and I often attended, and a Corporation bus was damaged, but nobody was injured. Balloons filled with nitric acid detonated all the bombs. The explosions disrupted many telephone lines.

In June an unexploded bomb was found near a petrol dump. They also bombed the cloakroom at Coventry Rail Station. The device exploded at 6:45 am on July 2nd. Refreshment staff had bedrooms directly above the cloakroom and eight of them had a lucky escape as fortunately, the building did not collapse. They were severely shaken but escaped injury. A couple of weeks before the deadly attack on Broadgate an allotment at the rear of Armfield Street was rocked by an explosion leaving a crater two feet deep and three feet wide.

A shed was blown to smithereens and two men were seen running from the scene onto Bell Green Road where they boarded a tram and escaped. The local I.R.A. unit stored explosives here and due to carelessness accidentally ignited them. This explains why the explosive used on August 25th was brought to Coventry from Liverpool via London. Up until this point, the police believed that an I.R.A. unit operating from Birmingham was carrying out attacks in Coventry.

Sourced from: Historic Coventry

Post Author: Admin

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