Maghull – Its railway accident of New Year’s Day 1850

I am indebted to both Marie Borland and Roy Connell for providing information to me about the fatal accident at Maghull Station (Lancashire Yorkshire Railway) on 1st January 1850 where 3 people were killed.

A Board of Trade investigation took place following the accident I understand. Below is summary of the fateful events of that night although I am not presently sure of the source of the information:-

‘A terrible tragedy occurred at Maghull Station at around 9pm on 1st January 1850. A number of passengers were waiting for a train carriage to be added to a crowded Preston to Liverpool train. It was a foggy night and many were stood on a line, and failed to see an approaching luggage train heading from Colne to Liverpool. Three people were killed instantly. An inquest found that the luggage train had left Ormskirk before it should have done and returned a verdict of manslaughter against the driver and guard. They were both acquitted at the assizes in April when the prosecuting counsel withdrew the charges. The judge Baron Alderson, told the court ‘I have grave doubts whether people who run across the rails on a railway are entitled to be protected.’

I had not previously been aware of this accident so if there is more detail out there please, as always, come back to me about my postings.

Note:- I have been informed that the information was published on the Liverpool Hidden History Facebook pages, so happy to give credit to that source. I have also found a write up about the crash in Mona Duggan’s ‘The people of Ormskirk’ book published in 2011.