The Earl of Dudley’s Railway – Accidents and incidents

Preamble


Agenoria on the Kingswinford Railway


Much has been written by others about the Pensnett or Earl of Dudley’s Railway, which developed in the mid-nineteenth century from the original Kingswinford Railway to carry coal and metal products around the Brierley Hill, Pensnett and Kingswinford area. It was centred on the Round Oak Iron Works, but extended to Ashwood in the west, Baggeridge in the north, Saltwells in the east and Cradley in the south. Most earlier work has concentrated on the development of the system its locomotives (and in particular Agenoria - see above), and the industry it served. However, the railway was an integral part of the local society, and impinged on the inhabitants in ways both good and bad. In this post I want to present some information on how the wider public perceived the railway, from a keyword search of the British Newspaper Archive for the phrases “Pensnett Railway”, “Earl of Dudley’s Railway” and “Kingswinford Railway” from the opening of the Kingswinford Railway in 1827 up to 1920. The extent and quality of this information is thus wholly dependent upon what the local newspapers thought it worthwhile to report on. As is the way with press reports, the material primarily concerns accidents that often resulted in inquests presided over by a coroner, or criminal activity that found its way to the local police and magistrate’s courts. We will thus consider firstly accidents on the railway, both to its workers and to others and then move on to consider criminal cases associated with the railway, principally small scale stealing of coal, but also some more serious incidents.


Accidents and inquests