Loco swallowed by the ground - On this day in history


22 September 2016
22-September-60915.png Subsidence on the Furness Railway
The Lindal railway incident occurred on 22 September 1892

On this day in history, 1892: The Lindal railway incident occurred near Lindal-in-Furness, a village lying between the Cumbrian towns of Ulverston and Barrow-in-Furness.

Loco No.115, a D1 class 0-6-0 built by the firm of Sharp Stewart between 1866 and 1885 was busy shunting when the driver, Thomas Postlethwaite, saw cracks opening up in the ground below. Knocking off steam, he jumped for his life, no sooner clear than the earth opened up to expose a sheer-sided hole 30ft across and similar in depth. The loco fell into it front first, the funnel and front part embedded, with only the tender remaining visible above the surface. The rails on which the engine had been standing were snapped off and went down with it, while the supporting baulks under the main lines were laid bare. The adjacent up passenger line was left hanging, its ballast having cascaded into the abyss.

Recovery attempts were made and the tender was uncoupled and pulled clear, however the loco itself weighed 35 tons and getting it out would be a massive task.

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While the recovery team took a break for refreshments the hole suddenly deepened to about 60 feet – the loco falling further still until the earth closed over it and it disappeared from sight.

The loco was now beyond recovery and still lies beneath the railway, although it’s not known just how deeply it’s buried.

Pictured: Newspaper report of the incident, ‘Subsidence on the Furness Railway - Engine over an Embankment’ in the Lancaster Gazette, 24 September 1892 p8.