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Railway Widening & Tunnel
Map of the railway at the boundary of Sharnbrook parish with Wymington, showing the tunnel.
map of the tunnel site
The 60 mile markers (from London) are slightly different on the up-line from the down-line.

Wellingborough News, 18th March 1882, transcribed by Kay Collins

Fatal Accident on The Midland Railway
On Tuesday afternoon last, Mr. J. T. Parker, divisional coroner, held an inquest at the Red Lion Inn, Irchester, respecting the death of John Clark, a navvy employed on the widening at Wymington. It appears that the deceased was crossing the line near the bridge below Irchester Station to go into the village, when he was knocked down by an express train and killed. After the jury—of whom Mr. H. Saxby was foreman—had viewed the body, the following evidence was taken:—

Wm. Pepperill, a shanty keeper at Wymington, identified the body, and said that the deceased—who had been known amongst his companions by the nickname of "Soldier"—had been working on the widening for eleven weeks. Witness knew nothing of his previous history. Deceased left home on Monday morning about 7.30, saying that he was going to work, and he never afterwards returned. He had heard deceased say that he was 47 years old, and he believed that he had some letters in blue ink on one of his arms near the wrist.

Henry Ledbitter, a Midland Railway driver, deposed that on Monday he was driving the 9.30 a.m. express from London to Derby, and passed Wymington about 11.8 at a speed of about 50 miles an hour. When near Irchester station he saw a man leave the upside of the line to cross. He at once whistled, but the man did not turn his head or take any notice, and walked across right in front of the train. The engine caught him and knocked him down. It was impossible to avoid him. Witness stopped at Irchester and gave information to the station master. There was no other train near enough to have attracted deceased's attention.

Thomas Wade, fireman, gave confirmatory evidence.

George Crowson, station master at Irchester, said that on receiving information of the occurrence, he went up the line a distance of 300 or 400 yards, and found the deceased lying on the side of the down line quite dead, having apparently been struck by a passing train. He was near to a level crossing over the line.

Mr. Freeman, surgeon, of Rushden, said that he had attended the deceased ten days or a fortnight since for inflammation of the lungs. He was under the impression that he was slightly deaf. On Monday he examined the deceased's body, and found that he had sustained an incised wound on the left temple, with extensive fracture of the skull. He also had a comminuted fracture of the left leg and the left forearm, and a simple fracture of the right arm. Deceased had no tattoo marks on his arm or chest. He looked from 47 to 50 years of age. His hair was slightly grey, having previously been dark. He was about 5ft. 11in. in height.

P.C. Thomas said that he examined the clothes of the deceased, and found 2s. 7d. in money upon him, and a discharge ticket from the widening works, which he could have got cash for at Irchester to the amount of 2s. 4d. There was also in his pockets a knife, comb, box of matches, box of insect powders, and two pipes, but nothing leading to his identification.

The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death."

Wellingborough News, 13th May 1882, transcribed by Kay Collins

ACCIDENT AT THE NEW TUNNEL WORKS—An accident of a serious nature occurred at the above place on Thursday, the 4th inst. Three men having deposited the charge for blasting and ignited the fuse, found the charge did not go off. After waiting about an hour they ventured to approach to make a second attempt, but as they were in the act of removing some of the earth the explosion took place and the men were hurled something like 15 feet, and severely injured. It was thought for a time that one of the three could not live, but it is now hoped that they will all recover.

Wellingborough News, 9th September 1882, transcribed by Kay Collins

ANOTHER ACCIDENT AT THE WIDENING — On Thursday afternoon another fall of earth occurred at the railway widening near Irchester, by which a navvy named James Roberts, aged 33, was badly injured in his chest and back. The unfortunate man was afterwards conveyed to Skerry's lodging house at Wellingborough, where he has been living.

Wellingborough News, 16th December 1882, transcribed by Kay Collins

ANOTHER ACCIDENT—On the widening on Monday as a young man called "Pincer" was at work on the tunnel, his foot got in between the wheel of one of the trucks and the rails, and was fearfully mangled. He was at once taken to the Bedford Infirmary where he was attended to, and it was hoped that his foot would not have to be amputated.

Wellingborough News, 21st April 1883, transcribed by Kay Collins


Messrs. Pendered and Son

ARE instructed by Messrs. Young & Williams, sub-contractors under Thomas Oliver, Esq., To SELL BY AUCTION, on Thursday, 26th April, 1883, in consequence of the tunnel works being completed, the whole of the MATERIALS of the Workshops, Contractor's House and Offices, Workmen's Huts, and other Buildings, comprising:—150,000 good sound Bricks, deal boards, scantlings, battens, joists, sashes, doors and frames, large quantity of felt roofing, oven and boiler grates, 10,000 feet of double partitioning, &c., and the following useful buildings, which will be sold standing, the contractor's house and offices, grocer's shop and store rooms, with brick gables, roofs boarded and covered with felt, walls of double boards, the excellent interior fittings; blacksmith's shop, forage and harness rooms, brick lean-to, wooden portable office, and 20 workmen's huts, with double boarded walls, and on brick foundations. Also a great number of tables, bedsteads, grocer's shop fittings and utensils, 4 strong and useful Ponies, 8 sets of trace harness, 2-knife chaff cutter, grindstone, tools, barrels of tar, firewood, &c., also the erection of Coffee-house, built of brick and timber, containing kitchen, cook house with cooking range, and other offices, with the interior fittings.

N.B.—Special facilities for loading and delivering on the Midland main line adjoining, have been arranged.

The place of sale is about half-way between the Sharnbrook and Irchester Stations, and adjoins the road known as the "Forty-foot," which communicates with the turnpike from Wymington to Souldrop.

Sale to commence at eleven o'clock, a.m.

For more including Inquests see Railways in the Rushden section

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