First Hand Accounts History The Railway


A brief report on the witness account of the guard from the police special train.

South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900), Monday 5 July 1880, page 5


Guard Bell, who was in charge of the special train which conveyed the police to the scene of action, states that the pilot engine and special train travelled at the rate of about forty miles an hour ; but at the place beyond Glenrowan Station where the rails were taken up the trains would have been travelling at the rate of sixty miles an hour, as there was an incline. The pilot engine had about fifteen minutes’ start of the special train and showed red lights behind. Of course the special train would have been stopped if it was found to be getting too close to these red lights ; but the pilot engine was necessarily sometimes out of sight, and, had she fallen down the embankment where the rails were removed, the chances against the special train pulling up to avoid the danger would have been very small. It was Bell’s intention to pull up the special train at Glenrowan Station to oil the engine. As has been already stated, the lights in the special train were put out, and, by direction of the guard, no whistle was sounded. The statement that the gang heard the train whistle must be unfounded. At Glenrowan Station the guard had to superintend shunting operations, and as he had to carry a lantern with him, and was working just in front of Jones’s Hotel, he incurred considerable personal risk. The railway arrangements there, notwithstanding the adverse circumstances, were carried out satisfactorily under Bell’s superintendence. He sent an engine towards Melbourne for line-repairers to set right the damage done by the gang. Two were got, and they reached Glenrowan about 7 o’clock in the morning, and the line was repaired before 9 o’clock a.m.

By AJFPhelan56

Father, writer, artist and bushranging historian residing in Melbourne, Australia. Author of 'Glenrowan' and the popular website A Guide to Australian Bushranging.

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