MYTHOLMBRIDGE VIADUCT INCIDENT AND
RAIL-REPLACEMENT OMNIBUSES

[Source: Alan Young]


Extract from Thomas Normington The Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway (1898) pp 113-115
On Sunday, December 13th, 1865, when at the morning service at St. Mary’s Church, Wakefield, a telegram was brought to me to the effect that Mytholm Bridge Viaduct had fallen, and the line was blocked to Holmfirth. This viaduct is situated between Brockholes Junction and Thongs Bridge Station, on the Holmfirth Branch. In the valley, close by, there stood an old corn mill, worked by a water wheel. The old miller, who lived beside the Mytholm Viaduct, was named England. He happened to be stirring about early that morning. And on hearing the crash he saw what had occurred, and, fortunately, he had the presence of mind to remember that a passenger train was about due to pass from Huddersfield to Holmfirth. He immediately hastened up the embankment to the railway, and ran on the line towards Brockholes Junction Station, and was just in time to stop the train, which was leaving at 6-59 a.m. for Holmfirth. The distance from the viaduct to the Junction Station is about nine hundred yards, on a very sharp curve. Had it not been for the prompt action taken by the good old miller of the Mytholm valley, a most serious accident would have happened, as there was nothing to prevent the engine and train of carriages running off the line into the valley beneath, a drop of about fifty yards.

On receiving the telegram I immediately left the church, and went to the station and got an engine, which took me to the scene of the accident, when I saw that all communication by railway with Holmfirth was destroyed for at least twelve months, I began to consider what was the best thing to do under the circumstances. I telegraphed at once to the secretary and general manager at Manchester, giving particulars as to what had occurred. I then took a survey of the surrounding neighbourhood, with the view of establishing an omnibus service between Holmfirth and Brockholes Station, in connection there with the trains; but I found the ground so rugged, and the roads so narrow and bad, that it was impossible for an omnibus to travel there. Later on in the day one of our directors came over, when I told him what I had done, and that it was not possible to run omnibuses from Brockholes to Holmfirth. I recommended that the service of omnibuses should run between Honley Station and Holmfirth, which was eventually agreed to. I then waited upon an omnibus and cab proprietor, of Huddersfield, and arranged with him for the omnibus service, six each way per day. He asked me to arrange to pay the toll bars, there being three to pass through on the journey. Finding these toll bars were taken on the contract principle, and the person who held the contract resided in the toll-bar house at Lockwood, I waited upon him there, with the view to arrange to pay monthly, but this he would not agree to, and although I offered him five pounds per month, he still insisted on being paid every time an omnibus or vehicle belonging to the Company passed through the bar. I thought this would be very inconvenient for the ‘bus drivers to do, and knowing that we carried mail bags daily, by trains from Huddersfield to Thongs Bridge and Holmfirth, and that a mail bag cleared the ‘bus toll, I at once arranged for a mail bag to be conveyed by every ‘bus. A week or two afterwards I received a letter from the toll-bar contractor, to say that since our interview he had re-considered the question of the omnibus service that ran between Honley and Holmfirth, and had decided to accept what I had offered, five pounds per month. I replied that since our interview I had re-considered the question, and made other arrangements, and could not now alter them. The omnibus service was transferred to the manager of the Manchester Carriage Company, December 21st. The viaduct was opened for traffic and trains passed over on Monday, March 11th, 1867, thus dispensing with the omnibus service and the old toll-bar contractor, who, from his own avariciousness, lost fifteen five pound notes.




 

 

 

[Source: Alan Young]




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