Friday, March 6, 2009

Graphic description of cow vs. train

I love Victorian-era newspapers. They can be descriptive wonders of the art of text. I suppose, seeing as this report came from the Waikato Times, a mainly rural paper in the early 1880s (28 March 1882, to be precise), it isn't surprising to see the abattoir-like description of the victim's remains. It wouldn't have turned a hair on the readers' heads.
"On Saturday the goods train, which leaves Auckland at 6.30 for Hamilton, consisting of three waggons and guard's van, met with what might have been under other circumstances a very serious accident, when about half a mile on the south side of the Papakura station. On this side of the station there is rather a steep decline, and near the bottom of it is a swamp ; about half a mile down the decline there were three head of cattle on the line, one of which instead of running off the line undertook to race the train, and before anything could be done to stop, the beast was knocked down, and the train passed right over it, cutting the beast to pieces.

"For a distance of about 30 yards it was distributed in fragments, on and alongside the line, pieces of bone, windpipe, skin, &c, being strewn about promiscuously. The three trucks and guard's van were thrown off the rails, and for a distance of 150 yards were dragged along, the wheels on one side bumping along on the sleepers, cutting into them about an inch, and the other wheels tearing up the ballast between the rails. Fortunately the line at this particular part is almost perfectly straight, for had it been at one of the curves, with which the line abounds, it must have been a more serious mishap, and might very probably have resulted in a fatal manner to those in charge.

"The passenger train arrived at Papakura and learning that a mishap had occurred, the engine at once proceeded to the scene of the accident to render assistance, and after about three-quarters of an hour's delay, the trucks and van were replaced on the line, and the goods train shunted into the Papakura siding, thus allowing the passenger train to proceed. The passenger train was then delayed an hour and 20 minutes at Mercer, as the authorities did not expect the line would be cleared so soon, and arranged that the up and down trains should pass at Mercer instead of Rangiriri."

1 comment:

  1. "Strewn about promiscuously" LOL
    I love it.
    I shall make sure to strew the compost about promiscuously in the vegie patch today ;)