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It is unfortunate to note that the life of Dundonald station did not pass without some serious accidents.


Keith Haines in his book “Human Frailty and the 1871 Ballymacarrett Rail Accident” notes the following incident on Saturday 24th February 1888:


“Similarly, the body of a labourer named Alexander Auld was found on the line at Dundonald station at 8 am on Saturday 24th February 1888. He was known to have spent the whole of the previous day drinking, and had evidently wandered into the path of an evening train from Belfast.”


Fifty years later on Friday 8th July 1938 another tragedy struck at Dundonald Station. A company “Milesman” named Thomas Walker was killed after being struck by a train just outside the station. Originally “Milesmen” (who were also known as “Lengthsmen”) were railway workers who were responsible for keeping a length of railway track in good order. Thomas Walker worked in what was known as Pollock’s Gang which indicates he wasn’t always stationed at Dundonald but probably worked at different locations as part of a group as necessary. The following extracts from the Company minutes explain what happened:



Belfast & County Down Railway


General Manager’s Report to the Board


11th July, 1938


Fatal Accident to Milesman Thomas Walker near Dundonald

on Friday 8th July


Scan from the General Manager's report book which reads: 

I regret to report that one of this Company’s Milesmen named Thomas Walker, who was engaged on the line near Dundonald Station, stepped out in front of the 9.20am down train on the 8th instant and was killed.

At the time the accident occurred the 9.0am train from Donaghadee was just in the act of leaving Dundonald Station on the Up Line of rails, and Walker’s attention was apparently directed to this train and he apparently overlooked the fact that the down train was approaching at the same time.

Walker is an unmarried man and resided in Donaghadee.




The Belfast Telegraph reported the story on 8th July 1938 as follows:








    Thomas Walker (25), Hunter’s Lane, Donaghadee, was killed when he was hit by a passing train at Dundonald railway station this morning about half-past nine.


    Walker, who was in the employment of the Belfast and County Down Railway Company, was working at a fence at the Belfast end of the platform.


    A train to Donaghadee had just reached Dundonald, and Walker, apparently unaware that a train from Donaghadee was just arriving, stepped out behind the stationary train and was killed instantly.


    He had severe head injuries, and Dr. Nixon of Dundonald, who was called to the scene, could only pronounce life extinct.


    The body was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital.



The Belfast Newletter reported the inquest on 22nd July 1938 as follows:




Donaghadee Man Who Was Killed at Dundonald


    At an inquest in Belfast, yesterday, it was revealed that Thomas Walker (26), a railway linesman, of Hunter’s Lane, Donaghadee, lost his life when two trains were passing each other at Ballybeen, Dundonald on 8th July.


    Evidence by a fellow-worker, William Thompson, senior porter, Dundonald, showed that Walker was working at a fence on the up-line. As the up-train passed the deceased stepped out of its wayand made to cross the down-line, but he was caught by the down train and killed.


    Linesman McGimpsey said that deceased left him to go and get a bar and then the two trains passed each other. Witness found him dead on the line.


    Archibald Begg, driver of the train leaving Belfast, said his engine was running tender first. He braked approaching Dundonald and was keeping a look-out. He saw the train from Donaghadee approach. Just at the end of the platform he saw a man in front of the engine. He braked hard and the man disappeared, The head porter came up and said: “You have killed a man; go on, you can do nothing.” Later, witness found human hair and blood on the engine.


    The Coroner (Mr. T. E. Alexander) said the witness had nothing to reproach himself with. He could have done nothing to avoid the accident.


    Dr. R. S. Nixon described the injuries, and said death was instantaneous from fracture of the skull and brain laceration.


    A verdict of accidental death was returned, the Coroner attaching no blame to anyone.


    The Coroner, Mr. Anderson (for the railway company), and the police expressed sympathy with the relatives, and Mr. H. Graham, solicitor, Donaghadee, returned thanks.



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