Local newspaper stories recounting the construction of... Queensbury Tunnel

Local newspaper stories recounting the construction of… Queensbury Tunnel

Diary of accidents, incidents and events

Reports on the construction work

A walk through the works

A walk over the works

Bradford, Thornton and Keighley Railway

Great activity is now being displayed in sinking the shafts of the great tunnel for this railway close to Queensbury, and half a dozen of the eight shafts have been already begun. On Wednesday an engine and boiler arrived at Beggarington to be used in connection with a tramway at Black Hill for raising and lowering trucks for conveying the earth to the new station at North Bridge. After mill-losing, large numbers of visitors proceed every evening to watch the progress of the works. At Strines’ shaft the accumulation of water has necessitated the sinking of another shaft lower down in order to carry it off.

Saturday 25th July 1874: Halifax Courier

Sharp practice on the Bradford, Thornton and Keighley Railway

The contractors for the above line, being restricted to a certain period for having it completed, the responsibility of it being ready in time has fallen chiefly on the managers of the heaviest portions at Clayton and Queensbury, where the tunnels are being pushed forward with the utmost possible despatch.

Last Thursday the manager on the Queensbury side received intimation by telegram that a semi-portable engine, to be used in sinking one of his shafts, would be sent from Leeds by traction engine on Friday night, and would arrive in Bradford early on Saturday morning. A party of men, and a supply of water, were accordingly sent to meet it at the last-mentioned place, but on their arrival no engine was to be found. Afterwards it was discovered that the manager on the Clayton side, having got wind of its approach and being unwilling to miss such a prize, had gone at a still earlier hour to intercept it, and had diverted it to his own use.

The Queensbury manager, however, who was at a stand for want of his engine, was naturally dissatisfied with the arrangement, and having viewed the ground and laid his plans overnight, went to Clayton yesterday, while the coast was clear, taking a large body of men and sixteen horses along with him, and brought away the missing engine to its proper destination at Beggarington, where it arrived at 4pm.

Monday 17th August 1874: Bradford Observer

Fatal accident at Queensbury

On Saturday evening a fatal accident occurred on the Halifax, Thornton and Keighley Railway, at No.1 Shaft near Beggarington, Queensbury. The shaft is being sunk for driving the tunnel under Queensbury in connection with the above railway, and is worked by a semi-portable engine. The iron cage had been raised to the mouth of the pit, which had also been covered up, when for some unexplained reason the engine-tenter, William Saddle, started his engine, and drew the cage up to the pulley, where the rope broke, setting free the cage, which broke through the wooden doors at the top of the shaft and fell to the bottom, striking three men who were down at work. One of them, Richard Sutcliffe, a sinker, aged thirty, of Range Bank, Halifax, was struck on the head and instantly killed. Two other men, named John Price and Thomas Dyson, masons, were also severely injured. They were taken to the Halifax Infirmary, and Dyson is reported to have died since. The inquest will be held tomorrow at the Royal Oak Inn, Ambler Thorn.

Monday 12th October 1874: Bradford Observer

Accident on the new line

On Wednesday morning, as a heavy railway truck, loaded with iron rails, was being drawn up the incline, on the works of the Great Northern Railway at Royd Hill, the last link of the chain broke at the end of the strong wire rope to which it was attached. The truck was near the brow of the hill, and on being released soon acquired such velocity that it flew into the air, where it discharged its cargo, and alighting on the wheels, the rebound of the springs caused it to turn a somersault into a small reservoir. The man in charge, who was seated on the chain when it broke, dropped down to the ground and escaped unhurt.

Saturday 16th January 1875: Halifax Courier

Extraordinary robbery near Queensbury

On Saturday afternoon a well-dressed man, named Barney Kelly, arrived at the Malt Shovel Inn, Ambler Thorn, Queensbury, and inquired for lodgings, stating that be had lately come from America and was going to work at No.2 shaft on the new tunnel of the Great Northern Railway. Two labourers accompanied him from Halifax in order to carry his trunk, which was brass bound and very heavy, and was left in an adjoining room while the party spent about an hour drinking in the tap room of the inn. They left together, and the two labourers immediately returned for the trunk, which they were seen carrying through Shibden Head about five o’clock.

The owner on finding it gone raised an alarm, and applied to the neighbouring constable, but nothing was heard of the trunk until early on the following Monday morning, when it was found rifled of its contents in a field close at hand. Among the articles left behind in the field were part of a revolver and a number of bullets, a return “passage” to America, two pairs of Wellington boots, a green sash and harp, supposed to be the insignia of the Fenian brotherhood etc.

The owner states that the trunk originally contained greenbacks, and property to the value of £50, and threatens the landlady of the inn with an action for recovery. The robbers were traced as far as Great Horton, but have not yet been come up with.

Thursday 11th February 1875: Bradford Observer

A dangerous fellow

At the West Riding Court, Halifax, on Saturday, Robert Bell, an engine-tenter, for whom Mr Storey appeared, was charged with being drunk whilst at work on the previous day. Major Ormsby stated that the defendant was in charge of the shaft in connection with the Beggarington tunnel, near Queensbury, on the Halifax, Bradford and Thornton line, now in course of construction. This was about midnight on Friday, and he was drunk. One of the managers called for a policeman, and the defendant was taken into custody.

There were five men in the shaft at the time, and owing to the defendant being drunk they had a narrow escape of being killed whilst ascending the shaft. Mr Storey submitted that as the defendant was not drunk in a public place, he could not be convicted for that offence. The defendant was discharged; but we understand that a summons is to be taken out against him under the Master and Servants Act.

Monday 15th February 1875: Bradford Observer

Bone setting extraordinary

About ten o’clock yesterday morning, a labourer on the works of the Great Northern Railway at Queensbury, while unloading a truck on the incline at No. 4 shaft, got his foot caught by a balk, and fell backwards across the wire rope. Several of his companions, who ran to his assistance, finding him insensible, and thinking, from the position in which he was lying, that his neck was dislocated, immediately took hold of him by the head and shoulders, and by main force pulled it back again. They state that they distinctly heard the bones give a loud “crick” on being replaced. He still remained unconscious, and after being carried home, was attended by the company’s doctor, Mr John Fawthrop, but revived in the course of a few hours. One of his legs was also badly twisted and grazed by the fall.

Thursday 25th March 1875: Bradford Observer

Accident on the new line

On Tuesday, several trucks, three of which had been “spragged”, were carelessly left on the slope of the incline by the workmen at Royd Hill, on the works of the new railway, and started off downwards and were smashed to pieces at the bottom.

Saturday 12th June 1875: Halifax Courier

Very dangerous

Yesterday two gentlemen were driving through Queensbury in a two-wheeled vehicle, and at Hill Top where the tramway crosses the Denholmegate Road, a man suddenly seized the horse’s head and held it back, otherwise the gentlemen would probably have been killed, for loaded waggons came along and passed over the crossing at great speed – they would in all likelihood have crushed the occupants of the vehicle. It really is too bad that so little protection is afforded to the public at this place. What are the authorities doing?

Saturday 19th June 1875: Halifax Courier

Accident on the new line

About seven o’clock on Wednesday morning a labourer on the works of the new line of railway at Netherton, John Swires, known as “Punch”, was run over by a locomotive coming down the incline. For some unexplained reason he failed to get out of the way in time although the driver whistled. His right leg was taken off below the knee, and also the toes of his left foot. He was lifted on to the engine and carried to the Halifax Infirmary, and died there on Thursday.

Saturday 3rd August 1875: Halifax Courier

Gunpowder accident

On Wednesday evening a workman named John Fisher, a native of Wakefield, was engaged in drawing an unexploded charge of powder in No.4 shaft on the works of the Great Northern Railway, near Queensbury, when it exploded and injured his face and eyes, so that he had to be led back to his lodgings by his companions.

Saturday 10th July 1875: Halifax Courier

Fatal accident on railway

On Sunday morning another fatal accident occurred on the Bradford and Thornton Railway, near Queensbury. About half past nine a plumber, named Henry Ingham, of Denholme, aged 37, was killed whilst employed in No.4 shaft. He and a companion were repairing some piping which was out of order at an altitude of 30 yards from the bottom (the shaft being altogether 90 yards deep) when, in leaning over the tub, Ingham overbalanced himself and fell to the bottom into the water, which is five or six yards deep. His dead body was recovered soon after.

An inquest on the body was held by Mr Barstow on Monday, at the New Dolphin Inn, when the overlooker of the works stated that ropes were kept for the safety of men working in the shaft, and that if they did not use them it was their own fault. Verdict – “Accidental Death”.

Saturday 31st July 1875: Halifax Courier# Indecent assault by a navvy

James Nuttall, a navvy employed on the Halifax, Bradford and Thornton Railway, and residing at Queensbury, was charged before the borough justices, on Thursday, with committing an indecent assault upon a young woman, daughter of the woman at whose house he lodged. The assault, which took place early the same morning, was proved, and the prisoner was sent to gaol for six months, with hard labour.

Saturday 14th August 1875: Halifax Courier

Another fatal accident on the Halifax, Thornton and Keighley Railway

Shortly before nine o’clock yesterday morning, a banksman, named Sutcliffe Hodgson, aged twenty-seven, and residing at Priestley Hill, near Queensbury, was killed under shocking circumstances at No.1 shaft on the works of the tunnel near that village for the Bradford, Halifax and Thornton Railway.

The landing stage on which he was standing at the time of the accident had been drawn back from the mouth of the shaft, and the catch not having been put on, it slipped back about eighteen inches, causing him to fall headlong down the shaft, which is forty-four yards deep, into the tunnel. He was killed instantly. About seventeen feet from the bottom some scaffolding was fixed, a plank of which he broke in his fall, and those who went to his assistance had to go round by the adjoining shaft in order to get at the place.

The body was taken up in a fearfully mangled condition, the head having been knocked quite flat, and many bones broken. It was carried to his house at Priestley Hill, where its arrival caused considerable excitement in the neighbourhood, to which his family also belonged. He leaves a young wife, to whom he was married quite recently.

Thursday 2nd September 1875: Bradford Observer

Narrow escape on the new line

About eight o’clock on Monday morning two pipe fitters named John Weatherall and George Wright, had a narrow escape from drowning in No.2 shaft of the working of the new line of railway near Queensbury. They were descending the shaft to their work, and it is believed they were being lowered by the brake as the tub in which they were standing was sent down into five or six yards of water at the bottom. One of them climbed up the rope, but the other man being a heavy man went down with the tub. He managed, however, to escape with a ducking as they were immediately drawn up.

Saturday 11th September 1875: Halifax Courier

Accident on the new line

About nine o’clock on Monday morning, a labourer named Joseph Gibson, employed as a platelayer in the tunnel for the Bradford, Thornton, and Keighley Railway near Queensbury, was severely injured in the head and body by a large stone which fell from the roof or from one of the trucks near which he was working in the dark. The blow on his head was so severe as to penetrate the skull and cause the brains to protrude. He was removed to Halifax Infirmary.

Saturday 18th September 1875: Halifax Courier

Land slip – narrow escape by forty men

On Wednesday morning, an accident, fortunately unattended with any very serious results, occurred at the mouth of Queensbury tunnel, Hole Bottom. By the incessant rain of the two previous days, the ground had become so sad and heavy that the timber, which supports the roof of the entrance to the tunnel, gave way, bringing down a large quantity of earth, which completely blocked up the entrance.

About forty men were at work at the time, and Mr Albrighton, inspector of the works, accompanied by Mr Slater, tunnel steward, had barely got far enough into the tunnel to escape being crushed. Every effort was at once made by those working on the outside to rescue the men from their dangerous imprisonment, and in a short time a small opening was affected into what is called the top heading. Through this the men were drawn one after another, all luckily escaping unhurt. Already, the air had begun to feel very bad, and in a short time suffocation must have ensued.

Saturday 23rd October 1875: Halifax Courier

Dreadful accident near Queensbury – two killed and four injured

Yesterday morning, at about twenty minutes to four o‘clock, a very serious accident happened on the Bradford, Thornton and Halifax Railway, near the Ovenden end of Queensbury tunnel, under Royd Hill, by which two miners, named Henry Jones and John Gough, were killed, and four others injured.

It appears that the works in this tunnel are being pushed on with great vigour, three shifts of men being employed, each shift consisting of about twenty men. At the time named, the men had fired a number of “shots”, and were returning to their work under the impression that all the blasts had exploded, when they found that one of them had missed fire. The two men, Jones and Gough, immediately set about withdrawing the shot, when it suddenly exploded, and they were instantly killed, and four others were more or less injured. One of them, John Rowley, the most severely injured, was removed to the Halifax Infirmary, where it was found that he was suffering from a compound fracture of the arm and injuries to the head.

Mr Albrighton, the inspector of the works, was quickly on the spot, and rendered every assistance to the unfortunate men. The bodies were removed to the Olive Branch Inn, Catherine Slack, to await an inquest.

Wednesday 8th December 1875: Bradford Observer

Navvies’ supper

On Saturday evening a supper was given at the Olive Branch Inn, Ambler Thorn, to the foremen and carpenters of the Halifax, Thornton, and Keighley Railway, Ovenden end. The edibles were ample and excellent, and all did justice to the same. Mr Albrighton, the inspector to the company, was unanimously voted to the chair, and opened the proceedings after supper with a song, followed by proposing the health of Her Majesty the Queen and all the Royal family, and afterward that of Mr John Shaw, the agent of the line, coupling the same with the contractors, Messrs Benton and Woodiwiss. During the evening songs were sung, and some of the company indulged in dancing. The health of the chairman was drunk, also that of the host and hostess, and after a thorough and enjoyable evening, the company dispersed shortly after ten o’clock.

Saturday 5th February 1876: Halifax Courier

Another railway accident

Another accident of a serious nature happened last Wednesday to a young man, named Isaac Dealey, employed on the Halifax, Thornton, and Keighley Railway. It appears he was engaged near the Ovenden entrance to Queensbury tunnel, in pressing home a dynamite cartridge with a wooden rammer, when, it is supposed, on account of too violent pressure it suddenly exploded, injuring the man most severely about the head and face. He was conveyed to the Halifax Infirmary where he now lies in a dangerous condition. It is to be hoped the frequent accidents resulting from this highly explosive substance will teach the men to be more careful in dealing with it.

Saturday 12th February 1876: Halifax Courier

A strange whim gratified

When the construction of the Queensbury branch of the Halifax, Thornton, and Keighley Railway first began it was found necessary to pull down several of the houses at Hole Bottom, which obstructed the line of route to Thornton. In one of these houses an old woman, named Sarah Warburton, had lived all her life, in fact the house had been in the occupation of the family for upwards of ninety years.

In front of the house grew an old plane tree, out of which the old woman said it had always been her intention to have her coffin made; and she threatened the manager (Mr John Shaw) that unless he granted her this favour, her ghost should haunt him all his life. Accordingly, the coffin, which has for some time been made in the workshop at Holmfield, was conveyed across the hill by means of the tramroad to the house of Mr John Sharp, there to await the old woman’s decease; so that she may now enjoy in prospective the pleasure of going to sleep in the cherished old tree.

Saturday 4th March 1876: Halifax Courier

Another accident on the line

Another accident happened at the Halifax, Thornton, and Bradford Railway on Sunday evening. It appears that fitters having fixed an additional pipe 9in long and 12in bore to the pump in connection with No.4 shaft of the Queensbury tunnel, had taken out the spear rods by which the pump is worked, to make the necessary addition to their length.

Two men named George Waite and George Parker were engaged in lowering them down again into the shaft by the aid of a capstan, when the weight (about four tons) overpowered them, and Waite was whirled violently round three or four times by the handle of the capstan, and then thrown off. When taken up it was found that one leg was broken below the knee, the bone protruding through his dress. In a short time a conveyance was procured, and he was removed to the Halifax Infirmary. Parker after being taken once round was cast on to the metals of the adjoining tramway fortunately not much worse.

Saturday 18th March 1876: Halifax Courier

Fatal accident in the Queensbury Tunnel

Yesterday, an inquest was held by Mr Barstow, coroner, at Armstrong’s Hotel, Bradford, respecting the death of Richard Jones, who died from injuries received while at work in the Queensbury Tunnel on the Bradford, Halifax and Thornton Railway. The deceased, who was thirty-three years of age, went under another name upon the works – a custom not uncommon upon navvies.

On Monday last he and two other men were at work at the Hole Bottom end of the tunnel, and after firing some shots the deceased returned to the place to clear away a loose piece of rock which was in the way of another drilling. For this purpose, he used a “pick”, and after working at the stone for some little time, his companions called to him to come away or the stone would be upon him. Their warning came too late, however, for as Jones was making his escape the stone, weighing about 4cwt, fell upon him, and crushed him terribly.

Assistance being readily at hand the unfortunate man was extricated, and sent to the Bradford Infirmary, but he died on arriving in the neighbourhood to Lister Hills. After being seen by Dr Lee, whose surgery was close at hand, the deceased’s remains were taken to the dead-house at the Workhouse. Several of his fellow-workmen were called, but no blame seemed to attach to anyone, except perhaps the deceased himself, and the verdict arrived at was “Accidental death”.

Saturday 3rd June 1876: Bradford Observer

Railway accident near Queensbury

A serious accident occurred on Monday, a little after noon, to a young man named Thomas Mann, employed at Hole Bottom, near Queensbury, on the Halifax, Thornton and Bradford Railway. It appears he was recklessly playing with a dynamite cartridge, when it exploded, and blew away the forefinger of his left hand, and the thumb of his right hand from the first joint, besides badly damaging two other fingers, and injuring one of his eyes. He was immediately removed to Mr Fawthrop’s surgery, where his wounds were dressed.

Wednesday 14th June 1876: Bradford Observer

Narrow escape at Queensbury

On Saturday last, sixteen men employed of the Halifax, Bradford and Thornton Railway, near Queensbury, narrowly escaped being killed. It appears that at noon sixteen of the navvies working in Hole Bottom left off for dinner, and got into an empty truck which was being drawn along the tramway towards Queensbury. This tramway is laid over the hill on which Queensbury stands, in a line with the shafts which had been sunk for the excavation of the tunnel, and at most of these shafts a stationary engine is fixed to pull the trucks up the inclines.

In this case a locomotive engine was “spragged” about 500 yards up the incline – which is very steep on the Queensbury side – and was winding onto a drum the wire rope to which the truck was attached. The waggon was drawn up in safety, but the rope being wound up a little too far, the buffers of the waggon bumped the engine, and the rope hook was jerked out. The waggon at once set off down the incline, increasing its speed every moment. The men jumped out, and fortunately escaped with a few bruises. The waggon continued its course, ran off the rails, and turned over and over until within a very short distance of the cutting at the mouth of the tunnel, where several men were working. A dog which the men had with them remained in the waggon when the men jumped out, and was killed. The waggon was much damaged.

Several accidents have happened at or near this place. On Wednesday last the engine was coming from Queensbury to one of the shafts. The brake was put on to bring it to a stand, but, the rails being slippery, it continued its course down the incline, and ran off the rails. The engine-driver jumped off and escaped uninjured.

Monday 10th July 1876: Bradford Observer

Accident in the tunnel

On Tuesday morning, one of the men employed in the tunnel at Hole Bottom met with an accident while at work. It appears in traversing the scaffold on which the masons work, he unwittingly stepped on the loose end of a plank, which tilted and caused him to fall into the bottom of the tunnel. He sustained severe injuries about the head and back, and one arm was badly crushed. He was conveyed to his home in Wheatley, where he is progressing favourably.

Saturday 5th August 1876: Halifax Courier

Fatal result of an accident

On Thursday morning, a young man, named Llewellyn Jones, died at Queensbury from injuries received on the Halifax, Thornton, and Bradford Railway. Deceased was employed as a miner in the tunnel at No.2 shaft. On the morning of the 17th inst, he commenced drilling a hole which had been left by the men on the night shift in ignorance of its being charged, when it exploded and severely injured him about the right arm and face. He was assisted home and medical aid obtained, and up to Tuesday last appeared to be progressing favourably, when lock-jaw set in, and all the efforts of the medical men proved futile, the deceased expiring on Thursday morning in great agony.

Saturday 26th August 1876: Halifax Courier

Another accident

On Monday, a serious accident happened to a mason named James Hollins, employed on the Halifax, Thornton, and Bradford Railway. It appears he was engaged in picking up some wedges from between the locomotive and some empty waggons, which were standing just inside Queensbury tunnel at the Netherton end, when the engine driver, having previously whistled, started the engine, and Hollins was caught between the buffers and severely crushed. He was taken up helpless, and conveyed across the hill by means of the tramway to his residence at Slave Row, Queensbury. Mr Fawthrop, surgeon, was immediately summoned. Very slight hopes are entertained of the man’s recovery.

Saturday 23rd September 1876: Halifax Courier

Another man killed on the railway

An inquest was held at the Granby Inn, Queensbury, on Tuesday, before Mr Barstow, coroner, on the body of a miner named Frederick Goulding. Deceased was employed in the railway tunnel at Hole Bottom, and on the 31st ult. was standing near an empty truck whilst a large piece of rock was being rolled down from the top heading, when the stone unexpectedly struck the waggon, and crushed Goulding between it and a piece of timber supporting the roof. Assistance was immediately rendered, and deceased was conveyed to his lodgings at Granby Feld. He succumbed to his injuries early on Friday morning. The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death”.

Saturday 10th February 1877: Halifax Courier

Sudden death

A man named Pengrove, a navvy on the new railway at Queensbury, but who resides at Sowerby Bridge, died suddenly on Wednesday. He went into a beerhouse and complained of being unwell; he stayed some time, and then a friend offered to go home with him, but they had not gone many yards before Pengrove exclaimed, “Oh, I’m dying”. He was taken back to the house, and died at once. He was a weak and ailing man.

Saturday 14th April 1877: Halifax Courier

Serious accident on the line

Another accident happened on Tuesday evening to one of the navvies employed on the Halifax, Thornton, and Keighley Railway. He was working on a scaffold in the tunnel at Hole Bottom, when he slipped and fell to the bottom, a distance of about seven yards. He received very severe injuries about the head, arms and ribs, and was taken to the Infirmary at Bradford.

Saturday 19th May 1877: Halifax Courier

More victims

A very serious accident happened on the Halifax and Thornton Railway on Tuesday afternoon. It appears that a young man named John Cunningham was employed in the Netherton cutting as brakesman, and was attempting to “sprag” a number of waggons, when he missed his footing and fell across the rails. Several persons working at a short distance observed the accident and hastened to the spot, when it was found that the waggons had passed over both the man’s legs, completing severing them from the body a little above the ankle. The injured man was immediately placed in an empty waggon and conveyed down the Ovenden line to the Halifax Infirmary, where he lies in a precarious condition.

The same day a man named Captain Pickles, of Shelf, platelayer, was killed on the same line. He was assisting three other men to take a bogie loaded with sleepers through the tunnel at Hole Bottom, Queensbury, when several of the sleepers which projected over the bogie struck an upright pillar which supported the roof of the tunnel. The roof fell in and the deceased was struck on the back of the head by a plank weighing about half-a-ton. His right leg was also broken in two places, and he was otherwise so severely bruised that death was instantaneous. The other three men on seeing the danger at once ran away, and, with the exception of one of their number, who was knocked down and slightly injured, they escaped unhurt.

Saturday 23rd June 1877: Halifax Courier


William Murray, a labourer, fell while at work in the new tunnel at Queensbury, the consequence being that some of his ribs were badly crushed. He was taken to Halifax Infirmary.

Saturday 18th August 1877: Halifax Courier

Railway accident

Last Saturday morning another accident happened in Queensbury tunnel, by which two men named Herbert Evans and John Newstead received severe injuries. It appears Evans, who is a bricklayer, was preparing to come down from the top scaffold on which he was working, when he missed his footing and fell to the bottom, a distance of nine yards, sustaining serious injury about the spine. A labourer going up the ladder at the time, with a piece of timber on his shoulder, was so startled by the occurrence that he let the timber fall and hit Newstead, cutting him badly about the head and face. Both men were brought out at No.3 shaft, and conveyed to their lodgings. Medical assistance was immediately sent for and they are both reported to be progressing favourably.

Saturday 3rd November 1877: Halifax Courier

Sudden death

On Wednesday morning a young man named William Mitchell, whilst engaged in tipping trucks near the Netherton cutting of the Halifax, Thornton, and Keighley Railway, was seized with a sudden giddiness and fell down insensible. Medical assistance was immediately sent for, but without avail, as life was extinct in a few minutes. The body was removed to the Malt Shovel Inn, Ambler Thorn, and after medical examination a certificate was given stating that death had resulted from an apoplectic fit. About a month since, deceased, who is an unmarried man, was subject to a similar attack, from which he rallied.

Saturday 1st December 1877: Halifax Courier

Accident in the Queensbury Tunnel

On Tuesday afternoon, a mason named John Dyson, employed in the tunnel, met with a serious accident. He was engaged walling the side of the tunnel, near the bottom of No.3 shaft, when a quantity of earth and stone fell from the roof, alighting upon his head and shoulder, which were seriously bruised. His left arm, which was extended over the wall, was severely broken and cut. He was conveyed to the Halifax Infirmary.

Saturday 8th December 1877: Halifax Guardian

Railway accident

During the night of yesterday week another accident happened in Queensbury tunnel, by which two men were injured. Happily the injuries are not of a dangerous character. It appears that a number of men were working in the tunnel on the night shift, when the supports of the roof above them gave way, and let down a quantity of earth. One of the lumps struck a man named Ellis, and hurt him severely in the ribs. He was conveyed to his lodgings, and medical assistance obtained, and he is reported to be progressing favourably. Another man living in Great Horton had one foot badly injured.

Saturday 2nd February 1878: Halifax Courier

Another accident on the railway

On Wednesday, Thomas Mark, an excavator, employed at the Queensbury Tunnel, had his thigh accidently broken through some earth falling upon him. He was conveyed to the Halifax Infirmary.

Saturday 9th February 1878: Halifax Guardian

Serious accident, yesterday

Another accident of a very serious nature occurred yesterday at the tunnel under Queensbury, to an excavator named Thomas Williams. He is a Welshman, and whilst working in the tunnel a piece of rock fell upon him, and severely injured him. He was conveyed to the Halifax Infirmary, and it is feared his back is broken.

Saturday 23rd March 1878: Halifax Guardian

An interesting gathering

On Wednesday last the traveller who might have ascended the hill from any part to the summit at Queensbury would have reason to suppose that something out of the usual way was taking place there, the fact being that the contractors and sub-contractors of the new line of railway, now nearly completed, had resolved to celebrate the completion of the Queensbury tunnel by treating the whole of the men employed on the works to dinner, which was provided in a large tent erected on the ground adjoining No.5 shaft. It was certainly such a sight as is not often seen, to behold upwards of 300 men of this class dining together.

The dinner was served in an excellent style by Mr George Wood, of the Great Northern Hotel, Thornton, and the amount of consumption may be imagined when it is known that he provided 400lb of beef, 65lb mutton, with tongues, veal, hams etc, in proportion, together with 27 stones of vegetables.

On the cross table were Mr Isaac Woodiwiss, contractor; Mr Jas Albrighton, the inspector, who had the honour of laying the first stone and last brick in the tunnel; also the following sub-contractors – Messrs Wm Williams, James Barton, Josh. T Garner, Normanton Greenwood etc, Messrs J Hatton, Dennis Yates, H Green, of Queensbury, and Mr Bennett, the engineer, and Mr Walker, cashier for the works.

During dinner the Thornton Brass Band performed selections of music, and dancing, cricket, and other games were freely indulged in by the men until dusk. In the evening the grounds presented quite an animated appearance, the company being largely augmented by the villagers, the number of persons on the ground being estimated at 2,000.

Saturday 3rd August 1878: Halifax Courier

The Bradford and Halifax and Thornton Railway

The new line of railway between Bradford and Halifax will, it is expected, be opened for traffic (goods and passengers) during October. A passenger train, containing officials, has left Laisterdyke, passing over the line through Horton, Clayton, Queensbury Tunnel, Ovenden etc to North Bridge, Halifax, and then returned. This was for an inspection preliminary to the visit of the Government inspector.

The stations on the railway are fitted up in a very superior style, and the Greet Northern Company, to whom the line to Halifax and Thornton belongs, have provided for any amount of traffic that may fall to their share. The full scheme will not be completely developed until the branch from Thornton to Keighley is made, and then passengers from Huddersfield, Halifax etc can proceed to Keighley and the north without going through either Leeds or Bradford.

Saturday 5th October 1878: Leeds Times

The railway

On Tuesday and Wednesday the Government Inspector of railways, Major General Hutchinson, made the final examination of the new line between Bradford and Thornton, previous to the same being opened for passenger traffic, which the company announce for Monday next.

The inspector, who was accompanied by Messrs Fraser, engineers to the Great Northern Company, Mr Isaac Woodiwiss (Benton and Woodiwiss), the contractors, Mr Wm Bennett, the contractors’ engineer etc, proceeded off Tuesday morning from Bradford station slowly along the line by Great Horton, Clayton, Hole Bottom, and forward to Thornton; the ponderous embankment crossing High Birks, and the large string of viaducts crossing the Thornton Valley, taking the particular attention of the surveying party.

On Wednesday the party commenced their survey at North Bridge, Halifax, proceeding along the line to Holmfield, making a minute inspection of the Queensbury tunnel. At the close they were conveyed to the commodious hotel adjoining the Thornton station, where a sumptuous repast was provided by the host, Mr Geo. Wood, for about 30 of the inspecting party, and the company and contractors’ officials.

General Hutchinson handed to the engineer his certificate of the satisfactory completion of the line from Bradford to Thornton. We are informed that some alterations are necessary at the Halifax end ere that part of the line can be opened for passengers.

Saturday 12th October 1878: Halifax Courier

The railway

The new line between Bradford and Thornton was opened on Monday for passenger traffic, and the event appeared to excite considerable interest amongst those resident in the immediate route of the line. The trains were well filled.

The first train left the Great Northern Station at 7.45 on Monday morning, amidst the reports of fog signals. A large crowd of people had assembled at the stations between Bradford and Thornton. General admiration was expressed as to the manner in which the line had been constructed, and the ride was greatly enjoyed.

Amongst the officials and others who accompanied the train were Mr W West, passenger superintendent; Mr D West, locomotive superintendent; Mr Piggott, signal inspector; and Mr Woodiwiss, the contractor of the line.

The Halifax section was also opened for goods traffic the same day, a train being despatched there from Bradford at seven o’clock, the new line thus affording the Great Northern an independent access to Halifax.

Saturday 19th October 1878: Halifax Courier

Diary of accidents, incidents and events

Reports on the construction work

A walk through the works

A walk over the works