By Paula Redmond
On Valentine’s Day, 1900, a train carrying cattle departed Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, bound for Dublin. The driver was William Hyland accompanied onboard by Peter Jackston in the position of fireman, and Robert Doran as guard. The train consisted of the locomotive named Wicklow and twenty-nine wagons.
The journey went well until the train approached Harcourt St. Station, Dublin at approximately 4:30pm. When the driver applied the brakes upon entering the station they did not slow the train as much as expected. This was due in part to the wheels and rails being slippery and the heavy load. A report by the Board of Trade later concluded that the driver had not reduced his speed appropriately upon approach.
The speeding train broke through the buffer stops and out through the station wall where it dangled thirty feet above Hatch St.
Though no one on board was killed the driver had to have an arm amputated. He later returned to work in the position of goods checker in Bray. Surprisingly no cattle were injured and the train suffered little damage.
The locomotive was repaired and returned to service. In 1925, she was assigned No. 440 by the Great Southern Railway before being decommissioned in 1929.
Following the accident all trains were required to stop at Ranelagh to ensure a controlled approach to Harcourt St. Station.
This procedure continued until the closure of Harcourt St. Station in 1958. A Luas tram line now stops in front of what was the station. For years after the crash passengers were known to ask jokingly “Does this train go through Hatch St?”