Railway History Celebrated at Chilworth Station

A celebratory plaque is now displayed at Chilworth Station, on the North Downs Line, thanks to the Southeast Community Partnership gaining permission and it being funded by Great Western Railway.

Back in 1892 a train driver pushed the regulator to full throttle to get over the hill from Gomshall, and somehow the rear carriages and guards van de-coupled. Momentum pushed the separated rear carriages over the hill. The engine portion rushed on over the Brook Level Crossing which the crossing keeper had almost shut when he saw separated trucks thundering towards him. He reopened the gate, but the engine section was breaking at signals and the two parts met – killing Guard Henry Wicks in his van.

A replica headplate has been installed at the station, to mark 120 years since his daughter-in-law, Jessie, encouraged the train operators to plant a yew tree that was shaped into a seat with a fearless pheasant on it. It was so designed to allow the spirit of Henry to sit and enjoy the North Downs Valley he so loved, Since then volunteers have maintained it so the Pheasant is there today. It is very near to the line so most people won’t notice it, but they will see this sign which tells the story.

Plaque and Rail History Informative poster on hIstoric rail accident