Thomas Port Grave in Harrow, is the story of a railway worker who fell from a train on the London and Birmingham Railway on the afternoon of the 7th August 1838 near Harrow Train Station in Middlesex, England.
Port was dragged under the carriages and both legs had to be partially amputated. Port died later that afternoon.
Thomas Port worked as a guard , employed by The London and Birmingham Railway.
The first part of this railway route opened between Euston Station and Hemel Hempstead on 20th July 1837, then on to Bletchley for the coronation of Queen Victoria on 28th June 1838.
The full route opened officially on 17th September 1838.
During the early years of operation, the railway observed British Stagecoach traditional practices. Therefore, Thomas Port as a railway guard in charge of checking passenger tickets travelled on a seat at roof level outside the train.
Among other tasks, once the train was underway, Railway Guards would climb down and move on step boards fitted outside the train carriages.
It was the guards duty to check passengers tickets through the windows from outside the moving train.
Part of Thomas Port duties was to check second class passengers were not sitting in first class carriages.
On the day of his death, the train left Euston Station at 5:00 PM. About 1 mile from Harrow Station, while the train was travelling at its full speed of 30 MPH. Port slipped while moving from carriage to another. His leg were run over by the train.
A coroner’s inquest on the Saturday after his death, established that it was dangerous to require Railway Guards to perform dangerous duties.
The inquest ruled that dangerous duties included guards moving between carriages while the train was travelling at full speed.
The inquest into Port’s death, in time prompted a review of safety procedures of the railway industry.
Thomas Port Grave Harrow is in the Churchyard of St Mary’s church, Harrow on the Hill.
For more interesting stories about our lovely borough please visit the home page of Harrow Plumbing Company.
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