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INQUEST.

An inquest was held -iA, Hotel, Rakaia, before Mr. R.M., Coroner, on the body of b,_. e ’ Hefford, who fell from a railway at Rakaia Station on Friday evening, auh was killed. >' £ The jury, of which Mr. J. M. Broadbent was chosen foreman, having viewed the body, and been sworn, ■ The mother of the deceased was called, who said she was the wife of George Hefford, lining at Papanui. Left Christchurch by the 1.5 p. m. train on Friday, for Rakaia. I had three children with hie. When the train stopped at Bakaia, I got out, and asked a gentleman whether we had to get out there. He said he supposed it was the station. He got down and helpp<J me wjth the children. I went to look for my luggage, and was foklfluit it was in the van, and that I must go on to the new station to got it. I was helped back into the carriage. Before I could got inside the carriage, the train started. One of toy children was inside the carriage, one was in my arms, and deceased stood near me on the platform of the carr.iige. 1 had got out at the same station when I was herb before. The jerk caused deceased to fall backwards between the carriage, and the guard’s van. He was live and a half years old. I saw him no mm-e alive.

By the Foreman—Deceased fell between the carriage and the van when the train started with a jerk I heard .no one call out the name of the station. I had got oat there before, and supposed it was still the placet By Mr. W: H. Elion—The train was on the line next the platform. By the Coroner—The carriage I was in had passed the platform. 1 do not remember whether I had to climb bp to the carriage, or whether I got in at the platform on going back, i did not look for the name of the station. I knew the Hakaia tJiioioa. I had been there before. William Wallace, sworn, said—l am a laborer, living at Bakaia. 1 remember being at the railway station ..hereonFriday. I was. about two chains from the train w hen the accident happened. Did not see the child fall. I saw him under the goaid s van. Saw the wheel pass over him. It passed over his neck and breast, i saw him lying across the rails when the r a.oi had passed on. apparently dead. Someone p ; cked him up and laid him on the platform of the old station. By the Foreman—l was near the windmill pump in the front of the train when the child must have fallen. Only one wheel of the van went over him to the best of my belief. I beard a woman scream. The

train did not pull up till it had got to the new station. I did not see the guard on the-van. . I heard no signal given to stop the train.

By tlje Coroner—l saw no one on the platform of the carriage. By Mr. Elton—l did not hear the whistle when the train went on.

Daniel Macfarlane, sworn, said—l am a guard on the New Zealand Railway. I was on the 1.0 p.in. train from Christchurch to Bakaia on Friday. We arrived at Rakaia at 3. JO. Pulled the train up at the south end of the old platform io shunt off two wagons. Trams do not hiivaya pull up at the old station : oulv

at the old station that afternooh, and re quested them to keep their seats till they got to the naw station. They said they were not going any further. They were going to stop there. I saw no one else get out there. I was on the off side of the train, one carriage length from the van, when I started the train. I saw nothing of the accident. The train pulled up again at the new ■ station. When I stai'ted the train at the old station I did not whistle. I extended my arm and called out “ right ” in the usual way. People often get out at the old platform although requested to keep their seats. When the train has to wait to pass either the Express or a goods train the passenger train has to go on the middle road. I saw the child on the platform, apparently dead. Mr. Stephenson, the locomotive foreman of Ashburton, was a passenger by the train. Ho told me that it was he that picked up the child.

By Mr. Elton—The name board at the old station has not been removed since the trains have discontinued stopping there. When pulling up there with a passenger train it is customary to caution people against getting out there, telling them that they must get out at the new station. With a mixed train, and anything to take off, we cannot draw up at the new station as there is only a single line. The main line there is not complete. By the Foreman - Mixed trains never draw to the new station to land passengers before the shunting is done. A wagon load of pigs would be put off before the passengers would be landed. By Mr. Elton —The old platform and the name board are liable to mislead passengers, and should be removed. Many people who have been to Ilakaia before the removal of the station get out when the train pulls up at the old station, naturally thinking they should do so. I should think the new station has been in use five or six months.

Alfred Blackburn, sworn, said—l am stationmaster at Rakaia. I remevnber the arrival of the 3 30 p. m. train from Christchurch yesterday. It was pulled up between the two stations to put off two wagons. It then proceeded to the new station. After the train had started I saw Mr. Stephenson, the locomotive foreman, pick up something from the line and take it to the old platform. I went up to it, and saw the body of a little boy, to all appearance quite dead. By the .Foreman—The old platform and the name board are still in their places. The old station is not required. By Mr. Elton—lf a siding had been put in at the new station this accident would in all probability not have happened. This was the whole of the evidence. The room was then cleared that the j ury might consider their verdict, when, after a good deal of deliberation, it was unanimously resolved that a verdict of “ Accidental Death” be returned, with the following rider—“ That the jury are of opinion that the railway authorities are to blame in beginning the use of the new station at Rakaia before the necessary means for shunting have been devised ; and the jury is further of opinion that additional protection should be provided at the ends of the platforms of the railway carriages. ”

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INQUEST. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 232, 3 January 1881

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