It was not long before there was an accident on the line. The Stamford Mercury of July 4th 1845 reported the incident occurred near Wellingborough and led to a delay of four hours. At this time, the train connected with coaches to Lincoln and Grantham at Sibson (Wansford) station. The paper reported that the accident caused considerable alarm “throughout the lines of country in which those coaches travel.” Thankfully, no one was injured and there was only slight damage to the third class carriages which were behind the tender.
The journey from “Blisworth to within two or three miles of Wellingborough had been affected with great pleasantness, and rather unusual speed.” The first indication that anything was wrong was the “vibratory motion of the carriages.” The tender had become derailed and pulled five of the ten carriages off the track. The driver had reacted promptly but the efficiency of the brakes was such that it took almost two minutes to stop the train. There was some damage to the track but the main problem was that the line was only single track and therefore trains to Blisworth were affected by the delay of the train from Blisworth. One of the demands of the group promoting the building of the line had been that it should be double track but the directors of the London and North Western Company had decided to finance only a single track railway.
The damage to the tender was such that a replacement was deemed necessary, so the delay was exacerbated by the need to obtain the replacement from Thrapston. Once the tender was attached to the train, the train then continued on to Oundle, Sibson (Wansford) and Peterborough. Because of the use of electric telegraphy, the stations on the line were made aware of the cause of the delay but the towns to which the connecting coaches would travel could not be informed and, as the Stamford Mercury reported, “much alarm was felt from the unexplained detention of the coaches.”
Amongst the coaches affected was the Lincoln Tally-ho which left Stamford for Lincoln five hours late at 8 o’clock at night and thus arrived at its destination in the early hours of the morning.
One effect of the derailment was the decision to build a second track. The line was profitable to the company and any such delays could not be repeated.
Reference: Stamford Mercury Stamford Mercury – Friday 04 July 1845
The late rains caused a greater overflow of water along the flat country, through which the river Nene wends its course, than has been known for some years. The London mail train, on Sunday morning last, could proceed no further than Thrapston in consequence of the bridge across the Nene at that place having given way; horses were therefore procured to convey the letter bags to their various destinations. So high, indeed, was the flood, that for a time the rails between Oundle and Sibson were underwater, and of course all communication by railway between those places was cut off.
Reference: Morning Post – Saturday 07 October 1848