From the Western Times
Saturday 20 April 1878
A LADY KILLED AT SILVERTON STATION
A dreadful occurrence happened on Thursday evening on the Great Western Railway at Silverton. At most of the stations, up and down platforms are directly opposite each other but the limited quantity of land owned by the Company just at this spot necessitates a different arrangement. The up platform is just above (north) of the Killerton road bridge. And directly opposite it is the accommodation for the goods traffic. The down platform for passengers is on the same side as the goods siding, but is below (south) the bridge; a footway under the bridge connects the higher end of the down platform with the lower end of the up platform.
About five o'clock on Thursday evening, Mrs. Drewe, the wife of the proprietor of the paper mill close at hand was standing on the down platform, talking to Mr Garland, the gardener at Killerton Park*, who had been waiting for the train from Bristol which is due to stop at Silverton just about this time. Within a minute of two of five o'clock, the Northern Mail, leaving Exeter at 4.45 pm. is due at the same station, but this train passes through without stopping.
Running from Exeter, without any breaks in its journey, this train, by the time it reaches Silverton, is travelling at somewhere about 40 or 59 miles an hour. Mr Drewe had, we believe, been in Exeter on Thursday, and it is anticipated his return by the train which follows immediately after the Northern Mail, and which stops at all stations. When at the higher end of the down platform, she noticed the approach of the Northern Mail, and it is supposed that she mistook it for the slow train. At all events, she hurriedly got down in the footway to cross to the up platform.
There was no time for anyone to run and stop her, and either through time for anyone to run and stop her, and either through fright or from the supposition that she could get across before the rapidly approaching train passed across before the rapidly approaching train passed, she took no notice of the warning calls to keep back but continued to run across the rails.Just as Mrs Drewe got on the up line, the North Mail came upon her and death was instantaneous, the unfortunate lady's head being almost severed from her body.
Mrs Drewe was rather over middle age and her sad death has created a very painful sensation throughout the neighbourhood. A great number of the people at Silverton being employed at the mills, Mrs. Drewe was widely known and much sympathy is felt for Mr Drewe in his sudden bereavement.
*The seat of Sir Thomas Ackland.