In 1870 a tram service operated on the south coast of England linking Brighton with the villages surrounding it. For over twenty years the trams operated without incident; until September 21st 1870.
On that fateful day the 'Viceroy of India', a tram that had worked the line without any problems, came off at Dilly's corner, a notoriously difficult part of the route. Three died, including the driver.
The cause of the crash is still not clear. Initial investigations put the blame on the driver saying that he had exceeded the approved speed limit however there was no evidence for this. Others have put forward more controversial theories including sabotage and a suicidal driver.
However for people familiar with the story the more intriguing aspect is the fate of the tram afterwards. Deemed to be repairable the tram was bought by a mysterious wealthy Lord, a Lord that for some reason was in the area on the day of the crash and was one of the first on the scene. It was this tram that was later converted to the "Imperial Empress", the famed and ill-fated airship that set off for India and was never seen again...
At speed the 'Viceroy of India' hurls towards the corner. Regular tram service often approached the corner at speed however none met with disaster.
The tram continues on its fateful journey towards the corner. Within seconds it will be on its side, three dead and a mysterious chapter in its life will begin.
The 'Viceroy' approaches Dilly's corner. It is still not known what happened on board the tram. Eyewitness details were sketchy at best.
Although never proved the speed of the 'Viceroy of India' was believed to be excessive of the limit and here the tram tilts off the track. At this speed nothing could stop it
In the final moments of the disaster the 'Viceroy of India' leaves the track completely sealing the fate of the people inside.
The wreckage of the "Viceroy of India" and the person responsible for it? Lord Thompson Tennis was never accused of any wrongdoing during his lifetime. However rumours circulated. Especially when he bought the wreck and started to convert it into a private airship.
Although investigations at the time were not detailed and often left out major details they believed the tram was reaching speeds of 50-60mph when it came off the track. Here the tram can be seen buried deep in the soil, an indicator perhaps that it was going too fast
Lord Thompson Tennis, who would end up buying the wreck of the "Viceroy of India" and convert it to the "Imperial Empress" was one of the first on the scene. Was this coincidence? People familiar with the story believe he was responsible for the crash as the owners of the trams had refused to sell him one weeks before the disaster
This investigator seems happier than he should be given the circumstances
After all the investigators had gone numerous reports said the site was haunted. The "Viceroy of India" would lie in the dirt for three months. In that time few dared to approach it.
The ghost of the driver leaves the tram forever.
Months after the disaster the tram was bought by Lord Thompson Tennis. He then spent the next few years converting it to the "Imperial Empress", the airship he intended to travel to India on. The next part of his story will be coming shortly...
lol, the investigators where laughing because of the big check they received from lord t...a few nights at the pub soon got rid of the guilt of not disclosing all evidence to the public, what made it even more easy, was the rounds they paid to all of them at the said pub...lol, well done RH!