The horse, cart, car, motorbike, train and a dog

Do you know the origin of this story ?

I was told this story at a NARPO event (National Association for Retired Police Officers).  Apparently the person to whom I was talking had come across it whilst researching a General Occurrence book.  I was so entertained by the story that I failed to pose the crucial question.  Where did this happen and when and in which document is it recorded ?


One day a horse and a cart drew up at a level crossing somewhere in the outskirts of Bishop’s Stortford.  They waited as the barrier closed for  a train to go by.  In the meantime a very grand and expensive car drew up to wait in line behind the horse and cart.  To add to the range of vehicles waiting for the train to pass, a large motorbike drew up alongside the horse and cart, startling the horse which reared, backed the cart and its contents onto the bonnet of the very expensive car and in the confusion the motorcyclist fell off his bike trapping his leg under his bike.

Fortunately, for every one concerned, a sympathetic dog walker saw it all happen and came to the rescue.  Having tied his dog up carefully he came over to extract people from vehicles.  In the meantime the train, for which they were all waiting, steamed past and the barrier at the level crossing went up.

Unfortunately the dog walker had tied his dog to the barrier. The poor dog was hung !

No one would believe you if you made that story up !  I don’t know if my retelling is entirely accurate but if you know of this story I would like to hear from you.


This page was added on 14/07/2015.

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  • Forty years ago Ware rail crossing, with drop barrier gates, was just up the road from Hertford Police Station. It was a fine morning, a Sunday, I think. An exact date and time of this incident is beyond my memory capability, but possibly c.1979/80 early summer.
    I was very much the new boy, having only joined the traffic department about a month earlier. A call came in just as we started “Duty R” about “an incident” at the crossing. Because it was “just up the road” I was despatched, single crewed to deal. I would soon be back enjoying my breakfast break, NOT.
    I arrived in my shiny Granada to see the gates were closed and a group of noisy people airing views that were to say the least, confusing.
    What I saw was: A horse and cart, first in the queue at the gates to go into Ware, had reversed over the bonnet of an MG Midget sports car and a motor cycle on the offside of the horse and cart, and a yob, sorry a youth in a leather jacket with horse “snot” (sorry), all down the front, and then there was the Signalman, whose signal box was on the Ware side of the rail track, who had also become involved.
    The sports car driver had calmed down a little, and I asked him what had happened.
    He said that he had been waiting quite patiently behind the horse and cart for the gates to open, when a motor cyclist sped up from behind and stopped alongside the horse, revving its engine unnecessarily.
    The horse did what horses do and “gobbed a load of snot” (the youths words, not mine) all down his leather jacket. The youth propped his machine up, and delivered a smart punch to the horses’ nose. The horse did not like this and reversed its cart over the bonnet of the sports car behind, upsetting the driver a lot.
    The driver of the horse and cart, got off it, and set about the youth, with some help from the signalman, who had descended from his box, and also a man, who was walking his dog, joined in after tying his dog to the barrier.
    Vehicles were starting to back up on both sides of the crossing and the Signalman left the group to raise the barrier. Poor doggie had not been untied from the barrier and was now up 10 feet or so, dangling. Understandably the dog owner got very upset and was shouting at the signalman to let his dog down. gates were up, traffic now moving. gates came down, dog got free and chased the sports car driver all the way up Ware High Street. the gates went up again and an impatient motorist overtook the sports car and cart but got entangled with the motor cycle now on its side in the road. I needed some help, so I radioed in and was told my Granada was needed to attend an accident on T7’s patch but a foot patrol officer was being despatched to help me. An hour later, I had cleared the scene and spent the WALK back to the Nick trying to work out all offences, reports and statements. I booked off at 1700 absolutely exhausted and thinking, funny old job this !

    By Pete Howells (05/12/2019)
  • This incident happened at the Ware rail crossing and I was the officer dealing. I was at Hertford Traffic circa 79/80 I think, single crewed, and was the longest GOB entry ever according to The Chief Super who quizzed me about it. There were more circumstances concerning this incident that I have related many times to friends and relatives.
    If you are interested I can further expand.
    Pete Howells ex PC 1312

    By pete Howells (05/12/2019)
  • Pete Howells
    If you would like to expand on the story we would be very interested to hear the details.
    Paul Watts

    By Paul Watts (05/12/2019)