Note: spoilers ahead. If you plan to read any of A. Bertram Chandler's Kelly/siege narratives and you want to wait to be surprised, you can stop reading now.
In A. Bertram Chandler's novel "Kelly Country" (first published in Australia in 1983 and the U.S. in 1985) the most memorable part for many Ned Kelly aficionados is where the protagonist, John Grimes, makes sure that Thomas Curnow does not stop the train by beating his brains out with a heavy rock. That was the second go at Curnow that Grimes had in the book. The first was where he tried to stop Curnow (who had tripped and fallen beside the tracks) by holding his hand over his mouth so as not to have his shouts alert the train driver and when Curnow tried to bite him Grimes slugged him in the belly and the train passed on by to spectacularly crash. Later in the book when Grimes went back in time a second time under orders by Ned to let Curnow actually stop the train he defied orders and logic and picked up the big rock as described above.
Confusing? Yes, but wait until you hear what happens in two other A. Bertram Chandler siege of Glenrowan themed stories that pre-date the novel. The novel was based on a short story, also called "Kelly Country" which was first published in 1976 in Void Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine. That rather succinct story is far superior to the somewhat bloviated novel that was to come.
In this story the protagonist is a freelance journalist named Mr. Carvell (whereas Grimes in the novel was a science fiction writer). The inventor of the time machine wants Carvell to go back in time so he could use his talent to report on a pivotal historical event. The Crucifixion was suggested along with the Battles of Waterloo, Gettysburg and Gallipoli but Carvell was not interested. Carvell did mention that he was researching Ned Kelly for a hoped for novel and, thus, this was how he was convinced to go back in time so he could witness the siege of Glenrowan. Carvell winds up in Glenrowan but not at the Inn but by the train tracks with Thomas Curnow. Curnow is startled to find someone there and is even more startled by the lab rat named Adolph that Carvell had secreted into his pocket before the journey (Adolph was lucky compared to the awful things that happened to the other lab rats who had gone forward in time in earlier experiments). Curnow stands on the railroad tracks and waves the scarf and lantern (in the book version a candle, scarf and matches are mentioned) to try and stop the train and the protagonist says "...and, I, like a bloody fool, stood there with him." The train came blasting through and did not appear as if it was going to stop (possibly due to thinking it was a sympathiser trick) and the protagonist had to drag Curnow off the tracks at the last possible moment to avoid being struck. The train went on to crash.
So, we are 3 for 3 with crashes. Did the train ever stop in any of these A. Bertram Chandler books and stories?
It finally did in another short story Chandler wrote that had John Grimes as the protagonist again, but this time he is a space ship captain in the far future. In Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine in March of 1978 there was a story called "Grimes at Glenrowan." In this, the interstellar Grimes was sent back in time to stop Curnow from stopping the train no matter the cost. Having followed Curnow out of the Inn he saw him trip on the train tracks and, thus, lose consciousness. Grimes, ever the hero, upon hearing the train coming, tried to lift Curnow to safety but Curnow's foot was jammed under a sleeper rail. As the train rapidly approached Grimes grabbed the fallen lantern that was still lit and successfully flagged the train down. Talk about derailing a plan!
Curnow had soon recovered and gotten up so Grimes thrust the lantern and scarf into his hands and ran and hid. He went on to say "I stayed in my hiding place - cold, bewildered, more than a little scared. After a while I heard the shooting, the shouting and the screaming. I saw the flames. I was too far away to see Ned Kelly's last desperate stand; all that I observed was distant, shadowy figures in silhouette against the burning hotel."
Oh, yeah, while I am at it, another plus for the earlier mentioned Kelly Country 1976 short story is there not any cringe inducing objectifying of women in it like in the other two narratives.