North East Rails
Railroad Accidents and Wrecks
April 2, 1956 Ellicottville The following was published in the Salamanca Republican Press--"ELLICOTTVILLE--Derailment of thirty-six loaded cars in a 54 car fast freight train here today blocked the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad's double-track Buffalo to Salamanca line. No one was hurt. Cause of the derailment, which occurred at 1:27 a.m. has not been determined, railroad authorities said. About a third of a mile of track was damaged when the assorted cars piled up in the railroad's cut about 200 feet north of the Ellicottville station. The wreck was caused when the seventh car in the train, enroute to Salamanca, went off the rails. The next thirth-five boxcars, gondolas and tank cars then piled up. Many were upset cross-ways on the double tracks, spilling merchandise over the area. Clarence C. Nye, 594 East State St., Salamanca, was engineer on the three unit diesel locomotive which hauled the train. John A. Eckman, 33 Church St., Salamanca was the conductor.". The above information is courtesy of Bill Fries.
Feb. 20, 1967 The following was published in the Salamanca Republican Press-"LIMESTONE--Thirty-one freight cars were tossed in a heap when a northbound B&O freight train was derailed at the Pennsylvania-New York state line south of here at 5 a.m. today. The four unit diesel locomotive, which was derailed along with the first thirty-one cars following it, did not appear to be extensively damaged, although a fuel tank on one unit was ruptured. The cars, which were shattered into a mass of broken wreckage at a point behind the Cow Palace dairy bar, included a tank car filled with poisonous engine oil but it was not ruptured, and there appeared to be no danger from it. Cause of the wreck was under investigation this afternoon, but a broken truck frame was believed a likely cause of the pile-up. Crew members, including Lewis Speroni, engineer, and Fred Mascioni, fireman, of Bradford, were not injured." The above information is courtesy of Bill Fries.
Pavilion, N.Y. June 9, 1906". The following was published in the Rochester Union and Advertiser-"A big elm tree eighty feet tall and three feet in diameter, which was blown down during a severe storm last night, and across the tracks of the B.,R.,&P. railroad caused a fatal wreck at Gayton's curve, one mile north of Pavilion at 3:52 o'clock this morning. A double-header freight train of thirty nine cars going south, crashed into the obstruction, and Fireman Louis Franks of Salamanca was killed. Engineer Thomas Donaldson of the same place, probably fatally injured, and Louis Lewis, a brakeman seriously hurt by being caught between two cars. The freight train was running at a rate of fifty miles an hour as it rounded the curve, and the night being dark owing to the storm, it was impossible to see far ahead down the tracks. As the big tree was discovered, Engineer Donaldson reversed the lever, and made a desperate attempt to slow up the heavy train of cars, but he was unable to check the speed but slightly, and the crash came with great violence. Fireman Franks was thrown from the cab of the first engine, No. 127, and under the wreckage. His body was not recovered until some time later. It was horribly crushed and beyond recognition. Engineer Donaldson was pinned under the debris, but was still alive when extricated. When the crash came he was thrown high into the air, the wreckage falling upon him. " The above information is courtesy of Bill Fries.
May 1956. The following was published in the Salamanca Republican Press-"Service was back to normal today on the double tracks of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad's Buffalo to Pittsburgh division which were blocked by a 22 car freight derailment here Tuesday afternoon. A 75 car freight enroute from Riker, Pa., to East Salamanca were derailed Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. No one was injured. Armstrong, Salamanca, was conductor on the freight". The above information is courtesy of Bill Fries.
Red House Crossing, Dec-1-1947, Engine no 4734. The following was published in the Salamanca Republican Press-"Baltimore and Ohio railroad officials and the Cattaraugus County sheriff's department today were investigating the collision of a double-header fast freight train and a two-deck motor transport loader with four new automobiles yesterday afternoon just outside Salamanca on the railroad's main line to Buffalo and Rochester. The truck driver and five of the eight trainmen on the forty car fast freight wheeling into the yards from Rochester were treated for minor injuries at the City hospital and were discharged. The five injured trainmen were: Leon C. Stuart, 9 Monroe Avenue, engineer of the second locomotive; Arthur D. Deyo, Rochester, fireman on the second locomotive; Alfred P. Boccacci, Rochester, brakeman for the middle of the train; J.F. Nacey, Rochester, condutor in charge of the train, who was riding in the caboose; Michael M. Vida, rochester, head-end brakeman who was riding on the second locomotive's tender. The driver of the transport, William Wawrzycki, Perry, was discharged after being treated for lacerations of the head. A Salamanca railroader was one of the three members of the train crew who escaped injury. He was J.N. Baxter, 326 Central Avenue, who was firing the lead locomotive. The other two uninjured were Emmet Williams, Rochester, engineer of the first locomotive and Fred G. Baxter, flagman of Rochester, riding in the caboose at the time of the crash. Two locomotives, fifteen freight cars, the transport and the new automobiles were scattered over the rails, but emergency crews removed most of the debris overnight." The above information is courtesy of Bill Fries.
The following was printed in the Salamanca Republican Press June 5, 1940--"A westbound Baltimore and Ohio passenger locomotive 5055 broke from its string of cars, leaped the tracks and hurtled into an embankment on a grade three miles north of this Northwestern Pennsylvania community early today, killing the engineer and injuring an express messenger. Six cars on the passenger train sped out of control down the grade and sideswiped an eastbound coat train on an adjoining track, knocking four coal cars off the track and derailing four of the passenger train cars. James F. McFarland, of Salamanca, N.Y., engineer on the passenger, was crushed under coal that spilled from the locomotive tender into the cab. Fireman John T. Rice, of DuBois, escaped injuries, but C.W. Beck, of Punxsutawney, the express messenger, was cut and bruised. He was taken to a hospital at St. Marys. The first coach following the passenger locomotive was an express car loaded with gelatin. After striking the coal train, it lurched off the wheel truck and slithered 600 feet down the tracks. A storage mail car, mail car, day coach and two Pullmans followed it down. All except the Pullmans overturned. The railroad's district offices at DuBois said no passengers on the train, bound from Buffalo to Pittsburgh, were hurt. Reports received here said the accident occurred at Laurel Run, below Clarion Junction, and that the engine overturned. The train was the "Midnight Flyer." The above information was courtesy of Bill Fries.
The following was printed in the Salamanca Republican Newpaper January 3, 1950--"Four crewman, including one from Salamanca, on a Baltimore & Ohio freight train were injured slightly in an unexplained derailment near Springville early New Year's day. The Salamanca crewman was Charled Lubold, sixty-four, engineer, of 264 Highland avenue. He and Allen Frantz, fifty-one, Strykersville, the other engineer, and Nicholas Schmeigel, forty-eight, and Carroll J. Murphy, thirty-six, both of Buffalo, firemen were cut and bruised. Two locomotives and twelve cars of the fifty-one car Buffalo to Salamanca freight ripped up 500 feet of track and overturned in soft mud. " The above information was courtesy of Bill Fries.
The following was printed in the Punxsutawney Spirit Newspaper Sept. 20, 1912--"A rear end collision was responsible for a tie-up in traffic on the B.,R.&P. railroad, near Big Run this morning. At 11:15 o'clock this morning a freight entering the Eleanora junction was sideswiped by a special freight southbound, with the result that two cars were derailed. Two men were injured in the wreck, Lee Meadows, conductor on the train which was collided with by the southbound train, and J.M. Pifer, flagman on the same train. Both were injured in jumping. The engine of the southbound train was badly demolished and six cars were wrecked.The two cars went over the embankment." The above information was courtesy of Bill Fries.
This was the bridge over the Little Miami River which collapsed under the weight of a train on the 17th October 1884.
The engine, baggage car (again)and first car fell 50 feet into the river
leaving the last car delicately balanced.
- per Ray State r.state@REMOVExxTHISbtinternet.com
The picture depicts the head-on collision between the N&W Cannonball Express and an Atlantic Coast Line freight at Dunlop (not Dunlap) near Petersburg VA on the Saturday, 27th June 1903. The Cannonball was one of N&W crack expresses and on this day it was hauled by N-class 4-4-0 No 29 ( the engine closest to the camera). The train ran from Richmond to Norfolk twice a day and on this day the accident befell the 9 am from Richmond. Running on time, the Cannonball was passing at speed through Dunlop when it collided at speed with a stationary ACL freight hauled by Copperhead 4-6-0 No 335. The freight had stopped to pick up a car but in doing so had fouled the interlocking preventing the pointsman at Dunlop to set the road. This should have indicated to the driver Harry Covington, of the Cannonball that the line was blocked and to slow down but he either did not see the signal or ignored it. He must have seen the standing freight at the last minute as the air brakes were applied and he jumped. Unfortunately, he hit his head on a rail and was killed.
Harry's nephew Robert was the fireman. He was caught in the wreckage and also killed. In all 2 died and 25 were injured. Amongst the injured was captain Robert Eckles the conductor of the Cannonball. he was attended to by Dr George Font who was a passenger on the train. Less seriously injured were distiguished passengers Judge Mann and Rev. Henry Johnson a well known methodist minister. The crew of the ACL freight were not injured as they jumped when they saw the Cannonball coming. The Coroner's inquest blamed the ACL for blocking the line in the first place. However, Driver Covington must carry the most blame for driving beyond his ability to stop at the signal.
In an interesting sequal the wreck was the subject of a song by Cleburne Meeks who published it uder the title The Wreck of the N&W Cannonball. This was written long after the wreck in 1927 after Meeks was told the story by W.C. Cousins who had been a flagman on the Cannonball. Meeks himself was a hostler for N&W.
Songs about railroad wrecks were popular and often took liberties with the accuracy of the events. Meek's song held very much to the details of the accident. Details can be verified in the Richmond Times-Dispatch for 28 to 30th June 1903 and subsequent issues.
In background of the photograph a steam switcher brings up the wrecking
train. No 29 has suffered badly in the collision as did the mail car (not
visible) immediately behind the overturned tender. No 335 cab has been
stove in by telescoping with its tender and the third car of the freight has
been demolished by the second over-riding it. At the time mail cars were
marshalled behind the locomotive which made mail clerks and sometimes
conductors ( who could often be found in the car) vulnerable in the case of
accidents. In 1903 an advertisment offered mail clerk jobs at $1600 to
$2300 per year.
- per Ray State r.state@REMOVExxTHISbtinternet.com
The locomotive has suffered a boiler explosion. This unfortunately, was not uncommon on US railroads who suffered a disproportionate number of explosions. From the position and condition of the boiler, it has suffered a crown plate failure. What has happened is that the SP engineer has allowed the water to get too low and uncovered the top of the firebox (the rectangular bit). European engines from the 1840's had a device called a fusible plug. This was a 3" diameter hollow screw which had a lead based compound in it. Three were located on either side of the firebox above the level of the crown plate and three or four in the crown plate itself. Water is usually about 100 deg C but if the water level fell the hot steam several hundred deg C melted the compound and the steam escaped safely and put out the fire.
US locomotive builders would have none of this. They went for waisted studs in the crown of the firebox. The theory was that if the water level fell then the crown would fail SLOWLY allowing water and steam into the firebox to put the fire.
Unfortunately for US engineers, this sometimes happened and sometimes it did not. Often the waisting did not fail slowly but went in one catastrophic rush. Then the boiler would act like a Saturn rocket and lift from the frames. This is what happened at Drain. The steam at about 250psi would be discharged in one mad rush downward through the firebox and into the cab propelling the boiler forward and upward to land beside the track. The engineer and fireman almost certainly died. Often the frame and wheels remain on the track.
This weakness in US practice caused a lot of accidents. A boiler expoded in
1953 at Hinton on the C&O at the end of steam and on the 16th Jun 1995 on
the Gettyburg Railway. Both were crown sheet failures. In 1925 US railroads
suffered 29 boiler exposions - the very last in the UK was 11th November
1921 at Buxton.
Per Ray State r.state@REMOVExxTHISbtinternet.com
BCR808 unit originally an Erie Lackawanna 2000 horse
powered road switcher. This unit went into Seaton Lake in Feb/1980 killing
the headend brakeman. These pics are of the recovery of said unit using an
American Crane and a spar pole. I was the conductor pilot on the recovery
This engine was the BCRAIL NO. 808, which was rebuilt as #800, or as we called it, the nautilus. The engine was
recovered in 1981
S.T.Young, Locomotive Engineer
B.C.Rail, Ft. St. John
In March of 1975 I was working for BN out of Alliance, NE. A terrific late season blizzard struck completely closing all 4 routes out of Alliance. Rotaries, wedge plows, and Jordan Spreaders were operated to clear the lines. One track that did not get cleared right away was the Storage Track (a siding) just west of the C&NW diamond at Crawford, NE. It lay buried under several feet of snow for perhaps 10 days to 2 weeks. The days after the blizzard were quite balmy with bright sunshine but the nights were well below freezing. This resulted in the snow alternately melting and refreezing, compacting it into almost solid ice at some places. Finally with the RR back to normal operations and the backlog cleared up a local frt was ordered to operate thru the Storage Track at Crawford to plow it out. The crew did as they were told. About half way thru the track they noticed something wasn't quite right and stopped. The three U23Cs had derailed on the packed snow and headed for the fence.
I got called for the wreck train out of Alliance. At that time (1975) believe it or not the Big Hook was still steam! Trying to lift the locos it "chugged" real nice and real smoke came out of the stack. The 3rd unit was easy to rerail and took little time using oak blocks, wedges, and rerailing frogs. The west end of the 2nd unit was off the track a little ways but the east end was still over the rails. We pulled it back to where it was all on the ties then made short work of rerailing it. The lead unit was going to be a different story. It was a considerable distance off the track, almost thru the right of way fence. The ground was not frozen before the blizzrad so it was pure mud under the snow. The lead unit had plowed its way into a small embankment and had settled into the soft ground. The bighook was positioned and the outriggers cribbed with ties and timbers. A cable sling was around the unit's drawbar and the hook had a firm grasp on the errant U23C. As the big hook began to chug the loco did not rise. Instead the derrick was pulled down sideways. The operator backed off the pull and the bighook righted herself. But the cribbing had been shoved down into the mud. More timber was placed between the top of the cribbing stacks and the outriggers. Again the lift was attempted...chuff, chuff, chuff, chuff, with the same results. Twice more this was attempted. Each time the cribbing was shoved further into the mud by the bighook's outriggers. Finally the cribbing reached firm ground (or bedrock!) and ceased its sinking. But the bighook still could not lift the beast! Further attempts simply tried to pull the wrecker over on its side. The mud had such a grasp on the loco that it acted like a giant suction cup holding the unit down. A couple of hours of mud daubbing by hand shovels had much of the mud removed around and under the trucks and as much removed from under the fuel tank as could be reached. The bighook gave one more valiant try at freeing the loco from the quagmire. A remember the sound well. Hissing steam, roaring fire, then chuff, chuff, chuff, the cables tighten and the cribbing creaks. Chuff, chuff, chuG, chuG chuG, chug. There is a great sucking sound like a kid sucking the last drops of a milkshake thru a straw. The loco rises into the air, the wrecker rolls back vertical. There is applause all around. It took a couple of lifts from both ends of the unit to get it back over the track and more mud had to be knocked from its underside. Eventually we got it rerailed. AAK
From: email@example.com (E.Van Huffel)
This train was the Southwest Limited. It took out the tower at Wellington Ohio in January 1960. The fireman and 3 passengers were killed in the accident. The engineer survived and lost his job. On appeal, the engineer was reinstated, but climbed aboard the cab of a switch engine, and retired on the spot. He has since passed away. Oh yes, the train was Cleveland bound.
May 2,1956 10.30 pm This was train 903 from Lambton to London with 2205 assisting 5420. It hit Extra 5135 West (with assist engine 2206) that came out of the siding after being in to clear thus giving 903 a clear signal. One engineer (Bill Palmer) was killed as was one brakeman (Tom Watson), others hurt including George Nutkins very seriously. He recovered and went on to become General Superintendent London Division. per R.L.Kennedy oldtimetrainsNOolSPAM@rrmail.com
This wreck occurred at Tyrone Pa on July 30, 1913. Engineer George K Funk was killed and 163 passengers were injured when Chicago Mial Train No 13 collided with the rear end of Pittsburgh Express Train No 15. Collision occurred at 2:38 PM.
The Pacific Great Eastern was famous for its spectacular wrecks but none were quite so spectacular as the one only a few miles from MP 0 which resulted in boxcars falling on houses and the road. The tortuous right of way between Fisherman's Cove and Horseshoe Bay was on a precarious ledge, up above the settled areas of West Vancouver. One dark and rainy night the eastbound freight shown here derailed, sending about a dozen cars over the ledge (and almost taking MLW 713 with it). There was already talk of a tunnel to bypass this section of right of way and this wreck pretty well sealed the decision; the trackage shown here has been abandonned and replaced with a 4,000 foot tunnel, much to the relief of the homeowners who lived in the shadow of the railroad since its reopening in 1956. John Day
On April 5, 1963, Lehigh and Hudson train collided with a Bel-Del train in Hudson Yard, 1963 Phillipsburg, NJ. Three L&HR locomotives, RS3 #11, RS3 #7 and C420 #24 were damaged, with the RS3s taking the biggest hit. This became known as the "Cookie Train Wreck" after a trailer loaded with cookies was destroyed and cookies were scattered throughout the wreck area.
This wreck occurred on the West Jersey and Seashore division of the Pennsylvania Railroad on Sunday the 28th October 1906. About 2:00pm the bridge tender Daniel Stewart controlling the swing bridge across The Thorofare a creek separating Atlantic City from New Jersey opened the span for a small vessel. To do this the span had to be raised slightly to disengage the rails. The signals were interlocked with the bridge so that a clear signal could not be given unless the bridge was returned for rail operation. The WJ and S had just been electrified and the bridge had been tested before the electric services commenced.
Stewart returned the span to rail operation and the westbound 2:00pm train from Atlantic City crossed without incident. What was not noticed was that the bridge had not returned to its correct level leaving the rail on the span higher than that on the land. The weight of the westbound was sufficient to depress the span end so that it was able to pass. In addition the interlock for the signals worked of the position of the bridge not the height. This left a trap for any eastbound train.
Motorman Scott was in charge of the 3-car eastbound comprising shiny new electric stock as it approached the bridge at 40mph. It struck the raised rail and after bumping along the ties plunged off the bridge into the Thorofare. The first two cars submerged with the third hung from the bridge superstructure. 53 were drowned in the three cars. The picture shows car 6704 being removed from the water.
Marlborough Junc Mass on the New Haven dated Feb 3rd 1898. The collision happened on the Clinton and Fitchborough branch. A milk train hauled by 4-4-0 #234 hit head on with a snowplough pushed by two locos (one of which was 823). The 4-4-0 rode up the sloping snowplough blade and perched on the boiler of 823. per Ray State
A Lehigh Valley train carrying more than 200 passengers and $250,000 in gold derailed near Old Ferry Rd in Ransom Twsp, Lackawanna County on 1/4/1942. The No. 4 train, known as the Major, was running a half-hour late leaving Sayre, PA. Veteran engineer Martin Wagner of Wilkes-Barre could hardly see through the blinding snow. A 1935 Ford coupe had stalled on the tracks in Ransom, and Wagner plowed into it at 50mph. The auto slid beneath the engine's leading wheels as elevn of the 13 cars derailed. Eighteen people were injured and one was killed. Data Source: Times Leader, January 13, 2002.
Three Union Pacific Railroad coal trains derailed in Pacific, MO, a town of some 4,800 about 35 miles west of St. Louis, after two collisions. Two train crew members were hospitalized in serious condition. The first train stopped in the tracks near Six Flags Over St. Louis amusement park after learning of congestion ahead in the St. Louis area. The second train rear-ended the first one, causing the first derailment. Soon after, the third train collided with the wreckage.
A train rider was killed, twenty cars demolished and their contents scattered broadcast when a B.,R. and P. northbound freight train was wrecked at the Limestone station on April 16, 1921. The dead man was Elmer Clemens, of Salamanca, N.Y. The train, Extra No. 726, Punxsutawney to Salamanca, Conductor J.T. Shea and Engineer W.N. Nelson, both of Salamanca, left Punxsutawney shortly before midnight Thursday. When passing the Limestone station a car in the middle of the train buckled and left the rails. Nineteen cars behind it piled up. The cars were virtually demolished and the wreckage was strewn over both north and southbound tracks."
Bridge Collapsed Under B.,R. & P. Train--Thomas Bryan of Water Street, fireman was killed and Engineer Thomas Richards of Buffalo and Brakeman Roy Abbot of East Salamanca miraculously escaped death a few minutes before 8 o'clock last evening when B.R.& P. freight train No. 41 went into Great Valley Creek at the bridge at the north end of East Salamanca yards. One of the box cars was piled on top of the engine. To the north of the engine, and also in the creek was another car, while a third hung over the water from the middle abutment and the south shore is a mass of twisted bridge works, rails, etc. Conductor Sym A. Herrick of 381 Bird Avenue, Buffalo was in charge of the train which left Buffalo at 7:03 yesterday morning. He was thrown backwards and his back, shoulder and neck were badly bruised."
The biggest railroad wreck which has occurred in the immediate vicinity of Bradford in many years took place on September 12, 1920. Shortly after 5 o'clock, a northbound freight train drawn by locomotive No. 729 was backed over the southbound track to permit train No. 2 to pass on the northbound track. A flagman was sent down the southbound track to halt another freight train hauled by engine 716. Explosive caps also were placed on the rails and a red fuse was lighted. Railroad officials say, however, that Engineer Locke of No. 716 ran by all these warnings. He was still running at about 20 miles an hour when he met No. 729 head-on. Fortunately both crews had time to jump. None were injured except for a brakeman and fireman on No. 716 who suffered minor bruises. Both engines were of the Mallet type, large, powerful and heavy. The terrific crash when they met could be heard in the central part of Bradford. Engine No. 716 literally climbed on top of No. 729 before coming to a halt. Eleven cars were derailed, ten of them being badly twisted in two. Several wooden cars were smashed almost to kindling wood. Wreckage was strewn on both tracks, blocking traffic in both directions and barring the Kendall avenue crossing to traffic."
PRR TRAIN #1638, LOCOMOTIVE # 7274, A K4,COMMING FROM ROCHESTER, PA TO PITTSBURGH,PA WITH ONE COMBINATION BAGGAGE AND PASSENGER CAR, ONE COACH, ONE DINING AND TWO PULLMAN SLEEPERS.THE ACCIDENT RESULTED IN THE DEATHS OF 9 PASSENGERS AND TWO RAILROAD EMPLOYEES. SHOWN IS THE K4 ENGINE AND PASSENGER CAR LYING ON MERCHANT STREET AFTER TRAVELING SOME 280 FT. AFTER THE DERAILMENT AND DEMOLISHED A BRICK TRANSFORMER HOUSE AND THEN WENT CRASHING DOWN ONTO THE STREET.
New York Central locomotive which jumped an elevated track at Albany at the foot of Maiden Lane and tore through a wall of a building, carrying the engineer and flagman with it and pinning them inside the cab for hours, seriously injuring them. The ruins caught fire, the engine was running light at the time. 2-10-1920.
A Pennsylvania Railroad train bound from the south to New York ran into a light engine at Frankford, Chesapeake and Ohio sleeping cars were derailed. Two of the sleeping cars were overturned. One woman was slightly injured. 2-6-1920.
Happened during a terrible storm between Clayton and Dellvale, Kansas, killing 16 people and injuring many others. The track was pushed over by the current, and the train had received no orders to "slow".
Less than two months after the inauguration of a cost-saving CNJ-LV Joint Use of Facilities Traffic Agreement disaster struck. Running on the LV main near the new flyover to the CNJ main at Laurel Run, Pennsylvania, a westbound LV freight collided head-on with an eastbound CNJ train. Amongst the pile of twisted wreckage and five injured crew were what remained of LV Nos. 625, 626, and 627; CNJ Nos. 1603, 1609 (lead engine in the crash), 1702, and 1708; and L&HR Nos. 23 and 24. The L&HR engines were part of the CNJ consist (fifth and sixth position behind the CNJ motive power), deadheaded new for delivery from ALCO.
Engine 3620 with train was approaching the station on the long tangent curve about to enter the interlocking. Approach signal speed was set at 30-mph . . . but for some reason, this locomotive was roaring into the yard trackage over seventy miles per hour! Leaving the rails, the heavy diesel engine rammed into some freight cars sitting on a siding before rolling over and coming to a stop on it's side. By the condition of the locomotive's nose, it can be guessed that the struck cars won the battle.
"The Cottonwood Bridge washed out from flood waters, and the CNW train went down into the river just east of Whitney, 11:00 PM, May or June 1922. John Caswell went down in a coach & helped the wounded up through the top & then the 6 dead ones they took out. George Caswell stood on top & helped with the live & dead ones." per , Lura MAYFIELD Caswell Brott.
The inquest held by Coroner Collins at Rutherford to-day on the death of John Waidler, an engineer, and his fireman, Otto Wagner, who were killed near Rutherford two weeks ago by the explosion of an Erie locomotive boiler, was attended by two expert mechanics. The Erie expert said that the fireman allowed the water to run low in the boiler, and so caused the explosion. The Coronor's expert said the weak and defective condition of hte boiler led to the explosion, and the jury returned a verdict saying that the two lives were sacrificed because of defective machinery." - NYTimes
"A famous French train wreck occurring on the Compagnie de l'Ouest (Western Railway) on the 22nd October 1895. The Granville to Paris express failed to stop at the dead ended Gare Montparnasse station in Paris, careered across 100ft of concourse and though the glass fronted end wall and into the street.
Carrying 131 passengers in 12 cars, the train was in charge of a 2-4-0 class 120 #721 driven by Guillaume-Marie Pellerin. The train left Granville at 0845 and was travelling a few minutes late as it approached Montparneasse at 1555. Pellerin was an experienced engineer of 19 years standing but was suffering from a silly instruction not to use the Westinghouse brake to bring the trains to a halt in the station. This was an economy measure to reduce the brake shoe wear. Engineers were expected to use the locomotive brake with the hand brakes on the brake cars.
He misjudged the speed and attempted to apply the air brake at the last minute but failed to stop. The fall to the Place de Rennes was 30ft and both engineer and fireman had bailed out before the engine hit the wall. The engine just missed a tram.
There were only 5 injuries amongst the passengers and crew. However, beneath the window stood a woman Marie-Augustine Aguilard selling newspapers. She was standing in for her husband while he went to collect the evening papers. She was killed and another woman injured. The railway company paid for her funeral and a pension for her two children. Pellerin and conductor Mariette were both prosecuted. The engineer was fined 50 francs and sentenced to two months jail and the conductor fined 25 francs." - per Ray State.
On February 10, 1903, betwen Saltese, Montana, and Wallace, Idaho, one Northern Pacific rotary met the full onslaught of the winter snows. A breakdown had trapped them in the deep snow and the crew worked by hand to dig out the train. Inching their way along the tracks in the middle of the night, they halted the train at the "S" Bridge, an 839 foot sinuous trestle on the Coeur d' Alene branch about 7 miles from Mullan ID, that offered them respite while the snow accumulated in the gulch. A pusher engine and a caboose were left in the open while the remainder rested on solid ground. At seven in the morning a massive snowslide raced down the gulch and ripped out a portion of the bridge. The rear engine and the caboose plunged into the gorge, burying the engine in the deep snow while the caboose and its seven sleeping occupants lay shattered on top. A passenger car, with eight aboard, hung off the end of the broken trestle, dangling from the coupler. Although no-one was killed, it took doctors eleven hours to get the shocked and dazed survivors to the hospital at Wallace.
"Wreck of Old 97" which occured near Danville Va. on Sept. 27, 1903. #97 was a Southern Railway Mail train which ran from Washington D.C. to Atlanta Georgia. The engineer, in trying to make up time, lost control of the train on the grade known as White Oak Mtn. and hit the trestle over Stillhouse Hollow at more than 60 mph. The maximum allowable speed for that trestle was 16mph.
The spring of 1908 was a season of extremes with May temperatures in the mid 80's. In the middle of May, the rains came, swelling streams. Shortly before midnight a 200 million cubic foot wall of water, 20 feet high, began surging down the Current River, Ontario. Paquette Dam had crumbled, leaving a 150 foot breach in its wall. Three CPR employees, Engineer Savard, Fireman McBride, and Brakeman Inman were killed when the train left the tracks on its approach to the CPR bridge across the Current River. Within three days, Port Arthur was supplied with power from the Kam River Power Plant. The Paquette Dam was never rebuilt.
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