Boiler Explosion of the Locomotive, Achilles Proves Fatal

Above image of the DL&W camelback 4-4-0 #952 (not the train mentioned in the article) is from the Kodtrak Kountry website, where you can find more New York train history.

Terrible Railroad Accident.

SYRACUSE, Nov. 21.

The freight train of the Syracuse and Utica railroad, this morning about 4 o’clock, drawn by two engines, when about three quarters of a mile from the depot, the boiler of the foremost locomotive, Achilles, exploded with disastrous consequences. It exploded in the fire box — The machinery and wood work were demolished, and the locomotive is left and almost worthless wreck. The power of the agent of this mischief may be imagined from the fact, that the entire locomotive was lifted from the tract and carried around so as to lie directly across the second parallel track, and the tender was thrown entirely off the track in an opposite direction.

Israel Morgan, engineer, was blown into the air, and fell in the road about 150 feet distant. He received the full effect of the steam and hot water upon his person as it was forced through the door of the furnace. Most of his clothes were torn from his person, and his body was terribly scalded and burned.

William Canton, the fireman, was in a more fortunate location, and tho’ blown some feet to the side of the road, where he was found in an insensible condition, escaped with some scalding and bruises, which are not considered mortal.

The second locomotive, Thesis, had nearly the entire machinery of one side carried away.

Messrs. Howard and Palmer, the engineer and fireman, narrowly escaped injury.

The probable cause of the explosion, was high steam and low water, preparatory to accomplishing the difficult grade of road as it leaves the city.

Watertown Chronicle (Watertown, Wisconsin) Dec 1, 1852

The above article is almost identical to the one below; one a few words appear to be changed.

FATAL ACCIDENT OF THE SYRACUSE AND UTICA RAILROAD.

Syracuse, Sunday, Nov. 21. — 7 1/2 P.M.

The morning freight train on the Syracuse and Utica Railroad, this morning started from the East at 4 o’clock drawn by two locomotives. When about three-quarters of a mile from this depot, the foremost locomotive — the Achilles — exploded with terrible and disastrous consequences. The boiler exploded in the fire box. The machinery and wood work were rent asunder or demolished, and the locomotive left an almost worthless wreck.

The power of the agent of this mischief may be imagined, from the fact, that the entire locomotive was lifted from the track, and carried around so as to lie directly across the second and parallel track, and the tender was thrown entirely clear of the track, in the opposite direction.

ISRAEL MORGAN, the engineer, was blown into the air, and fell in the road, about one hundred and fifty feet distant. He received the full effects of the steam and heated water upon his person, as it was forced through the door of the furnace, and was undoubtedly instantly killed. Most of the clothes were torn from his body, and he was terribly scalded and burned.

The fireman was in a more fortunate location, and although blown some feet to the side of the road, where he was found in an insensible condition, he escaped with a severe scalding and bruising, which are not considered mortal.

The second locomotive — the Thesis — had nearly the entire machinery of one side carried away. MESSRS. HOWARD and PALMER, the engineer and fireman of this engine, narrowly escaped injury.

The probable cause of the explosion was high steam and low water, preparatory to accomplishing the difficult grade of the road as it leaves the city.

MR. MORGAN had been an engineer some seven or eight years, and was considered very careful and competent. He leaves a wife and three children.

The report of the explosion was tremendous, and was heard at a great distance. Fragments of the locomotive were thrown hundreds of feet, and several houses on either side of the street were slightly damaged by the clapboards breaking through, windows smashed, &c. MR. MORGAN’S watch was found in a vacant lot fully two hundred feet from the scene of the disaster. It was still running, and in no way damaged, except that the crystal was cracked.

The loss to the Syracuse and Utica Railroad Company by the accident, is estimated at from twelve to fifteen thousand dollars.

The New York Times – Nov 22, 1852

The New York Times article can be found on the GenDisasters website.

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