A Frightful Collision on the O&P Railroad

Accident on the Ohio and Pennsylvania Railroad.

On Monday evening, the 31st ult., as the Fast Express Train from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati was turning a curve near Darlington, Pa., a frightful collision took place between this and the freight train going East. The collision was so sudden that no time was allowed to apply the “brakes.” The huge locomotives rushed upon each other as in deadly conflict, and having spent their giant power in one onset, sank together upon the track a complete mass of ruins. The freight train received comparatively little injuries — not so with the other. The baggage car passed entirely through the first passenger car — the bottom of the former passing just above the floor of the latter, sweeping, in the twinkling of an eye, every seat from its place, and crowding passengers, baggage, stoves and broken pieces of timber in a space not enough for one car. The concussion was felt but for a few seconds, and all was still except the fierce hissing of the escaping steam. Almost instantly the shrieks of dying men were heard far above the noise of the crushed engines.

Three or four men lay off to one side, in the snow — some with broken arms, others with shattered legs and bruised bodies, crying in piercing tones of agony for help. Just above the front end of the second passenger car, where a great mass of fragments had been washed up, three men were seen, two of them held up their legs, the third showing out of the mass of ruins but his head and hand, crushed, and black from congestive blood. Poor fellow, death gave him no time for agony.

Near to these, but on the other side of the cars, stood a brave man — Matthew Kolt — one leg broken and his right arm held firmly beneath the heavy timbers of the bottom of the baggage car, resting upon the front of the second passenger car. He uttered no complaint, though he leg was broken and his arm literally ground to pieces; nearly an hour elapsed before he could be released, yet he showed no impatience and let no groans escape his lips. The other two men were almost equally brave, enduring their long confinement with remarkable fortitude. The officers of the trains, assisted by some of the passengers, exerted almost super-human efforts to extricate the wounded and to place them in the unbroken cars; but so firmly were the ruins pressed together that it was probably no less than an hour before all were taken out. The cries of the wounded for physicians, for water, for warmth, and for wives and sisters, were sufficient to rend the stoutest heart.

One poor man, whose throat had been cut either by a splinter or by broken glass, was laid upon the floor of the car, and afterwards propped upon two or three seats, but his sufferings did not last long — he breathed through the cut in his throat for an hour or so and then lay still in death.

The Agitator (Wellsborough, Pennsylvania) Jan 17, 1856

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