Posts Tagged ‘Train Wreck’

Step Lively

July 25, 2012


The car stopped comfortably filled,
Then four men got on.
At the next corner seven edged in,
And sixteen got on after that;
Afterward two boys swung on;
Soon a red-faced woman beckoned,
And she go on.
In the midst of the glad revelry
A party of serenaders trooped on.
By and by a colored gemmen,
Redolent of old-mown hay,
He got on.
Then five giggling school girls registered.
A hard-faced mother, with a squalling kid,
Mounted the platform.
Did she? She did?
Then a pompous police officer,
With girth for several.
Ripped in.
There little maids from school
Didn’t do anything but get on.
After a while a street sweeper pushed in,
Then a bricklayer
And a hod carrier.
Three tinsmiths, four stonemasons,
Also a printer,
Two Sunday school teachers,
And a prizefighter.
They got on.
But the “con” didn’t mind — he did his stunt,
And furiously bellowed: “Move up  to the front!”

— St. Paul Dispatch.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Feb 8, 1902

Image from The Historical Museum at Fort Missoula

Dazed a Conductor.

A Western woman who is on a visit to New York was boarding a street car in that city the other day. She had just placed her foot upon the step and was preparing to take another step to the upper platform when, with a furious “Step lively,” the conductor pulled the strap. The car jerked forward and the Western woman swayed back for a minutes, then just caught herself in time to prevent a bad fall upon the cobbles.

She confronted the conductor with angry eyes — eyes that had looked undismayed into those of mighty horned monsters of the prairies.

“What do you mean by starting the car before I was on?” she asked.

“Can’t wait all day for you, lady,” the conductor snarled. “Just step inside there.”

In a moment the Western woman, with a backward golf sweep of the arm, lunged for the conductor’s head. He dodged. The blow sent his hat spinning back into the track. The woman entered the car and sat down. She was flushed, but dignified. While the other women passengers were rather startled, they all knew just how she felt. Then the car stopped while the conductor went back for his hat. The Western woman rode free that time.

The Anaconda Standard (Anaconda, Montana) Jul 23, 1900

Mrs. Stelling has Eloped with a Streetcar Conductor.

Fort Wayne News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Oct 4, 1894


You very often notice, as you’re riding in the car,
There’s one distressing feature all our peace of mind to mar,
It’s the fellow right in front of us who holds his paper so,
We’re forced to read the headlines, but the villain seems to know
Just when we get an inkling of a thrilling bit of news,
For he turns the paper over and thereafter he’ll refuse
To let us finish out the line, and so, with soul distressed,
We feel like smiting him because we cannot read the rest.

There’s nothing suits him better than to tantalize our view
With some big headline till he’s sure we’ve caught a word or two,
But just before we’re quite aware of what it’s all about,
He flops the paper upside down or yanks it inside out
And every time we seek to get a fact within our grasp
He upsets all our purposes and leaves us with a gasp,
Until at last we swear it, in a law and rasping tone,
That if we had the price we’d buy a paper of our own.

— Nixon Waterman, in L.A.W. Bulletin.

Middletown Daily Argus (Middletown, New York) Mar 31, 1898

Street-Car Crushed by Train

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Oct 6, 1883

A Frightful Collision on the O&P Railroad

September 13, 2011

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

The Wreck of the Old No. 97

December 1, 2009

No.97 Wreckage



Of Those Who Met Death, All Were Trainmen or Mailmen — Nearly Everyone on the Train Was Either Killed or Injured.

Fast mail train No. 97 on the Southern Railway jumped the track near Danville, Va., Sunday afternoon, killing nine men and injuring seven.

The following are the names of the known dead:
James A. Brodie, engineer, Statesville, N.C.; J. Thomas Blair, conductor, Central, N.C.; John L. Thompson, postal clerk, Washington D.C.; W.N. Chambers, postal clerk, Washington D.C.; mail clerk in charge, name not yet learned; Clarence White, Statesville, N.C.; D.T. Flory, Nokesville, Va., postal clerk; P.N. Ardenwright, Mt. Clinton, Va.; postal clerk; a flagman and a brakeman, names unknown.

All the injured men are seriously hurt. There were eighteen persons on the train.

The trestle where the accident occurred is 500 feet long, and is located on a sharp curve. Engineer Brodie was a new man on that division of the Southern and it is said he came to the curve at a very high rate of speed.

The engine had gone only about fifty feet on the trestle when it sprang from the track, carrying with it five mail cars and an express car. The trestle, a wooden structure, also gave way for a space of fifty feet.

At the foot of the trestle is a shallow stream with a rocky bottom. Striking this the engine and the cars were reduced to a mass of twisted iron and steel and pieces of splintered wood. As the cars went down they touched the sides of the Riverside cotton mill, which is very close to the trestle.

A great crowd of people was soon at the scene of the wreck. No one on any of the cars had made an effort to jump, and the bodies of all those killed and injured were found in the wreckage of the different cars to which they belonged.

All unofficial opinions that have been ascertained agree in giving only one cause for the wreck, the high speed of the train on the sharp curve.

Carroll Sentinel (Carroll, Iowa) Sep 29, 1903


Terrible Disaster on the Southern Near Danville, Va. — The Post Mail Goes Over a Trestle — Four Cars Wrecked, Nine Killed and Seven Injured.

Danville, Va., Special, 27th, to Charlotte Observer.

No. 97, the Southern Railway’s fast mail, plying between New York and New Orleans, plunged over a trestle north of this city this afternoon, killing nine men, injuring seven others and completely wrecking three mail cars and one express car.

The killed are:

J.L. Thomspon, railway mail clerk, of Roxboro, N.C.; W.S. Chambers, railway mail clerk, of Midland, Va.; D.P. Flory, railway mail clerk, of Nokesville, Va.; P.M. Argenbright, railway mail clerk, of Mt. Clinton, Va.; J.A. Broady, engineer, of Placerville, Va.; J.T. Blair, conductor, of Spencer, N.C.; A.G. Clapp, of Greensboro; Flagman S.J. Moody, of Raleigh, N.C.; a 12 year-old son of J.L. Thompson.

The injured are: Lewis W. Spies, of Manassas; Percival Indenmauer, of Washington; Chas. E. Reames, of Charlottesville; Jennings J. Dunlap, of Norwood, N.C.; N.C. Maupin, of Charlottesville; J. Harrison Thompson, of St. Luke.

All of the above are railway mail clerks. It is said that this is the first time that Engineer Broady ever ran a mail train and the supposition is that he was running too fast and was not entirely familiar with his road-bed.

The wreck occurred on a steep grade, the latter embracing the trestle, which is in the shape of the letter “S.” The train was probably running at a rate of between 50 and 60 miles an hour when the engine left the track. The train ran some distance on the crossties, plunging over the trestle at a tangent, when the engine was about half way across.

The engine and all of the cars fell 75 feet to the water below. The last car tore up a considerable section of the trestle. The engine struck and was buried in the bed of the creek. The cars piled on top of the engine, all of them being split into kindling wood. The engineer was found some distance from his cab, horribly mangled and dead. All of the bodies save one have been recovered.

The train carried nothing but mail and express. The mail was not much damaged, considering the extent of the wreck. Some loose registered letters and the valuables of the dead men have been recovered. The express matter was considerably injured.

Among the express consignments were a number of crates containing canary birds. The birds were not hurt and were singing when taken from the wrecked cars.

Two small boys, names unknown, were playing under the trestle when the wreck occurred. They were thrown down and injured, but not seriously.

A woman, in a delicate condition of health, witnessed the wreck from her chamber window. She fell to the floor unconscious and it is not believed that she will live.

The mail coaches were taken in charge by R.B. Boulding, a clerk who spends his Sundays in this city. He arrived on a train within half an hour after the disaster. Mail clerks were sent on special trains from Richmond, Charlotteville and Greensboro, N.C., to assist in rescuing the government property.

The wreck itself beggars description. All of the cars are battered into kindling wood and the engine is buried in the mud of the creek. A wrecking crew is laboring to remove the debris so that the trestle can be repaired for the continuance of traffic at as early an hour as possible tomorrow.

All of the injured mail clerks were taken to the Home of the Sick in this city, where they received medical attention.

At a late hour it was learned that Lewis W. Spies is in a critical condition and will probably not live through the night.

The other victims may recover, although the physicians can give out no definite information as to their condition. One man, name unknown, is still in the wreck. He can be seen, but the debris under which he is lying has not been removed.

Express Messenger W.F. Pinckney escaped injury.

Landmark, The (Statesville, North Carolina) Sep 29, 1903


At the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum website:

Song “Wreck of the Old 97” Lyrics and Audio