Colton, CA Passenger Train Collision, Mar 1907
ONE KILLED, 36 INJURED, IN WRECK.
TOURIST TRAIN JUMPS KITE SHAPED TRACK.
PLEASURE TRIP ENDS IN SERIOUS MANNER FOR MANY.
THOSE MOST SEVERELY HURT CARED FOR AT SAN BERNARDINO, WHILE A DOZEN ARE BROUGHT TO LOS ANGELES.
One death and thirty-six injured resulted from the collision of a Santa Fe passenger on the kite shape track with a Salt Lake freight train one mile north of Colton yesterday afternoon. The passenger train was laden with tourists, and many of the injured are easterners.
The freight, which was east-bound, had been backed on a blind siding to allow the passenger to go by. The passenger engine was derailed before the collision, but the forward cars crashed full speed into the heavy freight engine.
The wreck occurred shortly after 2 o'clock in the afternoon. The track is slightly down grade toward the west, as it approaches Colton, and the train being on time, Engineer McNEILL was holding his engine slightly in check. As he neared the switch he again increased speed, before seeing that the switch had been left open and that the path lay clear to the freight engine, not more than fifty yards away from where the switch left the track.
McNEILL set the emergency brakes just as the drivers lurched over the sharp turn of the sidetrack rails.
The sudden reversal of the engine blew out a cylinder head, and the throwing on of the brakes on the heavy train behind, with the failure of the drivers to strike the switch squarely, threw the locomotive violently to one side, and with a second lurch it rolled over the low embankment. The sudden reversing of the engine and the crash when it struck the curve uncoupled the tender from the baggage car, and the latter, increasing speed with the momentum of the heavily laden cars behind, struck the freight engine at almost full speed.
The train was composed of baggage car, smoker, day coach and parlor car. When the baggage car struck the engine of the freight the force of the collision sent the car crashing back through the smoker, reducing it to splinters and partially telescoped the day coach in back. Only the fact that the day coach was a heavy steel frame car saved it from the fate of the smoking car. The parlor car being in the rear, received the shocks broken by the heavy steel day coach.
Farmers in the neighborhood hurried to aid in the rescue work and medical aid was summoned from Colton. A relief expedition was organized at San Bernardino, and within half an hour later was on they way to the scene of the wreck. A score of men in the vicinity aided those of the train crew who were not disabled in taking the injured passengers from the debris of the wrecked cars.
Most of the injured persons were in the two front cars. NAGASKI, the Japanese who was killed, was in the smoker. Engineer McNEILL and Fireman McKENNEY were found pinned beneath the engine, where the former was found, held in a jet of escaping steam.
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