Newman, CA Train Collision, July 1899
LIVES LOST IN A TRAIN WRECK DUE TO GROSS CARELESSNESS.
TWO KILLED; THIRTEEN INJURED.
CROWDED SPECIAL RUNS INTO A CONSTRUCTION TRAIN AT NEWMAN.
PASSENGERS ON THE WAY TO THE EDUCATIONAL CONVENTION -- VICTIMS OF THE DISASTER.
Newman, July 10. -- Two women passengers were killed and thirteen others were injured in a collision at 2:38 o'clock this morning on the Southern Pacific main track within 300 yards of the railway station at this point.
A special, made up of an engine and eight tourist coaches, carrying delegates to the National Education Convention at Los Angeles, running at forty miles an hour, struck the rear end of a combination train, which had been brought to a standstill at the water tank. The express crashed through a baggage and day coach on the train ahead, smashing these to splinters, and setting the wreck on fire. The same impact telescoped the tender into the first sleeper of the special, bringing it up with a jerk that threw every occupant out who had not been jammed in a berth by the crashing of the timbers.
Twenty-two passengers were sound asleep in the telescoped car, and twenty of these miraculously escaped with their lives and a few injuries. Two of them, MRS. THOMAS and MISS HARRIS, who were in the end berth next to the tender, were killed outright. MRS. THOMAS' neck was broken, and MISS HARRIS, who fainted from the shock, was asphyxiated from the smoke which rolled up in volumes from the burning wreck.
Suddenly roused out of their sleep, the lights all extinguished and water pouring in on them from holes in the tender, the surviving passengers, some of them pinned securely in their berths, were in a frightful state of panic. The first thought of many was that they had plunged through a bridge and were rapidly sinking into the waters of an unknown river. They screamed for help, until the few that found their senses struck matches and lit up the wreck. Then it was found that they had stopped and all immediate danger was over, and all regained their full senses and set to work to extricate themselves and render what assistance they could to others.
By this time the wreck, surrounded by the passengers of the other coaches, who had merely been badly shaken up, was a roaring furnace. The splinters and twisted iron of the two coaches on the combination train were blazing fiercely. The flames were licking up the woodwork in the engine and momentariily threatening to fasten on the telescoped sleeper, in which it was supposed any number of killed were piled up.
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