Somerset, NJ Train Wreck, Oct 1903

FATAL WORK TRAIN WRECK

Track Laborers in Cars Mowed Down Without Warning

FRANTIC SURVIVORS VENGEFUL

Men Employed to Repair Flood Damage on Pennsylvania Railroad Maimed and Mangled on Their Way to Work – Sixteen Lives Instantly Crushed Out and Nearly Two Score Persons Badly Hurt.

Trenton, N. J. -- The lives of sixteen men were snuffed out in the twinkling of an eye near Summerset [sic] by a rear end collision of work trains on the Belvidere division of the Pennsylvania Railroad. One unfortunate fellow survived his injuries a few hours and expired in St. Francis' Hospital, this city. Besides the dead thirty-five are injured. All of he killed and injured were track laborers, nearly all of them Italians, and identifications have been difficult. The dead identified are:
BERTRAND BUROUGHTS, colored; JOSEPH BROWN, colored; JAMES HORNS; FRANCESCO BENEDITTO; NATALE CREA; GUISEPPE SANTINO; FRANCISCO FRECELA; GUISEPPE FALCENO; VINCENZO BENEDITTO; BENIGNE SUCIDI; EDWARD HARRIS; GRACAMO FERRAUTE; SEVENO CHIAPPINO; THOMAS ROGERS.
There are three bodies, those of two Italians and a negro, that have not been identified.
The repair train which was wrecked consisted of two passenger coaches. In which were crowded more than a hundred laborers, a derrick car and a flat car. It was at Washington's Crossing awaiting orders for passing a south-bound train. Running behind it was a gravel train that left this city about 7 o'clock a. m. There was a drizzling rain which obscured the vision of Engineer AUGUST CONNOR, of the gravel train, which was running at fair speed. It is said that he had not been notified of the stopping of the repair train. He failed to see it in time to even slow down, and his engine crashed through the flat car and the derrick car and telescoped the passenger coaches with their living freight.
None of the crews of either train was hurt, but their efforts to rescue the injured were seriously interfered with by the laborers who had not been hurt. The Italians half frenzied by fright, were too dazed to assist their fellows. They seemed to think that the trainmen were to blame for the catastrophe. The feeling of resentment grew to such an extent that the trainmen were in fear for their lives, and not for some time could the work of rescue be begun. Then the dead and wounded were carried out. A relief train with a corps of physicians, Coroners and trainmen was sent to the scene of the wreck from this city, returning eventually with the dead and wounded.

The Cranbury Press New Jersey 1903-10-23