Eatontown, NJ Train Wreck, Jun 1906
ATLANTIC CITY EXPRESS DITCHED AT EATONTOWN
One Passenger Dead and Many Seriously Hurt.
CAR HURDLES THE ENGINE
Building Shut Off Engineer's View of a Siding to Which a Car Was Being Shunted.
Speeding at fifty miles an hour, the Atlantic City Express, over the Central Railroad of New Jersey, was wrecked at 10:15 o'clock yesterday morning at Eatontown, N. J. The train was on its way to this city. One of the passengers, G. W. Van Duzer, a vaudeville actor, of 221 West 133d Street, this city, was killed and at least twenty-five of the 150 passengers were more or less seriously injured. Otto Mesloh, a musician, of 310 East Eighty-seventh Street, was the most seriously hurt of the passengers.
Despite the fact that the big mogul locomotive pulling the train plowed a rut its own depth and thrice its length in the morase between the embankments of the track over which it should have continued, and the side track, the open switch of which led to the accident, the engineer, Elisha Egbert, and the fireman Robert Hackett, stuck to their posts and escaped without serious injury. They were both buried in mud and somewhat scalded by escaping steam from the engine.
The conformation of the track beds at the point where the wreck occurred brought about a most unusual result. The curve which the express should have taken is an easy one, and is taken right along at fifty or more miles an hour, but the switch for the freight siding has a sharp curve. Between and below the two tracks is a stretch of marsh land.
Just before the time for the express to pass, a freight train had entered the siding, sending a car loaded with produce around the sharp curve. The curve of the main track is so laid that at the switch there is no clear view of the rails toward the Atlantic City end. There is a building for the Central Railroad employes[sic] which otherwise obstructs the view.
When the engine struck the open switch with the sharp curve to the right, it bounded from the tracks and went straight ahead between the arms of the Y formed by the main and side tracks. It plunged forward into the soft and marshy land between the two embankments, and plowed onward, sinking deeper and deeper by its own weight as it went along.
Behind the engine, the tender held fast and followed it, but behind the tender the combination baggage car and smoker broke away and twisted for a moment on the siding, reared high in the air, and then fell on top of the half sunken locomotive. The combination car struck the top of the locomotive just about the middle and swung down into the marsh at the rear end.
Van Duzer was thrown half through a window by the sudden rear and lurch of the car, and half his body was caught in the mud and buried. The other passengers in the smoker were thrown right and left and battered considerably.
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