Milton, PA Train Wreck, Jun 1945

MANY DIE WHEN EXPRESS TRAIN RAMS FREIGHT

Remove 16 Bodies From Wreck At Milton; 32 Others Injured.

MILTON, Pa., June 15 – (UP) – Seventeen persons were killed today when the Buffalo-bound Dominion express of the Pennsylvania Railroad crashed into a derailed freight train near here, company officials announced.

The bodies of 14 passengers and two crew members were recovered from the wreckage of the express about five hours after the accident. A brakeman, A. R. HOVERTER, Harrisburg, Pa., was missing and the railroad said it was assumed his body still was trapped in the wreckage of an express car.

At least 32 other passengers were injured in the accident, with about 25 of them being detained at nearby hospitals.

Six cars of the passenger train left the rails one mile south of Milton after the engine rammed into derailed cars of an ore train. Twelve bodies were removed from one coach and two other bodies were found in a combination baggage-passenger car.

The ore train of 103 cars, moving east, derailed at 1:08 a. m., when one of the cars buckled, throwing a number of the heavily loaded cars onto the west-bound track. Before crew members could set up a warning signal, the Buffalo train rammed into the wreckage within a minute later.

The engine and six cars crashed off the tracks. The engine crew of two was killed when the big locomotive toppled off the right-of-way. One coach and seven Pullman cars remained on the tracks and many of the passengers were shaken but not injured.

The first dead identified were Engineer R. C. STRATTON, of 1414 Market St., Camp Hill and Sunbury, Pa., Fireman N. E. GRAEFF of Sunbury, and MRS. FRANCES CHESLOCK, 1312 Hemlock St., Shamokin.

P. W. NEFF, general superintendent of the railroad at Williamsport, reported that the freight train, moving slowly after stopping at Milton, derailed apparently because of a defect in a journal box.

NEFF reported that seconds after the locomotives had passed each other, one of the ore cars buckled and jolted several other cars into the path of the passenger train. The crash occurred almost immediately.

Two express cars and a postal car plunged off the tracks behind the engine. The number four car, a passenger-baggage combination, nosed into the earth. The next coach telescoped the combination car. All of the passenger dead were taken from the two cars.

Workmen used acetylene torches to reach the dead and to free two of the injured trapped in the wreckage.

Six mail clerks miraculously escaped injury. The mail car, was thrown into the air and landed approximately 50 feet in front of the wrecked locomotive.

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