Milwaukee, WI Interurban Crash, Sep 1950
INTERURBAN TRAINS COLLIDE HEAD-ON; NINE DIE.
MODEL RAILWAY FANS ON TOUR MEET WITH DISASTER.
OWNER OF INTERURBAN LINE IN CHARGE OF ONE TRAIN AS CRASH OCCURS NEAR MILWAUKEE.
Milwaukee, Sept. 2 (AP) -- A national convention of model railway fans opened tragically today when nine of them were killed and an estimated 50 injured in a headon crash between two special interurban trains.
RAYMOND KRATT, 27, and his wife, MARIAN, 25, Chicago.
JOHN WILLIAMS, Park Ridge, Ill.
EMIL H. BECK, Detroit.
WILLIAM GREENAWAY, Louisville, Ky.
WILLIAM A. WIGHT, 25, Wauwatosa, Wis.
CHARLES J. SULZBACH, about 27, Minneapolis.
HUNTLEY G. BURROUGHS, Detroit.
WILLIAM ROBERTS, about 40, Taylor, S.C.
The collision, about nine miles from downtown Milwaukee, was between two special two-car excursion trains of the Milwaukee Rapid Transit and Speedrail Co. Delegates to the annual convention of the National Railroad Association had leased them for a sight-seeing trip.
The forward cars of the two electrified trains were smashed to bits as one telescoped into the other, splitting the sides back like a banana peel. The rear coaches of both trains remained on the tracks.
Owner At Controls.
One of the trains, operated by JAY MAEDER, president of the railroad, was returning from its trip to suburban Hales Corners. The other was enroute there. Both trains were traveling on the same track.
MAEDER, who told an Associated Press reporter he "jumped or was shoved" from the control booth of the inbound train before the crash, said "I have no idea of how it happened."
"I saw the southbound train. coming around a bend about 200 yards away," MAEDER said. "I slammed on the brakes, but saw a collision was coming. I opened the door to the control room and I don't know whether I jumped or was shoved. Someone said he pushed me."
"I have no idea of how it happened," MAEDER added. "Someone must have missed a signal."
Worried About It.
MAEDER, who purchased the Speedrail Company less than one year ago, said he had worried all last night about operating the special trains over his line which serves the southern and western Milwaukee suburbs. He said the model enthusiasts had arranged for five such trains for today's picture-taking trips and he was concerned about their operation along with regular daily trains.
The motorman assigned to the run was with him in the control booth at the time of the crash, MAEDER said.
The collision scene is only a few blocks from a heavily traveled beltline highway carrying traffic around the Milwaukee metropolitan area. Many of the cars carrying Labor Day weekend vacationers turned off at the site, checking movement of emergency vehicles.
The injured were taken by ambulance to Milwaukee county general hospital, only a few miles away, until the emergency room was too overcrowded to handle more. The rest were taken to another institution.
Cut Bodies Out.
Workers with acetylene torches cut the twisted steel from around bodies of the dead and injured. Many of those hurt were trapped in the wreckage.
A passenger told of diving to the floor to save himself when he heard "screeching brakes." Later, after crawling through a shattered window, he said he found a man with one leg torn off lying beside the tracks. He administered a tourniquet.
Logansport Press Indiana 1950-09-03
Researched and Transcribed by Stu Beitler. Thank you, Stu!