Alma, CA Trains Collide On Trestle, Aug 1904

EXCURSION AND REGULAR PASSENGER TRAINS COLLIDE ON A HIGH TRESTLE.

MANY PERSONS INJURED IN DISASTER CAUSED BY MISUNDERSTANDING OF ORDERS.

Alma, Aug, 20. -- The narrow gauge train which left San Francisco for Santa Cruz at 1:15 this afternoon collided with broad gauge train No. 1376 on the trestle crossing Los Gatos Creek, about 5 o'clock this afternoon. The broad gauge train was filled with excursionists, mostly women and children, returning to San Francisco from the outing of the St. Agnes parish at Sunset Park.
Many were injured by the impact of the trains and in the wild stampede which followed, but fortunately no lives were lost.
List Of Those Injured In Wreck.
HAZEL HAMMOND, 1316 Page Street, laceration of scalp.
JOHN DEVLIN, 618 Baker Street, two ribs broken and internal injuries.
MISS MAZANE, Central and Masonic Avenues, cut over right eye and one rib broken.
MICHAEL BURNS, 1929 Oak Street, badly bruised.
MISS M. TUITE, 274 Hartford Street, fracture of a bone in leg.
MRS. MARY CORADOCK, 1431 Devisadero Street, body bruised.
SAMUEL McFADDEN, 1070 Haight Street, head injured.
HAZEL LAWSON, 1441 Grove Street, face cut.
All are of San Francisco.
Narrow gauge train No. 16, in charge of Engineer E. H. Hoyt, Fireman Drew, Baggageman William Arts and Conductor Tom Hunt, left San Francisco this afternoon filled mainly with delegates to the conventions at Santa Cruz. The orders to the crew were to pass the excursion train at Alma station. Evidently there was a misunderstanding, the crew of the narrow gauge train apparently being of the opinion that the excursion train was in but one section, when, in fact, it was in two. The first section was passed safely and the trains proceeded on their way.
While crossing Los Gatos Creek at slow speed the crew of the narrow-gauge train saw the second section of the excursion train approaching in the opposite direction. Whistles were blown and brakes reversed, but to no purpose. With a resounding crash the iron monsters came together. The jar was terrific. Men and women were thrown from their seats and inside the two trains pandemonium reigned.
Above the sound of escaping steam and the grinding of iron against iron, as the engines tore into each other's vitals, could be heard the piercing shrieks of women as they clasped their frightened children to their breasts.
So great was the force of the collision that each locomotive practically telescoped the other, and the seats in the broad-guage train were torn from their fastenings. The trains were both oil burners and the flaming liquid was thrown about, but fortunately did not set fire to the wreck.
As in all disasters of a like nature, heroes were made in a moment. Men freely volunteered their services in helping the injured and carrying them from the wreck. The cooler headed women present looked after their fainting sisters or soothed the wails of children, alarmed as the disastrous end to their day of pleasure.
Considering the danger to which the party was exposed, the casualty list is very small. Physicians arrived on the scene soon after the crash and tendered their services to the suffering. All on board both trains suffered severely from the shaking up.
Fathers Slattery and Crowley, who accompanied the excursionists were on the first section of the train and were unable to be present to give aid to the frightened members of their parish.
A wrecking train was started at once for the scene of the disaster and the tracks will be cleared as speedily as possible. Both locomotives are completely wrecked, as are the forward and baggage cars of the two trains.
The excursion train, which seems to have suffered most from the shock, was manned by Engineer W. H. Thompson, Fireman Will Hockins and Conductor Powers.

San Francisco Call California 1904-08-21