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Akron, CO Train Collision, Mar 1906

DISASTER TO NOS. 1 AND 14.

MET IN THE WELL KNOWN CUT TWO MILES WEST OF AKRON, COLORADO.

AND FATAL RESULTS FOLLOW.

MAIL WEIGHER SHERWOOD KILLED -- ENGINEER HARDY AND FIREMAN KING SCALDED -- MAIL CLERKS ALL SLIGHTLY INJURED -- ENGINES BADLY WRECKED, TOGETHER WITH PARTS OF THE TWO TRAINS -- WRECING TRAINS DITCHED.

Sunday evening, between five and six o'clock, passenger trains Nos. 1 and 14 were in a most disastrous head-on collision about two miles west of Akron, Colorado, in a deep, well-known cut between Akron and Xenia.
GEORGE H. SHERWOOD of Oxford, Nebraska mail weigher on train No. 14, was instantly killed, his body being badly mashed.
Fireman "BUD" KING of No. 14's engine was so badly scalded that he died about midnight in Akron, whether he was moved as soon as possible after the wreck.
Engineer FRED HARDY of No. 14 was also badly scalded in his cab by the bursting of a steam pipe. He has been removed to St. Luke's hospital, Denver, and is getting on nicely toward recovery.
The mail clerks on No. 1 were all slightly injured.
None of the passengers on either train were injured, all escaping with a severe shaking up, and some of them being thrown from their seats.
The engineer and fireman of No. 1 jumped in time to escape serious injury, being but slightly hurt in the act.
Both engines were badly damaged, the baggage car of 14 was smashed up, the mail car on No. 1 was considerably wrecked and the cream car on No. 14 suffered in the impact. Every car on No. 1's train but the two rear sleepers was thrown from the track.
The engineer of train 1 noticed the approach of train 14, from the engine's smoke and consequently had his train well under control, although going down a steep grade, else the result would have been different in the matter of both loss of life and damages.
A snowstorm was prevailing at the time of the accident.
The accident is said to have been the result of failure on the part of Agent J. W. Overstreet of Brush to deliver the dispatcher's order to train No. 14, making Xenia a meeting poing for the two trains. Overstreet was doing the work of the regular operator, who had been laid off for some reason. Engineer HARDY is said to have been given a "release" instead of the regular order which is supposed to hang on the hook in the telegraph office. The "release" gave No. 14 the right of way to Akron, when the regular order which was not delivered, named Xenia as a meeting point. No. 1 was late and an effort was being made by the dispatchers' office to help her along.
The wrecking car and train was at once dispatched from McCook to the scene, but it met disaster near Haigler by running onto a broken rail, ditching all the train but the engine and the big new wrecker and delaying the work of picking up the wreck many hours. Another train had to be equipped here and sent up to Haigler to assist in picking up the wreck.
This fact and the snow and cold weather were additional facts in making slow the labor of clearing the mass of wreckage from the main linie and opening for traffic again. It was not until about five o'clock, Tuesday morning, that any passenger trains arrived in McCook from the west. Trains from the east were sent on as far as Akron, however, on about schedule time.
Passenger train No. 6, Sunday night, was sent around by way of Brush-Sterling-Holdrege.
A "stub" No. 2 was made up at McCook, Monday morning, and sent east on regular No. 2's time.
Other trains from the west, Monday night, were combined, arriving in McCook, Tuesday morning at an early hour, running as sections of No. 14. Regular No. 2 was about five hours late in arriving here, Tuesday morning, but thereafter the regular schedules were made.
Under all the circumstances it was fortunate for the company that the results were not more serious.
Two facts are measurably to be credited with the fortunate outcome of the wreck. The fact that No. 1's speed had been greatly reduced at the time the trains met, and second the exceptionally strong character of the equipment of these superb passenger trains.
Conductor A. P. Bonnot and Conductor J. W. Line both of McCook were in charge of Nos 1 and 14 respectively Engineer Hamilton was pulling No. 1.
The mail car on No. 1 was badly mashed up and the escape of the crew is one of the marvels of the remarkably fortunate wreck. All the clerks were slightely injured, but none severely or seriously. C. L. WRIGHT, mail weigher, lip cut; E. B. HOLT, postal clerk, face cut and foot cut and bruised; J. H. GREENE, postal clerk, thigh bruised; E. D. LAMONT, bruised; AMOS B. BOWER, bruised.

McCook Tribune Nebraska 1906-03-16



article | by Dr. Radut