Washington, DC Train Wreck, Aug 1887


A Fast Express Train Completely Wrecked.

The Engineer Killed and Eighteen Persons Injured - An Early Morning Sensation at the National Capital -- A Fallen Tower.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17. --- Of all the railroad accidents that have occurred on the "Y" of the Baltimore & Ohio, that of this morning was by far the most frightful and complete. The limited express No. 4, due from Chicago and Cincinnati at 6:20 a. m., having two sleepers, two day coaches, two baggage cars and one mail car attached to the engine, ran away from the engineer at Galeswood. The air brake broke and the train came thundering along at a fearful rate of speed.
Just before the "Y" was reached the engine jumped the track carrying the train with it. The tower, which was a four story building, was cut from its foundations as if by a razor.
The Engineer, HAMILTON BROSIUS, of Baltimore, was scalded to death. He was taken into Mrs. Ellen Dent's house, No. 692 Delaware avenue, where he died on the floor two hours afterward.
The fireman, named SMITH, jumped from the engine, and had his leg broken. He is not expected to live.
WILL BAXTER, the operator employed in the tower, saw the train and saved himself by jumping out of the window and catching in a tree near by.
JOE HEALY, a boy employed in the tower, was seriously hurt.
The news of the disaster spread through the city rapidly, and thousands hastened to the scene. It was almost the exact spot where the fatal accident of the summer of 1884 occurred. When the crowd reached the scene, the train lay stretched like a wounded snake, extending from Fifth street, north-east, to Delaware avenue. The engine lay completely overturned and smashed out of all resemblance to a locomotive. The tender was but a mass of iron bolts and bars. Fences, sheds, and everything in its track were swept away before the irresistible rush of the iron monster.
While the wreckers were at work removing the debris everybody at the depot was excited. Crowds of excursionists from Luray, Harper's Ferry and Bay Ridge filled the depot and street, all bent on having a good time. While the trains were being made up engine No. 804 started from the engine yard and jumped the track in such a manner as to prevent the other engines from getting out of the yard, causing the excursionists some delay. Many of the excursionists who visited the depot and expected a good time were frightened by the accident and returned to their homes. Some of the passengers on the wrecked train also returned to their Western homes instead of continuing their journey to the East.
The work at the wreck continued all day long. There was much excitement on account of reports that there were still persons buried under the debris.
MR. LEGGE, the general superintendent of the road in this city, was on the scene early investigating the accident. He said the accident was due undoubtedly to a failure of the air brakes to work. MR. LEGGE was at noon confident that all the passengers had been accounted for, and that there was no one buried in the debris.

Continued on page 2