Chicago, IL Train Wreck, Jul 1904


Excursion Flyer Runs Into a Freight Train Near Chicago.


Women and Children of Doremus Church in Vat Cars That Were Smashed in Collision.

CHICAGO, July 13.—Twenty persons were killed and about twenty-five injured tonight in a collision on the. Chicago and Eastern Illinois Rairoad at Glenwood, Ill., twenty-three miles south of Chicago.

The collision occurred between a picnic train from Chicago, which was returning from Moraenee, Ill., and a freight train. The picnic train, was coming north, and the freight was on the southbound track.

A misplaced switch threw the picnic train, running at forty miles an hour, out on the southbound track, and before the engineer could apply the brakes it crashed into the
rear of the freight.

The locomotive, the baggage car and the first coach of the picnic train were demolished.

All of the killed and injured were on the locomotive and in these two cars.

The picnic was the annual outing of the members of Doremus Church. After spending the day on the picnic grounds at Momenee the trainload started on the return trip, running in as the second section of the regular passenger, which is due in Chicago at S:2«5 P. M.

When the picnic train reached Chicago Heights, four miles beyond Glenwood, where the accident took place, it was switched to the regular south-bound track, and although it was coming north a clear track was given by the operator at Chicago Heights until it should reach Glenwood, four miles away. The train after leaving Chicago Heights gradually increased its speed, and when half the distance between the two stations had been covered it was plunging along at the rate of forty miles an hour.

Just half way between Chicago Heights and Glenwood there is a sharp curve. As the picnic train tore around this on the south-bound track, a freight train was backing from the south-bound to the northbound track. It was partly on both tracks, and no train could have passed it in either direction. The bend is so sharp that the engineer of the picnic train did not see the freight until he was about on it.

The locomotive and the baggage car of the passenger train went through the freight and were piled up in a heap of wreckage on the further side of the switch track. The first coach of the picnic train plunged Into the wreckage and buried itself in a mass of kindling wood.

Nearly all of the passengers in the first coach were caught beneath the mass of
debris, and it was here that the loss of life occurred.

The people in the rear coaches were hurled from their seats, and many of them were bruised, but all of the serious casualties occurred in the first car. The uninjured passengers and trainmen at once hastened to the relief of those who were pinned under the wreckage.

The wreck was two miles from the nearest house. Much delay ensued before some of the injured, who were held down by heavy timbers, could be extricated. Nothing could be done for them until lifting machinery came from Chicago Heights. The first train to arrive at the wreck came from Chicago Heights and it carried six physicians.

A short time afterward a second train arrived from Glenwood bringing additional physicians and a number of nurses. Darkness had fallen and the rescue work went oil by the light of bonfires.

A regular relief train was made up at Gienwood, and it brought the dead and wounded to Chicago.

The New York Times, New York, NY 13 Jul 1904