Austin, IL Electric Train Wreck, Oct 1911




A Dozen Passengers Injured at Austin, Failed to See in Lights in Fog.

A dozen or more persons were seriously injured about 8 o'clock Thursday night when two east bound one-car trains on the Aurora, Elgin and Chicago Electric road collided at Austin in the dense fog which prevailed at that hour.

Clarence Ellsworth, long identified with the Rockford Street Railway company as starter in other capacities, was the motoneer of the car which crashed into the other and former Rockfordite is numbered among the body.

The first train, a special, had slowed down after leaving the Central Avenue station at Austin, because of the fog, and the next train, in charge of Motorman Ellsworth ran into it from the rear. Ellsworth's car was filled with passengers and all were thrown from their seats.

Ellsworth sighted the lights of the other car when within a hundred feet or so and applied the brakes and shut off the current but too late to avoid a collision.

Every window of both cars was broken and the Ellsworth car caught fire, evidently from sparks from the rails following the setting of the brakes and the sudden shutting off of the current. Passengers made their escape but the car was destroyed.

Conductor C. Borry of Ellsworth's car was cut about the head. J. M. Bachelor of Chicago, sprained an ankle. Conductor J. Boswell of the special broke his left arm and collar bone and his motorman, Edward Jensen, was cut and bruised about the head and arms. A. Hazfstrom of Maywood suffered some severe cuts and Mrs. George Wilson of Elgin was severely bruised. Several other passengers met with serious harm.

Story of the Wreck.

Chicago, Oct. 13. -- Out of a blinding fog one Aurora and Elgin electric train running at high speed, emerged at Austin last night just in time to smash into the rear end of another slowly moving train. Six persons were seriously and nine slightly injured. One car caught fire, but its passengers escaped without injury.

The accident happened at Central avenue and West Harrison street. All evening the tracks had been hidden by a heavy fog -- so thick that the headlights hardly penetrated six feet into it.