Chicago, IL Express Crashes Into Trolley, Aug 1904



Chicago, Aug. 17. -- Four persons were killed, another fatally hurt, and twenty-three severely injured in a collision late this afternoon between an express train on the Chicago Great Western Railroad and a train of three trolley cars bound for the Hawthorne race track. The dead are MRS. FRANCES RAUTMAN, WILLIAM IRVING, MRS. JEREMIAH SHUCKROW of Danville, Ill., and an unidentified woman, about thirty years of age.
MICHAEL RYAN, motorman of the trolley car, is fatally injured, his skull having been fractured.
The accident occurred at the crossing of Forty-eighth Avenue and the Chicago Great Western tracks. The train was coming into the city, and, according to some witnesses of the accident, was running at a high rate of speed. Others, and the train crew, declare that it was not going over twenty miles an hour.
The trolley train, which was made up of a motor car and two trailers, in charge of Conductor W. H. CONDON and Motorman MICHAEL RYAN, approached the crossing at a rapid rate, just as the train came around a sharp curve to the west of the crossing.
RYAN tried to put on the brakes, but they refused to work, and with undiminished speed the motor car ran upon the tracks at the same time that the locomotive came up. The car struck the train just between the engine and the tender.
The motor was torn to splinters, the car immediately behind it was knocked over, smashed nearly to pieces, and dragged along the track for 100 feet. The third car was not dragged from the tracks, and but for the fact that the couplings between it and the second trailer broke the list of injured would probably be much larger.
The motorman remained at his post to the last. To people who came to aid him while he lay on the ground, he said:
"The brakes would not work. That was what caused it. When I saw that they would not work, I reversed the current."
Division Superintendent R. W. EDWARDS of the Chicago Great Western said tonight that the train was stopped within two car lengths, which proves that it was not running at a high rate of speed. The conductor of the street car did not run ahead of his car to look at the crossing, as provided by the rules of his company.
All the members of the Chicago Great Western train crew and the conductors of the trolley cars were placed under arrest pending the inquiry of the Coroner, which will be made to-morrow.

The New York Times New York 1904-08-24