Dubuque, IA Train Collision, Sep 1887 - Death on the Rail

Dubuque, IA Train Wreck, Sept 1887



Dubuque, Ia., Sept. 19. -- A horrible accident on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad, two miles north of this city, took place about 5:30 this morning, the north and south bound passenger trains colliding at full speed. Five persons were killed outright and many injured.
The most disastrous and fatal railroad accident that has occurred in this vicinity for years took place this morning at about five o'clock on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad two miles north of Dubuque. Two passenger trains collided on the curve around Eagle Point, by which two engineers and one fireman were instantly killed, the other fireman and a brakeman dying during the forenoon, in all five persons.
CHARLES FALLS, one of the oldest engineers on the road, was on the engine of the south-bound train, and ELMER WINCHESTER on the north-bound train.
WM. RICHMOND and EDWARD CUMMINGS were the two firemen, and all lived in Dubuque.
JOHN PERNITY of Milwaukee, brakeman on the Northwestern train, was instantly killed. He was riding on the engine so as to open the switch at Peru, three miles beyond, and the regular meeting place of the two trains.
J. J. O'BRIEN, express messenger, and one of the postal clerks, were badly shaken up but not seriously hurt. None of the passengers were injured beyond a few bruises except RICHARD WHEIGHT of Holycross, who was coming to Dubuque. He was injured in the back, but not dangerously. The two engines were badly wrecked and were thrown into a shapeless mass.
The cause of accident is charged up to the train dispatcher at La Crosse. These two trains usually pass at Peru side track, five miles north of Duquque. The north-bound train was behind time and should have passed the south-bound train at Dubuque. Conductor WOLCOTT and Engineer WINCHESTER of the north-bound train refused to leave Dubuque on the first order from the train dispatcher at La Crosse, expecting to meet the south-bound train if they did. They notified him of their apprehension but received a second order imperative in its nature and pulled out. The place where the accident occurred was at Eagle Point, one of the sharpest curves on the road and where all trains have to whistle and slow up. This morning there was a heavy fog. The south-bound train was moving at a good speed, and the engines could not be seen until within fifty feet of each other, and too late for either engineer or fireman to jump.

Oshkosh Daily Northwestern Wisconsin 1887-09-19