Winslow Junction, NJ Train Derails At Curve, July 1922
The Atlantic City dispatcher's office immediately tried to raise De Wald by wire, but was unable to get a response. He had fainted, it later developed, as the terrific crash came and the roar of the locomotive, hissing of steam and moans and shrieks of the victims arose.
The wreck, one of the most unusual and deadly of recent years, occurred 1000 yards east of the junction on the right-hand switch off to Cape May. The tower, in which De Wald was on duty, is 800 yards east of the junction and is known as "WA."
When the speeding express struck the switch it tore up rails and bent them into ring shapes like wooden shavings.
Crossing beneath the tracks of the Cape May Reading route, 100 yards to the eastward of the switch, lay the Pennsylvania's right of way. Down the embankment, which from top to bottom was a distance of sixty feet on an angle, the locomotive and tender plunged, dragging the cars behind, some of which reared high in the air and fell over and beyond the heavier locomotive.
The first car, a Pullman, hurdled over the engine and beyond over the Pennsylvania tracks, choking that right of way with debris. Immediately above the locomotive, piled in indescribable confusion, were two more coaches in which were torn great rents and cracks, with windows smashed and scalding steam from the mechanism below ascending.
The Pullman lay upside down on the locomotive, which was on its side. The Pullman slid along on its roof for twenty feet, the vestibule digging up a mound of dirt, which clogged the doorway. One of the Pullman chairs was jammed out through the side of the car and lay on the wrecked engine.
Just above this on the side of the embankment were two more cars on their sides, filled with screaming women and children and moaning men.
The crash had come with the suddenness of a thunderbolt and it was a minute or two before the injured survivors of the train crew could crawl out.
The wreckage did not take fire, due to the steel coaches. The electric lights in the less damaged coaches were kept lighted by storage batteries and added to the weirdness of the scene, which appeared somewhat like a subist sketch, cars standing almost on end and piled on those lower down in the cut where the death leap stopped.
At daybreak, about 5 o'clock, wrecking crews of both the Pennsylvania and Reading roads began the work of clearing the tracks.
Their delay was due to the fear of starting a fire in shifting the debris.
There was prompt response to the appeals for aid for the injured and the removal of the dead and and dying from the scene of the wreck. The Reading dispatched trains from Camden and Atlantic City almost simultaneously, carrying surgeons, nurses and hospital equipment. The entire conutryside also was aroused and automobilists returning home after midnight hurried to the wreck, where they turned their headlights upon the ghastly wreck.
The rescue and wreck trains picked up doctors en route and also firemen with axes and ladders. Many were brought from May's Landing and Hammonton. The work of removing the victims began in less than an hour under the flaring light of torches, lanterns and automobile headlights.
On the relief train from Atlantic City were Drs. Lipschutz, Simcox, Reed and Ireland. Their coats were peeled off for action when the train pulled in and they went to the work heroically.
Station hands and trainmen had already extricated many of the survivors and these received the immediate attention of the physicians.
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