Isleta, OH Troop Train Disaster, Sep 1950

Memorial Coshocton OHIO National Guard Train wreck 1950.jpg Coshocton OH Train wreck 9-11-1950.jpg



Newcomerstown, O. -- A fast Pennsylvania railroad passenger train ploughed into the rear of a standing troop train during a heavy fog early today, killing at least 21 National Guardsmen.
LT. COL. FRANK TOWNSEND, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., commanding officer of the Pennsylvania National Guard troops aboard the train, said 13 bodies were carried from the wreckage, four died at hospitals, and the bodies of four more soldiers were still in the wreckage. The state highway patrol, however, placed the death toll figure at 25.
COL. TOWNSEND said 44 were injured. All of the dead and most of the injured were members of the 109th Field Artillery Battalion, Pennsylvania National Guard, enroute to Camp Atterbury, Ind., to begin training under Federal Service. The Pennsylvania Guard was one of four militia divisions recently called into Federal Service for the Korean War.

3 Cars Demolished.
Three cars of the troop train, carrying 655 troops, were demolished when the Spirit of St. Louis, enroute from New York to St. Louis with 240 passengers, rammed the rear of the stalled troop carrier at Isleta, five miles west of here. The first unit of the twin-unit Diesel pulling the passenger train plunged into a creek and two cars on the Spirit of St. Louis were derailed. They did not overturn, however, and none of the passengers aboard the passenger train was injured seriously.
Witnesses said the troop train stopped west of a signal when a steam valve controlling the train's air brake system apparently snapped. Crewmen had just placed flares at the rear of the disabled troop carrier when the Spirit of St. Louis plunged out of the dawn and smashed into the end of the standing train.
The first unit of the Diesel knocked the rear coach into the air, then struck the second coach, shearing it to floor level. The Diesel's second unite then crashed into the rear of the third coach, knocking it at right angles to the track, before coming to rest against the fourth coach.

Bodies In Field.
Bodies of the dead men were stretched out in a field alongside the Pennsylvania right-of-way until Army officials ordered them removed to Coshocton Funeral Homes. The injured were taken to hospitals in Coshocton, Cambridge, Dennison and Dover.
The Army withheld names of those killed pending notification of next of kin.
MAJ. GEN. D. B. STRICKLAND, commander of the 28th Division, flew to the scene by National Guard transport from Camp Atterbury to direct activities. ADJ. GEN. FRANK B. WEBER of Pennsylvania also was at the scene.

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