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Altoona, PA Freight Train Crash, Nov 1925

Altoona PA train wreck 11-29-1925.jpg

FREIGHT TRAIN CRASHES AFTER WILD RUNAWAY.

ENGINEER AND FIREMAN DIE AND BRAKEMAN IS BADLY INJURED.

MAD DOWN GRADE DASH ENDS FATALLY.

SIDE-SWIPES ANOTHER STRING OF BOX CARS NEAR STATION, DEMOLISHING BOTH THEM AND ITSELF.

By Associated Press.
Altoona, Nov. 29. -- Traveling at a speed variously estimated between 50 and 80 miles an hour, a runaway freight train was wrecked, two of its crew killed and one severely injured in one of the worst accidents on the middle division of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The accident occurred within two hundred yards of the Pennsylvania passenger station here at 8 o'clock this morning after the train had made a mad dash down grade from Kittanning Point, seven miles away.
The dead are:
F. C. SCHELINE, 48, of Sharpsburg, Pa., engineer.
H. H. TAUBER, 27, of Aspinwall, fireman.
Seriously injured:
G. M. PINEUSPY, Pittsburgh, brakeman.
Gathering speed on the down grade and with the engineer whistling for hand-brakes, the oncoming freight train side-swiped another freight train just under the Seventeenth Street bridge, making kindling wood of the box cars. The wreckage was piled up thirty or more feet high, with the cargo strewn everywhere. The brakeman, who escaped death by running back on top of the train, said that the blast had been blown for hand-brakes shortly after the train had passed Kittanning Point.
After the crash, the engine of the runaway train was completely turned around and was lying on its side, wheels in the air. The tender of the locomotive was 20 yards away. Thirty-nine out of fifty-eight freight cars in the train were completely demolished.
The crash, coming under the Seventeenth Street bridge, severely strained the structure and traffic has been barred from the bridge, one of the main traffic arteries of the city.
Main line trains were held up for hours, the first train to go through the scene of the wreck passing westward at 3 o'clock. As many trains as possible were routed over other branches.

Titusville Herald Pennsylvania 1925-11-30

Comments

There's a song recorded about this wreck!

Found this while looking through the digitized cylinder recordings at the UC-Santa Barbara collection's website.

http://www.library.ucsb.edu/OBJID/Cylinder7360

The song clearly refers to this wreck, with the brakeman on top trying to slow the train, and the two men killed in the cab of the locomotive.



article | by Dr. Radut