Port Royal, PA Train Wreck, Jun 1905
Father and Son Killed
Daughter Fatally Hurt in Horrible Railroad Accident Near Port Royal
Trio Run Down By Express
Rumbling of Passing Freight Drowned Warning Whistles of Fast Approaching Train
At a lonely spot on the Middle division of the Pennsylvania Railroad, near Port Royal, occurred on of the most gruesome accidents yesterday afternoon that the division has had for some time. Two members of a family of four met a horrible fate as they were returning to their home after having paid a visit to friends about one-half mile away. The party consisted of John Tittle, aged 55 years; James Tittle, his son, aged 17 years, and his daughter, Bertha, aged 13 years. Tittle is a prosperous farmer, residing one-half mile east of Port Royal, and was well-known among the farmer populace.
At noon yesterday it was decided to pay a visit to one of their neighbors, who lives down the railroad a short distance. After having spent some time visiting they started home. At this hour a rain storm was threatened almost any moment, and the small group chose the nearest route home and walked along the railroad tracks.
Express Rounded Curve
About this time the Atlantic Express, known as train No. 8, which is one of the fastest on the road, was due, but the farmer with his children was entirely ignorant of this fact. A west-bound freight train was rumbling by and to avoid the cinder and dust, the father and son, who were walking in the middle of the east-bound passenger track, bowed their heads, while the daughter, who was walking between then tracks, was constantly watching the freight train.
Further up the line, around a sharp curve, was speeding the express train, drawn by engine No. 1080, which was in charge of Conductor Luther W. Walzer and Engineer J.L. Lutz. Engineer Lutz whistled for the road crossing at Port Royal, but the ding of the freight train and the wind prevented any possibility of the party hearing the warning.
On it came, and in a few seconds it was rounding the sharp curve. The engineer was unable to see the trio, owing to the big bend, but Fireman, H.C. Baker shouted to him to blow the whistle. This was done, but the engine plowed into the trio, instantly killing the father and son and badly injuring the daughter. The train was immediately stopped and Conductor Walzer with his brakeman, C.E. Middaugh and I.D. Stouffer, started back to find the unfortunate people.
Two Were Cut to Pieces
The accident happened on the stone arch bridge at that place, but strangely the bodies were not hurled into the creek. The father was lying on the adjoining track, disemboweled with the back of his skull cut cleanly from his head and entirely covered with blood. His son, James, was lying in the middle of the fatal track, literally cut to atoms, and was unrecognizable. The flying body of James Tittle struck his sister and knocked her forcibly to the rails. The crew was not aware of this until later, and the little girl was so frightened that she ran up the track with the contusions of the right leg and abrasions of the back.
Engineer Lutz was just promoted to passenger engineer from the freight service yesterday, and yesterday was his first trip.
Patriot, Harrisburg, PA 5 Jun 1905