Huntingdon, PA Train Wreck, May 1947

Four Perish In Freak Rail Accident

Huntington, [sic] Pa. May 1.--AP-- Steel plates protruding from a moving freight train early today ripped a hole in the side of the Pennsylvania railroad's flyer "The American" and wrecked another freight, killing four persons and injuring 42 others.
The freak crash occurred five miles west of here at 12:47 am as two 16-foot long sheets of steel, laden lengthwise aboard an open gondola of a westbound freight, shifted suddenly so that their ends stuck out over adjoining tracks on either side.

Into one of these obstructions plunged the New York to St. Louis sleeper-coach passenger train, also westbound on the paraliel (sic) tracks. Ends of the inch-thick steel bit into the fourth passenger car, tearing a tremendous hole in its side. The engine, mail car and another coach were also damaged.

Moments later another freight moving east, smashed into the steel protruding from the other side, sending the engine and tender crashing from the tracks and temporarily tying up all four main tracks of the PRR.

Dead and injured in the third fatal collision on the PRR middle Pennsylvania division in three months all were riding the passenger. Casualties were rushed to the Huntington [sic] hospital and to the Altoona hospital 30 miles to the east. Many of the casualties were military service personnel.

Two soldiers were the first identified among the victims. They were JOSEPH SELMICK JR., 18, Pleasant Gap, Pa. And Sgt ROBERT E. DEAVERS (age unavailable) Trinway, O. The two unidentified were a man and a woman.

Injured included:
STAFF SGT LLOYD SMITH, 1313 W 4th st, Oswego, Kas, right thumb badly cut; taken to Altoona hospital.
STANLEY CLAY KOUSKI, Salina, Kas, cut back of left ear;
ROBERT DUNLAP, Chickasha, Okla., right arm injuries;
SGT GEORGE R. WALKER, Kennett, MO., cut on hands and knees;
PFC JOHN D. KEELING, Aberdeen, Kas., cut over left eye, scalp cut and bruised right shoulder.

Twenty-two persons died in the PRR's Red Arrow as it neared the famous "Horseshoe Curve" some 35 miles from Huntington last Feb. 18.

Ten days later at the same site of the Red arrow wreck, a Pullman porter was killed and 11 passengers injured as the last car of PRR's Sunshine Special tore loose from the train at the peak of the Alleghenies

Atchison Daily Globe, Atchison, KS 1 May 1947


Five are Killed In Freak Train Wreck

Huntington, Pa --AP-- Five persons were dead today and six remained in critical condition from the second freak train disaster within a month.

Forty-five others were injured as the Pennsylvania Railroad's New York-St Louis Flyer, the American, jolted into sheet steel jutting from a moving freight four miles west of Huntington in the pre-dawn hours yesterday.

On April 3 a tractor fell from a freight train into the path of the Burlington road's Chicago-bound Twin City Zephyr in Illinois derailing seven cars and fatally injuring three.

Meanwhile, a two-week-old infant, daughter of one of the victims of the American wreck, tossed restlessly in her crib at J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital here, suffering a leg fracture and head bruises.

A Tragic Climax
Through most of the day yesterday little PENELOPE SIMS lay quietly in her crib but occasionally her cooing was broken by a frightened little cry. Her condition was listed as good.

For two others the wreck was a tragic climax to a Florida honeymoon begun after their marriage two weeks ago yesterday.

JOSEPH MONACO, New Castle, Pa, railroad machinist, was one of four critically injured in the Blair Hospital.

His 22-year-old bride, MARY, less seriously hurt, told a reporter "all I want right now is to go home and take JOE with me'.

One of the five dead persons was MRS. JEAN D. SIMS, 26, Clifton, Va., mother of little PENELOPE.

The Maryville Daily Forum, Maryville, MO 2 May 1947