Colchester, VT Train Wreck, Sept 1883

Serious Smash-up on the Central Vermont Line.
[Special Dispatch to The Boston Journal]

ST. ALBANS, Vt., Sept. 2. A serious accident occurred on the Central Vermont Railroad Saturday night at Colchester, where two passenger trains collided and thirteen trainmen received more or less severe injuries. The trains in collision were the fast Chicago express, leaving Boston at 1 o'clock Saturday afternoon, and the New York bound night express, leaving Montreal at 3 P. M. The Boston train consisted of a baggage car, the Pullman parlor Sultana, the White Mountain parlor car and a passenger coach, drawn by the engine B. P. Cheney. The New York Express consisted of a combination baggage and mail car, a Wagner sleeper and a passenger coach with the engine Colonel Merrill. Both trains were due at Colchester at 8 o'clock, and had the usual orders to meet at that station. The New York train arrived on time, and had come to a stop at the upper switch, for the purpose of setting off on the siding to allow the Boston express to pass. At this juncture the fast train was heard whistling around the curve at the lower end of the yard, and in an instant it whirled by the station and came rushing down upon the New York train. In the few seconds that intervened before the trains collided all of the train men on the New York express jumped for their lives and escaped uninjured. Immediately after the two trains came together with great force, the concussion being heard for a long distance. The engines locked horns like giants, and the air was filled with pieces of iron and wood from the wreck. The New York train men describe the collision as a grand and terrible spectacle. The trainmen of the Boston express had no time to jump, and the engineer, fireman, baggage master and ten gravel train men who were riding in the baggage car, were more or less severely injured. The tenders of both engines were telescoped through the baggage cars, which were badly smashed.

The Wounded.

Those injured are as follows:

George F. Jones, engineer, bruised on left leg and on left side of the body.
W. H. Chilson, fireman, severely injured and spine affected.
Mike Finn, baggage master had scalp wound and bruised in body.
James Rooney, collar bone fractured.
Feliz La Mott, thigh fractured.
A. Osler, thigh and body severely bruised.
D. La Mott, bruised in the face and chest.

P. O'Toole, Mike Brown, M. Burns, C. Kerns, Geo. S. Jones and Harry Moore were slightly injured. The last ten men named, except Jones, worked on the gravel train, and were returning home in this car.

None of the passengers in either trains received any bruises, and the cars, were uninjured by the accident. Physicians were summoned to the wreck from St. Albans and Essex, and the wounded train men were brought to their homes in St. Albans a little after mid-night. The attending physicians are of the opinion that none of the injuries will prove fatal, although the first five men named in the list are severely wounded. The track was blocked for fourteen hours. The Victoria Rifles Band of Montreal was aboard the Boston bound night express, which was detained at Milton until ten o'clock this morning. They will arrive in Boston about six o'clock Sunday evening.

Yankee Jones, the engineer of the fast express from Boston which ran into the New York train, says he applied the air brake to stop the train, but that it failed to work and made a collision in evitable. The managers of the road will make a thorough investigation of the accident and ascertain who is responsible therefor[sic]. Passengers in the day coaches and Pullman cars were shaken up considerably, but the Miller platforms again demonstrated their strength and ultimately in preventing serious results in a collision.

Boston Journal, Boston, MA 3 Sept 1883