Randolph, VT Train Wreck, Jun 1911

The freight was in the charge of engineer Harry Palmer, of St. Albans, and conductor [ineligible] Murphy also of St. Albans. The train drew on the west siding to get into clear for the Montreal sleeper. There is no doubt that at one time the freight was in clear but during the interval between 2:28 o'clock and 2:50, when No. 1 arrived, the train had moved along toward the main line sufficiently to cause the cylinder on the engine to hang over the main track. No. 1 was in the charge of engineer F. W. Maloney and conductor M. O'Day and was traveling at a rate of about 25 miles an hour when the crash came. The only wheels to leave the rail were on the express locomotive tender, and the baggage, express, and mail cars passed by but one of the day coaches stopped opposite the open cylinder which poured its deadly steam into the car. It was in these coaches that passengers were injured, being scalded about the exposed parts of the body. Twenty passengers were burned in this way but reports sent to the headquarters at St. Albans indicate that but one or more were badly injured. Thirteen were taken to the local sanatorium and the others continued on their way.

Wrecking crews were summoned at once from White River Junction and St. Albans and the work of putting the track, which was somewhat torn up, in order as begun. Trains were able to pass, however, on the west siding.

St. Albans Daily Messenger, St. Albans, VT 20 Jun 1911


(The Associated Press)

Randolph, June 20--A score or more passengers were scalded or severely shaken up in a collision on the Central Vermont railway today between the Boston & Maine express, which left Boston at 7:30 o'clock last night for Montreal, and a freight train. No person was killed, but Mary Magee, of Lowell, Mass., was so seriously scalded that she may not recover. A. Bean, of Montpelier, was among the fifteen taken to the Randolph sanatorium, where his burns were dressed. None of the 15 were dangerously scalded.

The express train consisted of a mail car, a smoking car, a baggage car, five coaches, and two sleepers. With the exception of one mail clerk, all of the injured were riding in the smoker.

The collision occurred at 3 o'clock at the end of the train yard. Extra freight 415 was on the siding waiting for the passenger express which was 55 minutes late and running at a high speed to make up time. To pass by the railroad officials are authority for the statement that the engineer of the freight, Harry Palmer, loosened the brakes when he saw the express approaching and that it was unknown for some time to Palmer that the freight by its own momentum, slid gently down the siding on the main track.

Palmer tried to reverse the engine but could not back the freight off the main line before the locomotives came together in a head on collision. The steam chests and the air tanks were ripped off, and the tank of the express ploughed the entire length of the mail car, which was crushed against the smoking car.

Immediately everything in the neighborhood of the two locomotives was smothered in clouds of escaping steam or flooded under scalding water. The smoking car was filled principally with French Canadians riding on second class tickets. When the crash came everyone rushed to the front door in a mad scramble to escape. The door could not be opened and the car was filled with steam.

Mary Magee was in the smoker at the time and was terribly scalded about the face, arms and chest. Her recovery is doubtful.

Traffic was tied up for several hours.

St. Albans Daily Messenger, St. Albans, VT 20 Jun 1911