Pittsford, VT Train Wreck, Dec 1876


The Rutland (Vt.) Herald, of Saturday, gives the following account of the railroad accident near that place of Friday night: "The night express train from Montreal, under charge of Conductor Bowtell, due at Rutland at 10 o'clock last evening met with an accident which might have been, in its results, one of the most terrible on record in this vicinity. The train, consisting of the locomotive General Strong (Moses Pratt, engineer, and Charles Dewey, Fireman,) a passenger car, the sleeping car, [ineligible]burgh' and a baggage car, left Pittsford [ineligible] an hour late, and when on the bridge ac[ineligible] eck, one mile south of Pittsford, the locomotive left the rails some way, soon breaking through the bridge, (which was about 150 feet long) and tearing down the entire structure. The locomotive, cars, and bridge all went down together in one horrible pile. Strange to say no one was killed; to view the wreck it is perfectly unaccountable why all the passengers were not killed. Many were burned and cut, but, only two persons were hurt much, Capt. Ford, of Montreal, being injured in the back, and Mrs. Chambers, of Binghamton, in the head. This lady was traveling with a babe only three months old, who did not get a scratch even. Will Dawley, of Ludlow, was cut some. Several of the parties who went to Pittsford yesterday for a sleigh-ride took the train at that place to return. Mr. and Mrs. Stevens were injured slightly. Mr. Stevens spraining his arm. Mr. E. D. Keyes had one of his legs badly bruised, and all were badly frightened, as they had reason to be. There were 30 or 40 passengers on the train. Conductor Bowtell says he never saw better behaved people. In the awful suspense following the crash, mothers were calling for their children, and children for their mothers, husbands for their wives, and wives for their husbands, as they were generally mixed up in the rolling and tumbling of the cars, but after a few moments, when it was found that no one was seriously hurt, a feeling of thanksgiving pervaded all at their wonderful escape. The demolished bridge and train is the worst looking wreck that the writer ever saw. Old railroad men say that they never saw anything equal to it. Engineer Pratt, Fireman Dewey, Conductor Bowtell, Baggagemaster Leonard, and Brakeman Snow received some cuts, but are all right. The passengers were sent to the depot at Pittsford and to the Otter Creek House, and telegrams were sent to Rutland for another train. Superintendent Burdett made up a train, and accompanied by Roadmaster Horner, Master Car-builder McIntyre, Train Dispatcher Crandall, and Conductor Wilder, with a gang of men, left for the wreck at about 12:30 A. M. The passengers, mail, and baggage were taken on board and brought to Rutland, where they arrived at about 2:30 this morning. Capt. Ford, of Montreal, and Mrs. Chambers, of Binghamton, are now at the Bardwell House, and the rest of the passengers bound south proceeded on their journey. Passengers, baggage, and mails will have to be carried around the break for some days."

The New York Times, New York, NY 1 Jan 1877