Basic City, VA Train Wreck, Sep 1892



The north bound vestibule train, No. 6, on the Shenandoah Valley branch of the Norfolk and Western railroad, due here at 8:15 a.m., was derailed and badly wrecked one-half mile south of Basic City, about 4 o'clock Wednesday morning. The train, which consisted of a mail, express and baggage car, dining car, two day coaches and three Pullman sleepers, were derailed by running into a deposit of about six inches of sand and pebbles washed upon the rails by the heavy rains in the early part of the night. The entire train, with the exception of the two sleepers, left the track.
The train is known among the railroad men as the "Howling Owl," on account of its swiftness. It is one of the fastest on the road, making but few stops between this city and Shenandoah. Basic City is on the lower end of the Shenandoah division. The train did not arrive here until 4:15 p.m. The express and baggage cars were demolished, and the engine torn to pieces. When the engine struck the sandbank it was going north, but when it stopped, it was facing south, being turned completely around. The baggage car was thrown completely over the top of the engine and the express car was mashed to splinters. The day coaches and one sleeper were also wrecked. The dining car was found lying upon the boiler of the engine, and in it was found the conductor, MR. JOHN UPDEGROVE, of W. Washington street, this city, who was so badly scalded by escaping steam that he has since died. He was conscious up to the time of his death, which was about 12:30 o'clock. He was brought to this city, his home, on the train due here at 10 o'clock p.m., but it was delayed by the wreck, and did not arrive until 12:10 this morning.
Engineer WILLIAM DARRAUGH was found crushed to death beneath his engine, one of the driving wheels having run over his head. He was recently married and lived in Shenandoah. He formerly resided at the Beeler House, this city. Fireman MARTIN PROBST, of Shenandoah, was also killed.
MR. CROWE, of W. Washington street, this city, and the baggage master on the train was severely bruised and slightly hurt internally. But with care, there is no danger feared. MR. EDWARD LAPORT, the express agent, was also very badly bruised and cut about the head. It is a wonder he escaped death. MR. STEEL, the brakeman, was the only one of the trainmen who escaped injuries. Not a passenger was killed and but three were injured. There were 12 passengers in the first day coach when the crash came and it seems almost miraculous that all should have escaped alive. Of the three hurt, the worst injury is a broken leg. Their names are unknown. The gentleman with the broken leg is of Jewish descent. It is said he also lost $50 in the wreck. The injured were taken to the Hotel Brunswick and cared for. It is also reported MAMIEE AMERICK, of Pocahontas, Va., is another passenger, who is seriously hurt.
Trains will be running regularly this morning. No blame has been attached to any one.
The Herald representative had a talk with several men who were in the wreck and all said it was the worst wreck that they had ever seen. One young man said that he was thrown into water and mud up to his knees, besides receiving a first-class shaking up. By the description of the wreck it was one of the worst that has ever occurred on the road. The manner in which the cars were thrown together, is simply dreadful to think of. It is, indeed, almost miraculous, that more were not killed. The night was very dark and the train was upon the danger without a moments warning to engineer or crew.
MR. JOHN E. UPDEGROVE, the conductor, was a member of Oriental Castle, No. 14. Knights of the Golden Eagle, of this city.

Herald and Torch Light Hagerstown Maryland 1892-