Oakland, CA Train Collision, July 1908

ALAMEDA LOCAL CRASHES INTO SANTA CRUZ TRAIN -- 7 KILLED.

MORE THAN A SCORE INJURED.

HEAVY ENGINE PLOUGHS THROUGH SMOKING CAR.

FIRST AND WEBSTER STREETS SCENE OF A FEARFUL DISASTER -- ENGINEER DISOBEYED ORDERS.

It is the same old story. Someone blundered and as a result the celebration of the national holiday in this city was fearfully ended by the loss of seven lives, and a list of more than a score of people injured -- some of them crippled for life.

Two trains, loaded with homecoming pleasure seekers -- one an Alameda local and the other the Santa Cruz passenger, known as No. 57, met in collision shortly after 7 o'clock last night, at First and Webster Streets.

The engine of the Alameda train plunged into the smoking car of the Santa Cruz passenger train, and hardly a soul who a second before had been a part of a merry company, escaped without being killed or injured.

The smoker struck by the heavy train impelled like a battering ram and with the catapultic force gathered by a high rate of speed, was shattered to splinters and the wreckage thrown against the signal tower in Webster Street.

It was at once a scene of horror and flames shooting upward from the wreckage indicated the added danger of an appalling holocaust.

Some one had blundered and lives paid the penalty.

Prompt alarms were sent to the fire and police departments for aid. Before the firemen and the police reached the scene the work of rescue had been begun.

From the wreckage one after another of the passengers emerged and in each case the injured were aiding those more unfortunate.

In the confusion that followed there were many who left the scene for home, so that the exact number of injured could not be learned.

As yet all the bodies have not been identified.

The concensus of opinion is that the engineer of the Santa Cruz train was at fault in not heeding signals, for the spot was safeguarded by a tower, towerman and derailing switch.

The injured persons, where they requested it, were attended by surgeons at the scene or at the Receiving Hospital. The dead were taken to the Morgue.

The wreck is still burning, and it will be many hours before the debris is removed.

Railroad men familiar with the running of the trains place the blame for the wreck on Engineer EVERETT J. BERRY, who was at the throttle of the Santa Cruz train No. 57. He is said to have been due at First and Broadway at 6:49 o'clock, and was between 15 and 20 minutes late. He wanted to catch the ferry on time and put on an extra head of steam. It is customary to handle a train along First Street at a rate of speed that will allow the engineer at all times to have his engine and cars under control should there be a flash signal from any of the semaphore signals along the track.

Last evening No. 57 was coming along First Street at a terrific rate of speed. Passengers aboard the train said they thought they were traveling rather fast through Oakland, but presumed that it was necessary to travel at this breakneck speed. There were five coaches and a baggage car on the train. Engine 1458 is a high-speed passenger engine used on the overland routes and was pulling the small train along as though the cars were mere toys.

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Comments

Thanks

Thanks for catching that. We have it fixed now.

Oakland, CA, not Santa Cruz, CA

This accident occured in Oakland, Ca at 1st and Webster Sts (along the current route of the Union Pacific RR,) not in Santa Cruz, CA.