Suisun, CA Freight And Work Trains Collide, Dec 1900
COLLISION DUE TO GROSS CARELESSNESS COSTS THE LIVES OF SEVEN RAILWAY MEN.
REGULAR FREIGHT CRASHES INTO A WORK TRAIN RUNNING AHEAD OF SCHEDULE TIME DURING A HEAVY FOG ON THE LINE OF THE SOUTHERN PACIFIC BETWEEN ELMIRA AND SUISUN.
SOME ONE WILLFULLY DISOBEYS THE DISPATCHER'S ORDERS AND THE RESULT IS A WRECK ATTENDED BY HEAVY LOSS OF LIFE AND THE MAIMING OF MORE THAN A SCORE OF PERSONS.
Seven men were killed and more than a score badly injured yesterday morning near Cannon Station, Solano County, when westbound freight train No. 201 of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company crashed into the rear end of a construction train carrying forty laborers.
Somebody blundered. Signals were either not displayed or were unseen or mistaken in the dense fog and death reaped a bloody harvest. A curve, a deep cut and a heavy fog combined to hide the approaching trains from each other until almost the moment of the crash.
The work train was backing up, trying to reach Cannon Station, when suddenly the engine of No. 201 loomed up before the laborers and crew of the work train. No. 201, west bound, was running at a speed of about thirty-five miles an hour. The collision wrecked a dining car at the rear of the work train and three cars fitted up as sleepers for the laborers. The engine of No. 201 was thrown from the tracks after plowing the way through the four cars named and stopping only when the caboose, next to the engine of the work train, was reached, and lay on its side, badly wrecked.
A few of the thirty-five men in the sleeping cars of the work train escaped injury. Five were killed outright, one died before he could be got to San Francisco and the seventh passed away in the railroad hospital in this city. Several of the wounded will undoubtedly die of their injuries.
The list of the dead is as follows:
B. M. MAHONEY.
The five men first named were killed outright and their bodies are now at the Morgue at Suisun. B. M. MAHONEY died on the way to San Francisco and B. MALONEY at the hospital.
The engineer and fireman of the freight train escaped injury. They saved their lives by jumping before the engine left the track and toppled over on its side. The crew of the work train also escaped uninjured, though little but wreckage was left of the train.
The scene after the wreck was a harrowing one. The forty laborers of the work train were thrown into the midst of the wreckage of the cars and even those who were unhurt extricated themselves with difficulty from the splintered wood and twisted iron. The injured, some helpless from their injuries and others pinned down in the wreckage, shouted for help and shrieked in pain. Some of the dead were terribly mangled and the windrow of wreckage was alive with the writhing forms of the injured.
The fourteen uninjured laborers and the two crews hastened to the aid of the wounded. Their labor was fraught with the greatest difficulties and much time was consumed in getting the injured clear of the demolished cars.
An overturned stove set fire to the debris and promised to consume the unfortunates who were entangled in the wreck. Those who were on the outside could not get to the fire, but they brought buckets of water and passed them in to some of those least injured and the flames were put out.
The engine and caboose of the work train were dispatched to Suisun for assistance. A special train was made up there and with the physicians of the town and a large number of volunteers it returned to the scene of the disaster. Help was also secured from Vacaville. The wounded to the number of nineteen were placed aboard the special train and with the surgeons and their assistants were brought to the railroad hospital in San Francisco. The dead were taken to Suisun later in the day and Coroner J. J. McDonald was arranging last evening for the inquest, which will be held today. Wrecking trains arrived from Sacramento and Oakland and the track was cleared for traffic about 4:30 o'clock in the afternoon.