Arcadia, CA Train Wreck, Sept 1945

4 Dead, Scores Hurt in Wreck

ARCADIA, Sept. 5 -- Failure of the engineer on the California limited's lead locomotive to obey speed orders was blamed today by Santa Fe officials for a wreck that killed four persons and injured scores in a derailment last night near the Santa Anita race track.

The death list was expected to increase since many persons were seriously hurt.


A Santa Fe spokesman said that Engineer W. L. Lyons, 58, of San Bernardino, was not observing the 15-miles-an-hour speed limit over track that was under repair.  The lead locomotive rammed a siding switch, overturned, and rolled into a ditch, taking with it the second locomotive and four coaches.  Three other coaches were derailed but did not go down the embankment.

Repair work was being done in Santa Anita wash [sic] to protect the road bed against winter rains. The first section of the California limited passed safely over the temporary track, but the second, fouling the switch, tore up 200 feet of track, knocked down telephone poles and disrupted telephone service in Arcadia.


Lyons, badly burned in the wreckage of his locomotive, died in St. Luke's hospital, Pasadena.

Service on the Santa Fe's main line was not resumed until late today. It required almost 24 hours for wrecking crews to remove the tangled and smashed locomotives and cars.  Several persons were pinned under the wreckage for hours before crews, with blow torches, cut away portions of the train to free them.

Blood transfusions were performed on some of the victims while they were still pinned underneath the train.

S. D. County Woman Hurt

Mrs. Effie Holeman, 70, of 1806 E. Ninth st., National City, was in "extremely critical condition" yesterday at Huntington Memorial hospital at Pasadena, where she is being treated for internal injuries, a fractured leg and other hurts suffered Tuesday in a wreck of the Sante Fe California limited at Arcadia.  She was pinned under debris four hours.

Her husband, J. G. Holman, who was in National City at the time of the crash, was at first thought to have been killed in the accident, after Mrs. Holman, apparently delirious from shock and pain, reported to train officials that he was "missing in the wreck."


Holeman learned of the accident early yesterday morning after his brother, Kess B. Holeman, of 2041 Albatross st., was notified of Mrs. Holeman's injuries and his brother's supposed death.  Kell Holeman later drove to National City, discovered Holeman there and told him of his wife's injuries.  He left immediately for Pasadena.

Mrs. Virginia Day, of Oceanside, also reportedly was injured whether she was hospitalized or taken to a private home in the Arcadia area could not be learned.

San Diego Union, San Diego, CA 6 Sept 1945