Palmer Lake, CO Train Collision 1890
A frightful collision occurred on the Denver and Rio Grande one and one-half miles below Palmer Lake yesterday afternoon about 2 o'clock, between two extra engines, in which Engineer Hart and Fireman C. F. Fogle lost their lives. The accident was said to have been caused through the carelessness of the two men named and their lives paid the penalty.
Engine 581, with a pile driver and caboose attached, left Husted, nine miles below Palmer Lake, about 1:30 o'clock with orders to run through to Palmer Lake. At the same time engine 258, in charge of Engineer Hart and Fireman Fogle, was given orders to run extra from Palmer Lake to Husted and protect against engine 581. By the word protect it was meant that they should watch out for the north-bound engine and in case where they could not see ahead, the fireman of engine 258 was to go ahead with a flag until a clear stretch of track was reached. The track between Palmer Lake and Monument is very tortuous and winding with frequent cuts and great caution has always been observed, especially work engines and trains running as were those yesterday. Engineer Hart and his fireman, it is presumed, believed that they could reach Monument in time to meet engine 581, or that they would meet it on the clear track just north of that point. In this supposition they were mistaken and as a result the collision occurred.
Met in a Cut
Engine 258 left Palmer Lake just a few minutes before 2 O'clock and went down the hill at a lively rate of speed, not taking the precaution to protect against the northbound engine. About one and a quarter mile below Palmer Lake, between mile posts 53 and 54, the two engines met in a cut. Neither was aware of the presence of the other until they were only 100 feet apart and it was too late to attempt to avoid the collision. The engineer and fireman of the northbound engine leaped from the cab just as the monsters crashed together. Engineer Hart and Fireman Fogle tried to jump off, but were not quick enough. Hart was caught in the cab and crushed to death, and was badly scalded by escaping steam. Poor Fogle was standing between the cab and the tender, just ready to jump for his life, but was caught and horribly crushed, his leg and arm being broken. A relief train was sent from Palmer Lake, and the dead and injured were taken there. Fogle was so badly injured that it was seen that he must die, and his wife, who resided at Husted, was telegraphed for. He died in an hour.
Hart, the dead engineer, has been on the road for some time and was a very efficient man. His first and last mistake occurred yesterday. He came to Colorado from Lincoln, Neb., where his family resides. Fogle lived in Husted and was a comparatively young man. Coffins were sent down to Palmer Lake and the body of Fogle was sent to Husted. Hartâ€™s remains were brought to Denver last night and will be sent to Lincoln to-day.
As soon as the news of the wreck reached Pueblo, Superintendent Deuel left with a wrecking train for the scene of the wreck. The engines were almost totally demolished. The track was cleared last night and trains will be running in the morning. This is the worst wreck that has occurred on the Rio Grande for a long time.
Engineer Hart was unmarried, but had hosts of friends along his run from Palmer Lake to Husted, who will always remember his as a genial, good-natured fellow. Superintendent Deuel, Roadmaster McGregor and Trainmaster Walker came up on a special car from Pueblo, took charge of the bodies and aided in clearing the wreck, which took but a short time. They brought the companyâ€™s physician from Pueblo with them, but Dr. Ballou of Monument had done all that medical skill could do. They also brought Mrs. Fogle from Husted. The scene when she beheld her dead husband was most affecting.
The coroner was summoned and arrived at 6:25. Sheriff Jackson accompanied Coroner Marlow and aided in empanelling a jury consisting of the following persons: J. B. Shumaker, E. C. Gard, J. L. Judee, J. J. Munger, O. O. Vaughn and Thomas Watkins. After the jury had viewed the bodies the coroner gave Superintendent Deuel a permit to take them to Denver on his special car for final disposition. Further proceedings were postponed until Saturday, August 23, at 11 a. m.
Engineer Sampson states that he was bringing engine 581 from the place of the recent washout where the construction train and crew was located repairing the track and did not see engine 258 until it within a few rods, being in a deep cut on a sharp curve. He reversed his engine and brought it to a dead stop before it was struck by 258. He further stated that he thought Engineer Hart saw his engine but was exceeding his usual precaution of speed and could not stop in time.
It was found after the wreck that Hart had not reversed his engine and probably did not know the danger and terrible death that awaited him. The damage and loss of property will not exceed $5,000. The officials are to be complemented for the dispatch with which they cleared up the wreck, and their kindness to the wife of the dead fireman who accompanied the remains to Denver in Superintendent Deuelâ€™s special car.
Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colorado, Thursday, August 21, 1890