Downers Grove, IL Train Derails & Crashes into Depot, Apr 1947

Illinois Wreck Claims Lives Of Two

34 Hurt as Zephyr Derails, Crashed Into Suburban Station.

By The Associated Press.
Chicago, April 4-Two passengers were killed and about 34 persons were injured when the Burlington railroad’s speeding Pam City Zephyr was derailed by a tractor and crashed into the railroad station at suburban Downers Grove last night.

The tractor had fallen off a westbound freight train that had just passed on an adjoining track and into the path of the stainless steel streamliner, eastbound from Minneapolis to Chicago.

The crash in a flash of flame and shower of falling bricks ripped up three sets of tracks nine miles east of Naperville, Ill., where 45 persons died last April 25 in a collision of two Burlington passenger trains.

Several eyewitnesses said they saw “a tremendous ball of fire” as the Zephyr left the rails.

The diesel train, which the Burlington said was traveling at its usual 75 miles an hour clip through the suburb 21 miles west of Chicago, smashed into the side of the unoccupied brick depot, partially wrecking it.

Police said the crash occurred at 11:41 p.m. The Zephyr was due in Chicago at 12 p.m. It left Minneapolis at 5:10 p.m.

The dead passengers were identified by police as Lloyd W. Wright, 48, of Oak Park, Ill., and Edith Hettand of Minneapolis.

Most of the injured were taken to hospitals at nearby Himsdale and Aurora. Three were reported in serious condition.

The Zephyr’s engineer, Clarence Thurston, 67, of Aurora, Ill., was trapped in the cab.

He was reported in serious condition.

Property damage was $50,000 was estimated by John P. Falk, Chicago division superintendent of the Burlington, who said some traffic was resumes early today through the wreck site.

Passengers on the Zephyr said the impact was severe and that most of them were lucky to escape serious injury. Many were college students and other Easter weekend vacationists.

The Marion Star, Marion, OH 6 Apr 1947


Early Closing Saves Station Attendants.

By The Associate Press
Chicago, April 4-Charles Draper, station agent at suburban Downers Grove, and his wife said today they probably saved their lives by closing the Burlington Depot an hour early last night “for no reason at all.”

Draper said he and his wife, Ellen, usually stay at the depot until 11 p.m. but closed last night at 10 and departed.

About 40 minutes later the Burlington’s Twin City Zephyr passenger train was derailed an coaches smashed into the depot, demolishing part of the one story brick structure.

he Marion Star, Marion, OH 6 Apr 1947