Chicago, IL Excursion Train Collision, Sep 1890
An almost indescribable scene of horror and misery immediately followed. The crash of the collision was heard blocks away, while above the din could plainly be heard the shrieks of agony from the dying and injured, and the cries of the uninjured who, goaded to desperation by their impending fate, fought madly with each other to escape the awful wreck.
Station Agent Eagan was standing on the depot platform when the crash came, talking to an acquaintance, and together with several residents of the neighborhood ran to the sceneonly a few yards away. It was an awful sight. The three rear coaches of the picnic train were telescoped and piled up in great confusion. Beneath the debris of crushed timber and broken glass the groans of the dying and injured could be heard, and the rescuing party immediately began the task of extricating them from their perilous position.
A telephone call brought a patrol wagon with a squad of men. The members of truck company No. 12, with their axes and saws were also summoned. With these reinforcements the work of rescuing the unfortunates was speedily accomplished.
The dead and most of the injured were in the second and third coaches of the train. Axes and saws were brought into play and in a few minutes the dead body of LILLY DIENER was taken from the wreck. The poor girl's body was fearfully mangled and was carried into the depot and laid on the floor. Then two unknown men whose faces were crushed beyond recognition were taken out and carried to the depot.
The injured were speedily taken out and carried to neighboring houses. Physicians who had been summoned, alleviated the sufferings of the injured and they were then taken to the county and Presbyterian hospitals. A few of the injured lived within a few blocks of the scene of the accident and these were taken to their homes.
There seems to be a division of opinion as to the real cause of the accident. The engineer of the Burlington train, ROBERT DIXON, claims that the picnic train displayed no danger signals on the rear car, while his fireman, FRANK MARSH, admits that he saw one from his side of the engine, but it was burning so low as to be almost indiscernable and could not be seen five car lengths away.
L. Voss, who lives at No. 954 Spaulding avenue, was in his back yard talking with a neighbor, John Fellows, and says that two bright, red lights were displayed from either side of the rear platform of the last car. However that may be, the Illinois Central train is in part or wholly to blame from the fact that the rear brakeman disregarded the rules of the company and failed to go back with danger signals to warn approaching trains after his train had come to a stop.
Sterling Standard Illinois 1890-09-25