South Bend, IN Football Trains Wreck, Nov 1938

43 Are Hurt When Football Trains Crash

Those Uninjured Hurry to See Game At Notre Dame Field

South Bend, Ind., Nov. 12 (AP).-Collision of two football special trains-each jammed with nearly 500 fans bound for the Notre Dame-Minnesota game-injured at least forty-three persons and shook up 950 others here Saturday.

Seventeen of those hurt had injuries severe enough to keep them in hospitals. Those uninjured, after recovering from shock, hired taxicabs and private automobiles and hurried on to the game.

The trains-New York Central and Grand Trunk-were not traveling fast, but the impact was sufficiently hard to topple over a bar coach and a passenger car of the New York Central special. Entrances to the overturned coaches were in such positions that rescuers had to use step ladders to get to the injured. More than 100 persons were in the upset coaches.

Crash Heard for Blocks.

Witnesses said the Grand Trunk special, going west on the mail line a mile from the Union Station in the southwest party of the city, plowed into the New York Central special, headed north on a siding, just behind the New York Central’s first coach.

Noise of the crash was heard for several blocks. Word of the accident spread like wildfire and drew thousands of persons to the area, complicating the work of rescue. Fifteen ambulances which took the injured to the Epworth and St. Joseph Hospitals had difficulty in getting through the heavy downtown traffic. The influx of some 55,000 person for the football game created unusual snarls throughout the city.

Most of those aboard the trains were from Chicago and vicinity.

In response to an emergency call, members of the South Bend Visiting Nurses Association hurried to the scene and aided in caring for those hurt.

The train crews declined to discuss responsibility for the accident.

Those aboard the New York Central train were members of the Stewart Club, benevolent Catholic organization, and their leaders forbade anyone discussing the crash with newspapermen.

Reporters were not permitted to interview injured persons in a Catholic hospital. Persons in another hospital said, “We’ve been told not to talk.”

Gives Version of Accident.

But a man who was in the bar car said after getting a promise his name would not be used, said, “There must have been about thirty people standing up in the car, drinking and having a good time discussing the game. We were moving slowly; in fact, I didn’t have much of a sensations of motion. But suddenly there was a thump. The coach tipped to about a 45-degree angle. Everyone was yelling and trying to get out at once. Some of them were crying that they were hurt. Then ladders were put up against the car, and those of us who weren’t hurt badly climbed out. Some had to be carried out.”

A railroad man who asked that his name be withheld said air brakes of the Grand Trunk train apparently failed, and the train slid into the other special.

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 13 Nov 1938