Hallowell, ME Train Wreck, Jun 1871
Collision on Maine Central.
TWO TRAINS WRECKED.
One Man Killed and Several Injured.
Engines Smashed, Cars Overturned, &c.
Our Special Reporter on the Train.
(Special Despatch(sic) by Western Union Line.)
GARDINER, June 27. Misfortunes come not singly, but in batialions(sic), it has been said. This seems to be the case in regard to the Maine Central Railroad. While sad the accident at Freeport Monday evening was fresh upon the lips comes an equally shocking disaster near Hallowell. Your reporter was upon the train and he will tell his own story. The train was to leave Augusta at 3 o'clock. It left a little before, according to the watches on the train. We went along in fine style, the train crowded and joyous, until about two miles westward of Hallowell, when turning a sharp curve, with thirty feet almost direct down to the river on one hand, and as much more on the other, came a tremendous crash.
The accommodation train, which runs from Gardiner to Augusta, and which consists of a light "Dummy" engine and one car, supposed they were to pass the heavily laden passenger train from Augusta at Hallowell. Said passenger train supposed they were to pass at Gardiner. The consequence was, that the two came together with shocking results, and it was strangely fortunate that no more lives were lost. The heavier westward train bounded over the lighter accommodation train, and seemed to carry it along with it. Otherwise, the cars must have been telescoped or rolled over down to the river, at a frightful sacrifice of life and limb.
The accommodation engine and train were almost demolished. Every person on board was injured, but strange to say none fatally, and so far as we could learn, none seriously, though the car was smashed and carried back a hundred feet. The engineer and fireman on the accommodation leaped from the engine, and though badly bruised escaped serious injury. Not so with the gallant engineer upon our train. Like "Doc." Simmons, the engineer stuck to his post and offered his life for his fidelity. His fireman remained also, and was setting his brake when the crash came. The name of the engineer was DAVID H. BERRY, and he belonged in Brunswick. He was a first-class engineer. He lived but a few minutes after the accident, and realized nothing. As we hurried to where he lay we saw one of his legs lying a hundred feet back, which had been torn off in the wreck.
The fireman, Wilson Covill, of Augusta, crawled from the debris a mass of blood, and terribly burned. He had received shocking wounds, but no bones were broken. He was crazy with pain. Dr. Fuller, upon examination, hoped that he was not fatally hurt.
A score of others were bloody, bruised and faint, but none seemed seriously hurt.
A strange incident was the presence upon the westward train of the wife and child of the man who was killed near Freeport the night before. The unfortunate woman, despite the efforts of those about her, made a wild plunge from the train with her child in her arms, after the danger was over, and must have been considerably injured by the fall down the embankment.
The injured were hurried back to Hallowell, and the well of the passengers pushed on to Gardiner on foot.
The scene of the disaster was very striking. The engines were literally "smashed," they were a mass of ruins. The tender on the down train started river-wards and had settled, crashing down to the embankment. Fortunately the cars started inland or the destruction of life would have been fearful. Our train was running at least thirty miles an hour when the collision occured.(sic) There was no perceptible check until the crash.---Why the engineer and frieman did not jump as they did on the accommodation engine we do not understand.
There is a good deal of talk as to why the accident should have occured.(sic) With plenty of telegraph wires it seems strange and unaccountable that it should have happened at this point. Great indignation is expressed, but we forbear to comment at present, as it should be a very serious matter for somebody.
Weekly Eastern Argus, Portland, ME 29 Jun 1871