Grindstone Station, ME Train Collision Near Bangor, July 1911

15 KILLED IN WRECK.

TRAINS COLLIDE ON BANGOR AND AROOSTOOK RAILROAD.

MORE THAN 100 INJURED.

MEETING ON A BRIDGE AVERTED BY A MINUTE'S TIME.

Reported That the Wreck Occurred as a Result of Confusion of Orders -- One Train Filled With Excursionists Was Late, and Was Running at High Speed When the Crash Came -- Few Escape Death or Serious Injury.

Bangor, Me., July 28 -- Fifteen persons were reported killed in a head-on collision late tonight, between a crowded excursion train on the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad and the midnight train from Van Buren to Bangor. Thirty of 40 people are known to have been injured, and it is thought that several others are beneath the wreckage.
The excursion train contained about 150 people, and it is reported that few, if any of them, escaped death or serious injury.
Among those reported killed are:
DR. EUGENE PIKES, of Presque Isle.
FRANK FEELEY, son of a bank cashier of Presque Isle.
HARRY CLARK, of Presque Isle.
CLARK ROOMER, of Washburn.
F. W. GARCELON, of Bangor, engineer of excursion train.
The collision occurred just outside the Grindstone station, seven miles north of Millinocket. A special train was rushed from this city shortly after midnight with surgeons and medical supplies and nurses. It was expected it would take two hours to reach the scene of the wreck.
Excursion Train Was Late.
The excursion train was bound from Kidders Point, on the Penobscot Bay,near Searsport, for points in northern Maine. It was late and is reported to have been making good speed when the crash came.
What caused the accident is not known. A heavy storm prevailed throughout Maine tonight, and it is believed thick weather conditions had much to do with the disaster. The Van Buren train was known as No. 511. At first it was erroneously reported that one of the wrecked trains was the midnight express from St. John for Boston.
Grindstone, where the wreck occurred, is a small hamlet of only 48 inhabitants, with no facilities for the care of the dead or injured except the rough and ready hospitality of the backwoods people.
By the interval of only a minute the trains escaped meeting on the bridge that spanes the east branch of the Penobscot, when in all probability the loss of life would have been even greater.
Engineer Instantly Killed.
F. W. GARCELON, of Bangor, engineer of the excursion train, was instantly killed. Engineer WILL ORR, of the other train, was badly injured. DR. HUGH PIKES, of Presque Isle, a member of a band that accompanied the excursionists was among the killed, and J. R. BILLINGTON, a mail clerk on No. 511, was badly injured.
Both firemen are missing, and it is believed they are buried in the wreck.
As soon as Engineer ORR saw that the collision was inevitable, he threw on the emergency brakes and this lessened the shock. Train No. 511 was made up of an engine and six cars, an express and mail and smoker, two passenger, and a Pullman. The express and mail cars, which were at the front of the train, were the worst damaged.
Orders Were Confused.
Waterville, Me., July 28 -- It is reported here that the two trains met head-on as a result of confusion of orders and that the excursion train was running on the time of the regular passenger train.
The smoking car of the excursion train next to the engine was telescoped by the tender. All the passengers in this car, most of whom were members of the Presque Isle Band, are reported killed or badly wounded.

The Washington Post District of Columbia 1911-07-29

Comments

15 Reported Dead

MAINE TRAIN WRECK, 15 REPORTED DEAD

Head-on Collision of Excursion Train and Midnight Passenger on Bangor & Aroostook Branch.

MANY BURIED IN WRECKAGE

Heavy Storm Throughout the State May Have Caused Accident---Train Was Running Late.

BANGOR, Me., July 28.---Fifteen persons were reported killed in a head-on collision late to-night between a crowded excursion train on the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad and the midnight train from Vanburen to Bangor. Thirty or forty persons are known to have been injured, and it was thought that several others were beneath the wreckage.

F. W. Garcelon of Bangor, the engineer of the excursion train, was instantly killed. Engineer Will Orr of the other train was injured about the head and hands. Dr. Hugh Pikes of Presque Isle, a member of a band that accompanied the excursionists, was among the killed, and J. R. Billington, a mail clerk on No. 511, was badly hurt.

Both firemen are missing and it is believed that they are buried in the wreck.

Among others reported killed, were:

FRANK FEELEY, son of a bank cashier of Presque Isle, and

CLARKE ROOMER of Washburne.

As soon as Engineer Orr saw that the collision was inevitable he threw on the emergency brakes and this no doubt lessened the shock when the trains met.

Dr. Foster, of Bangor, who was a passenger on No. 511, gave valuable aid to the injured.

The collision took place just outside the Grindstone Station, seven miles north of Millinocket and eighty miles north of Bangor. A special train was rushed from this city soon after midnight with surgeons and medical supplies and nurses. It was expected it would take two hours for it to reach the scene of the wreck. The excursion train was bound from Kidders Point on Penobscot Bay, near Searsport, for points in Northern Maine. The train was late and was reported at the time of the crash to have been moving at a good rate of speed.

Train No. 511 was made up of an engine and six cars, and express and mail and smoker, two passenger cars and a Pullman. The express and mail cars, which were at the front of the train, were the worst damaged.

Immediately after the accident, wrecking trains were ordered out from both Bangor and Houlton.

It was not known what caused the accident. A heavy storm prevailed throughout Maine to-night and it was believed that the weather conditions had much to do with the disaster. The Vanburen train was known as No. 511. At first it was reported that one of the wrecked trains was the Midnight Express from St. John for Boston, but this was an error.

Grindstone, the place where the wreck occurred, is a small hamlet containing only forty-two inhabitants. It is buried deep in the woods with no facilities of any kind for the care of the dead or wounded except the rough and ready hospitality of the backwoods people.

Bad as the wreck was reported, one more minute might have made the disaster greater, for the trains then would have met on the bridge that spans the east branch of the Penobscot, and in all probability the loss of life would have been even greater.

The New York Times, New York, NY 29 Jul 1911