Kennebunkport, ME Freight Trains Collide, Dec 1873

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Later - The Victims.
The victims of the disaster are Conductor BISBEE, of up-freight; killed. He was to have been married on Christmas. SHERBURNE, fireman; killed. WELCH, brakeman; killed. The names of the wounded are not given, but their injuries were slight.

The Trains.
Train W from here consisted of forty freight cars and two locomotives. The officials of the road are unable to locate the blame, but a thorough investigation will be had.

From Portsmouth.
Portsmouth, N.H., Dec. 20.
Names of killed by freight trains colliding are reported as follows:
Conductor ALBION BISBEE, of Saco, Me.
Brakeman WILLIAM WELCH, of Seabrook, N.H.
Fireman SHERBURNE.
All belonging to the train coming from the East. THEODORE DAVIDSON, of Portsmouth, N.H., had his ankle broken and shoulder dislocated.

Later Details - An Inquest Called.
Portland, Dec. 21.
Coroner J. W. Sargent of Kennebunk has demanded an inquest on the railroad disaster. The road authorities will afford every opportunity for an impartial investigation.
From the evidence thus far provided it appears that freight train W, from the East, broke apart at Kennebunkport, a thick, blinding snow storm prevailing at the time. The train was made up of some 40 cars. After breaking from them, the engineers were compelled to run ahead to keep out of the way of the train running wild on a down grade. The engineers reached Kennebunk on time and notified the telegraph operator and night watchman at that station that their train was blocking the road, asking delay of all trains until they could return and clear it. The operator immediately hung out a red light, notice to the engineers that no train would dare to go by that. They then returned to and secured their train in order to cross the train from the West at Kennebunk. Shortly after securing the wild cars a little short of 2 miles east of Kennebunk, they were met by the train from the west, the snow falling so thick and fast that the head lights were hidden on both trains.

The Mystery.
Why the train from the West disregarded the warning at Kennebunk does not yet appear. The witnesses have all been summoned and the mystery will be unraveled on Monday.

The Victims.
At the time of the collision there were four men on the foremost engine of the up train, the Conductor and a friend, besides the engineer and fireman. The Conductor's friend was the first to see the engine coming upon them and leaped, escaping uninjured; the engineer reversed the engine, whistled on brakes and also jumped; The Conductor and fireman were killed. On the second engine the engineer was thrown sixteen feet into the snow, escaping with a crushed shoulder. The fireman was killed. The men on the down train escaped by jumping. Some freight cars were smashed up and others damaged.

Bangor Daily Whig and Courier Maine 1873-12-22