Stemmer's Run, MD Train Wreck, Aug 1876



On the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad, near Stemmer's Run, at about 3 o'clock yesterday morning, the axle of the third car from the locomotive broke, and six cars were thrown crosswise on the track. A coal oil lamp burning in one of the narrow-gauge cars exploded, scattering the burning fluid over the car, the flames rapidly communicating to the cars to the right and left. JAMES A. SCHOEN, who had charge of the new cars, and was seated in the one where the lamp exploded, was awakened by the shock caused by the accident, and while still fast asleep found himself surrounded by smoke and flame. An unknown man, supposed to be a tramp, broke one of the windows and rescued SCHOEN from his perilous position. Meanwhile the fire spread with astonishing rapidity to the other cars. The train hands went to work as fast as possible to uncouple the cars, but as this was a labor necessarily involving some time, on account of the large number of cars on the train, twelve cars were consumed by the flames while the rest, numbering nineteen, were being uncoupled and taken to a safe place. The burned cars contained merchandise for the West and South which is all an utter loss. The northern freight train from Baltimore, on arriving at the scene of the accident, was obliged to stop until the impediments were removed. The train consisted of twelve freight cars, and the employees assisted in clearing the track. At about fifteen minutes after seven o'clock this train was enabled to pass on. The train hands of the express and passenger train from President street at 6:55 did not know the exact place of the accident, and from information given them believing that it was at a point further north, approached the scene of the accident at a rapid rate. Owing to a curve in the road the engineer did not observe his proximity to the freight train, then just about to leave, in time to slacken the speed of his train and prevent a collision. Hence the locomotive of the passenger train raninto the rear car of the freight train, disabling the locomotive. Three of the rear cars of the freight train were thrown from the track and badly damaged. None of the passenger cars, which were filled with people, were damaged.
The value of the merchandise destroyed on the burnt freight trains amounts to about $15,000, which will be paid by the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad. This is independent of the destruction of the cars, which will probably swell the loss to double this amount. Baltimore American, Aug. 24th.

Oakland Tribune California 1876-09-04