Springfield, MA Train Wreck, Aug 1878



Special Dispatch to the New York Times.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Aug. 7.---A very sad accident occurred last night, about 11 o'clock, on the New London Northern Railroad, near Northfield Farms, three persons losing their lives. An engine, with one car, a baggage and passenger coach combined, was stopped near Northfield by a slight wash-out, and after the track had been relaid, it proceeded on for a short distance, when the track suddenly caved in, precipitating the engine and tender down a gorge about 20 feet wide and 40 feet deep. The car came to a stop on the wreck, and saved the five passengers from harm. On the engine were Engineer M. J. Patee; Ralph Root, a former engineer on the road, and George Arnold, the fireman. Patee was wedged in on one side of the wreck, the escaping steam scalding the lower part of his body terribly. A bell-rope was fastened around his shoulders and he was drawn out. He died in a couple of hours. Root was found under the wood of the tender, and was taken out dead. Up to a late hour this evening Arnold's body had not been found, and he supposed to be beneath the wreck. The conductor and brakeman were slightly hurt, but all the others escaped, a more terrible catastrophe being averted by an Irish lad on the train, Tom Rouse, who seized a red lantern, and, running down the track, stopped a freight train which was following closely behind. The death of Patee, who was a native of Rutland, Vt., was peculiarly sad. He was engaged to a Brattleboro (Vt.) girl, and expected soon to marry her. To-day she came to claim her lover's body. Root, who met his death while taking a free ride on the engine, leaves a family at Brattleboro. Arnold leaves friends in Westminster, Vt., his home. The night was dark and rainy; the telegraph wires were down, and help was slow in getting to the place. The passengers were cared for at neighboring farm houses.

The New York Times, New York, NY 8 Aug 1878