Greenfield, MA Train Wreck Apr 1886

It was reported in Shelburne Falls that thirteen persons were killed outright, but this could not be verified. Fears are entertained that morning will increase the list of deaths and casualties. A portion of the mail is reported lost in the river. At 11 o'clock to-night men are still working at the wreck. It is learned that the injured at Shelburne Falls number nineteen.

LATER – Engineer LITTLEJOHN is dying. HENRY C. COULLARD will die before morning. Three more dead bodies have been found at the wreck.

The train at the time of the accident was running at the rate of about twenty miles an hour. FRANK LANK, of Boston, a salesman for a New York firm, jumped from the train, and is believed to be the only person who saw the cars go down the embankment. He says there were three passengers in the drawing car.

The Quincy Daily Whig Illinois 1886-04-08



Last Evening's Accident on the Fitchburg Railroad.

Passengers Suffering from Fire and Water.

To-day's Dispatches from Greenfield. The Killed and Injured – Searching for the Dead in the River and Under the Wreck – Some Very Narrow Escapes. Eight Bodies Now at Springfield.

BOSTON, April 8 – A Springfield special giving another account of the railroad disaster, after detailing the facts already covered, continues: “The track suddenly gave way and the train of six cars tumbled down the cliff into the Deerfield River. The waters, swollen by the recent rains, poured into the cars. Three cars immediately caught fire. Then came the struggle to escape. Some were choked by water and perished; others were crushed under the wheels and knocked about until they were dead. The flames spread and completed the horror. The engine tipped over, but did not leave the embankment. The Troy and Boston day coach ploughed into the loose rocks and backed half way down the banks. The baggage and mail cars, two sleepers and one day coach plunged into the river. Every man looked to himself. Groans, shrieks and a frightful and indiscriminate scramble ensued. Thirty men and a few women are reported to have escaped, many of them bruised and injured. About twelve went to Shelburne Falls, the others to Greenfield. Probably no more escaped. How many are still under the wreck or in the river no one known.”

The following comes from North Adams: “So far as can be learned twenty have been seriously injured and seven killed, with a score of others more or less injured. A wrecking train was sent from Shelburne Falls which, with a relief train from Greenfield, did much to alleviate suffering. Large gangs of men are searching for the dead and missing. Thus far three are know to have escaped uninjured. The accident occurred without warning. The track literally tipped up and spilled the entire train down the embankment. Some of the passengers went into the water and narrowly escaped drowning. Fireman RICHARDSON lost part of his hand. He ran to West Deerfield and telegraphed the notice of the wreck. The east track is torn up for a distance of twenty rods and will delay operations at least two days on the track.

The western track is clear and trains for the east will probably use it in passing the scene of the wreck.

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