Nyack, MT Runaway Freight Plunges Into Passenger Train, Sep 1901


Shocking Collision of the Great Northern at Nyack, Mont.


A Freight Train Broke In Two on a Steep Grade of a Rocky Mountain Foothill -- The Read End of the Freight Torn Loose From the Head End, Dashed Down and Struck a Passenger Train.

Kalispell, Mont. (Special) -- Thirty-six lives were lost and 13 persons were injured in the wreck on the Great Northern Railway passenger train No. 3, at Nyack, 30 miles west of Kalispell. None of the passengers were injured, the fatalaties haveing been confined to employes of the railroad company.
The wreck was caused by the breaking in two of a freight train on the steep grade of a Rocky Mountain foothill. The rear end of the freight tore loose from the head end, dashed backward down the mountain and crashed into the rear end of the passenger train which was just pulling out of the station at Nyack. The car attached to the rear end of the pasenger was the private coach of Superintendent DOWNS. He and his son KIRK and their cook, HENRY BLAIR, were instantly killed. The car just ahead contained 46 Scandinavian laborers en route, from Duluth, Minn., to Jennings. They were killed wholesale. Only 13 were taken from the debris alive.
Fire, immediately following the collision, quickly destroyed the private car, cremating the bodies of those within.
The flames were quickly communicated to the car ahead, or rather to what remained of it, and the bodies of 28 of the laborers also were cremated. The third car from the rear also was burned, but those within managed to escape when the collision first occurred. The fire continued to spread through the mass of debris caused by the destruction of the dozen or more freight cars and their consignments of valuable freight.
Finally, the passenger train was cut in two between the third and fourth cars from the rear, and the balance was drown to a safe distance from the fire. All telegraph wires on the poles alongside of the track were soon melted, and communication was cut off soon after the collision.
Seventeen Lives Lost In Wreck.
St. Paul, Minn. (Special) -- An accident on the Great Northern Railroad occurred at Nyack, Mont., resulted, it is reported, in the loss of 17 lives. Train No. 3, westbound passenger train was standing on the main line. Twenty eight cars of shingles east of them, belonging to freight train No. 10, broke loose and came down a grade and crashed into the rear of No. 3. P. I. DOWNS, assistant general superintendent of the West End of the Great Northern, was killed.

Chateaugay Record New York 1901-09-06