East Andover, NH Train Wreck, Oct 1885



CONCORD, N. H., Oct. 18.----A terrible accident occurred on the Northern Division of the Boston and Lowell Railroad midway between East Andover and West Andover, at 5 o'clock this morning by which three persons lost their lives and five were injured. The Chicago express freight train left here with a double header, the engineers being John P. Emerson and Daniel Scannell, and when they reached West Andover to switch off for the down passenger train it was discovered that they had broken apart. Emerson started in search of the missing cars, and meanwhile the passenger train came along. The passenger train men were informed that Emerson had gone after a part of his train before they left the station. That train stopped at Andover Centre, leaving four passengers, and started southward. When three-eighths of a mile below Andover Centre both trains collided, and as they were going rapidly the recoil was so great that the direction of each locomotive was completely changed. As soon as possible trainmen were sent to the rescue of the passengers on engines. Both locomotives were badly damaged and their engineers were missing. After a long search, they were found under the debris, dead; as was also a brakeman of the freight train who went back with Engineer Emerson on his train.

The express messenger and baggage master were imprisoned in the wreck, and it was necessary to cut them out. Both were in the baggage car, which took fire, but the flames were extinguished without damage. The tender of the passenger locomotive telescoped the baggage car. There were tow clerks in the latter, one of whom was injured. Aside from a severe shaking up none of the passengers were hurt. A wrecking train and medical assistance went from here, and the track was cleared before night. General Superintendent Mellen, who came from Boston by a special train, and Division Superintendent Sodd directed the work.

Following is a list of the killed: LUCIUS GRAVES, engineer of the passenger train, aged 60 years, of Concord, married; JOHN P. EMERSON, engineer of the freight train, of Concord, aged 30 years, unmarried, and WILLIAM HARVEY, brakeman on the freight train, of Lebanon, aged 30 years, married. The injured are: Frank H. Stevens, postal clerk, of West Lebanon, leg hurt; William W. Stone, express messenger, of Concord, ankle and head bruised; William Turner, baggage master, of West Lebanon, leg broken and otherwise injured: Oscar Leighton, fireman on the passenger train, of Concord, head and hand bruised; Frank C. Wells, fireman on the freight train, of West Lebanon, head bruised. Turner is seriously injured. Leighton escaped by jumping, and was thrown a long distance when the engines collided.

Emerson's fireman states that he left word at West Andover to have the passenger train held until he returned. He had to go to East Andover, about eight miles, and as he had only eight cars he must have been running rapidly. Had his request been understood the passenger train would undoubtedly have remained at West Andover, although the latter had the right of way. The railroad officials decline to make any statement as to the responsibility, preferring to let the facts be elicited at the investigation which the Railroad Commissioners will hold early this week. It was very foggy this morning, it being impossible for the train-men to see more than 25 feet ahead. Several freight cars were smashed, and the loss is placed at $7,500.

The New York Times, New York, NY 19 Oct 1885