Ashland Station, NJ Train Collision, June 1884
The accommodation train was composed of a locomotive and seven cars, while the Lakeside Park train consisted of a locomotive and three cars. The latter were filled with women and children, and formed an excursion given under the auspicies of the Sunday School connected with the Second Presbyterian Church, of Camden. This train left the latter place at 8:35 o'clock Saturday morning. Just previous to the departure a dispatch was forwarded by Superintendent Bannard to the operator at Ashland Station, with orders directing the accommodation train to lay off on a siding at that point until after the special excursion passed. It is not known whether or not the order was received as sent, or whether the conductor and engineer of the accommodation disregarded the order and kept on with their train.
The accommodation was running at the rate of twenty-two miles an hour, when it entered the curve, and after the two trains came together the utmost confusion occurred among the passengers. The first man taken out of the wreck was JOHN ROSENBAUM, the express agent of the accommodation, who was terribly cut about the head, face and hands. He was found with a lot of debris covering him, and was extracted from his perilous position only after much difficulty. The body of fireman NICHOLAS BARBER was next discovered under a portionof the wrecked tender. He was terribly mangled about the head and body. Fireman LOUIS McCLAIN, when found, was unconscious; and was terribly mangled about the face and head, which was swollen to twice its normal condition. Brakeman JOHN LOGER was hurled from the baggage car and thrown into a pool of water and mud. He was badly injured, but how seriously cannot be ascertained.
The first intelligence of Mail Agent HITES was by hearing him call out from under the debris; "Here I am." It was a work of great labor to take him out from the mass of ruins in which he was imbedded, and when taken out he was found to be shockingly lacerated. His death occurred in a very short time. At the moment of the collision Conductor SMITH was counting tickets in the front of the car, and at that instant also Supervisor
DALE, who was in the third car, jumped to the platform and assisted a number of the children and older folks to escape through the windows. Then he an to Haddonfield to notify the company's headquarters.
It is stated that the accommodation train should have taken a siding at Ashland, just above Lakeside Park, inorder to allow the excursion train to go by. The operator at Ashland, it is charged, is responsible for the disaster in permitting the accommodation to pass without going on the siding. Efforts were made to obtain the name of this operator, but this was impossible, owing to the injunction of secrecy which prevailed with all the employes. It is said, however, that the operator was a new man. John Hagerman, who was on the train, and who came to Camden with the injured, said: "Comductor SMITH, of the Lakeside train, it seems, received a dispatch to look out for the Atlantic accommodation at Ashland, and while rounding a curve on this side, Engineer BAXTER was horrified to see the mail train came bounding around the curve at a high rate of speed, and before the engine could be reversed the collision occurred. It is impossible for me to describe the terror of the situation, or the frightful character of the scene. The collision wrecked both engines, and hurled the cars following them from the tracks. I am compelled to wonder that the list of dead and wounded is not greater than it is.
Waterloo Courier Iowa 1884-06-25