Bluewater, NM Train Wreck, Jan 1907

Bluewater Wreck Ties Up Line 24 Hours

No One Even Seriously Injured In Derailment

Defective Rail or Broken Flange Believed by Officials to Have Been Cause of the Disastrous Smashup of Passenger Train No. 8.

The first train to pass the wreck of Saturday's eastbound passenger train No. 8 near Bluewater, was No. 4, the Chicago limited of Saturday night, which reached Albuquerque at midnight Sunday night, twenty-four hours late. No. 4 was followed by No. 2 due here Sunday morning and with the arrival late Monday morning of Sunday night's No. 4 traffic is practically resumed on schedule. The wreck, however, has not been cleared up, a shoofly having been built around the long string of overturned cars which, according to the passengers presented a scene of the most inextricable confusion. The heavy coaches and Pullmans were thrown helter skelter on both sides of the track, most of them rolled over on their sides or lying crosswise of the track down the steep embankment where the wreck occurred. Telegraph poles were snapped off and wires tangled up and things otherwise mixed.

Probably the worst injured man on the train was Mail Clerk Willard W. Perkins, who hobbled off No. 2 Sunday night with a cane, a bandaged eye and a badly bruised leg. His injuries, however, are slight and he considers himself extremely lucky to be alive at all after being rolled around in a mail car.

J.C. Craw, baggage man, was also slightly hurt, his head and right leg being bruised.

The wreck instead of being right at Bluewater as at first reported occurred 112 miles west of Albuquerque and about five miles west of Bluewater. The engine pulling the train was No. 1421 in charge of Engineer Van Eaton, with Conductor Miller handling the train. The engine did not leave the rails as was first reported.

The following account of the wreck was given the Morning Journal Sunday by a passenger in one of the tourist cars.

"The wreck occurred about dark. We were making probably forty miles an hour, being three hours and twenty minutes late. The Conductor had just remarked to a Pullman conductor, "We"ll make Albuquerque by 9 o'clock," when the crash came. I was sitting in a seat facing a man and his wife and a little child. All three were torn from their seats and hurled across the car, but the hold didn't move me from my seat. From all appearances a bad wheel, broken flange or loose rail caused the trouble. The engine stayed on the track. The first car jumped the rails dragging the tender off with it. The first car remained coupled to the tender, although the former went clear into the ditch endwise. The combination mail and baggage car it on one side a car's length from the track. The smoker landed on its side a car's length from the track on the north side. The chair car and tourist sleeper were capsized, but were not thrown far from the rails. The Pullman cars all left the rails, but landed upright, or nearly so, at almost right angles to the track and slanting down the embankment, which was nearly ten feet high."

"Two men in the smoker, one of which was Conductor Wood, of the Santa Fe, were hurled through a window and alighted twenty or thirty feet from the track. A private car containing the assistant superintendent of telegraph and some other officials at the rear end of the train stayed on the rails."

"Not one of the passengers was hurt beyond a bad shaking up and a few slight bruises and there seemed to be little excitement as the people began crawling out the doors and windows. I think it will take at least another twenty-four hours to get the main line clear, although the work is being prosecuted with the utmost energy."

By the peculiar system of train announcing on the Santa Fe, the eastbound trains were marked up at various hours, ranging from breakfast time in the morning to late last night two and three hours at a jump, when none of the trains had passed the wreck and it was not certain when they would get started. As the scene of the wreck is only three or four hours' run from this city, travelers who waited for the trains all day yesterday, are at a loss to understand by what system of figuring, for instance, it was computed at 3 o'clock they would reach here at 4:30 when they had not yet passed the wreck.

One baggage car with the end smashed up considerably was replaced on the rails and brought in to this city in the forenoon bearing a few of the passengers from the wrecked train.

Albuquerque Morning Journal, Albuquerque, NM 7 Jan 1907