Fresh Pond, (Long Island) NY Train Collision, July 1872




The Rockaway excursion train, running on the South Side Road, and bound for Bushwick, was crowded to its utmost capacity yesterday afternoon. The passengers included entire families, old and young, who had been making merry at the seaside all day long. When the train started at 4:05 the utmost good humor and hilarity prevailed, despite the intense heat. Some laughed cheerily, some sang, and others slept with all the confidence of one at home. No one dreamed of danger, and all went merry as a marriage ball. None saw, none knew that way down the miles of glistening rails ahead an iron ribbed monster of destruction was dashing along on a mission of death.
Azarael's dark wings shadowed the car, but the flapping of his pinions was unheard in the war of the locomotive. On dashed the train till home seemed near. Just then it stopped at a little station known as Fresh Pond. The stoppage caused some to look from the windows, and others to crowd upon the platform. The more inquisitive asked the conductor why he had seen fit to stop the train, and were answered that it was time the eastward bound train had passed. From there down to Williamsburgh the road consists of but one track. Finally the passengers grew impatient, and several commenced to inveigh against railroad companies in general and the South Side in particular. After waiting four minutes the conductor ordered his engineer to go ahead on the single track. Just as the train was fairly underway, the horrified engineer saw the 4:30 eastward bound train dashing down upon him. In an instant one hand touched the signal whistle, and another reversed brakes. All unmindful of the screeching steam and waving red flag of an excited flagman, the approaching train came pushing on -- abating its speed not in the least. The passengers on the excursion train, alarmed by the shrill voice of the locomotive whistle, ran out upon the platforms. There were men, women and children in the crowd, and the greatest excitement prevailed. Many in the delirium of their fears jumped from the cars. Just then the approaching train thundered up, and with a mighty crash drove the stationary locomotive back upon the excursion train. A Babel of confusion followed which no pen can correctly describe. The screeches of the steam whistles, the grinding of broken wheels, the shrieks of the wounded -- all united in the creation of a pandemonium indescribable.
After a brief interval of utter bewilderment, the passengers and brakemen went to work with a will -- and in a short time rescued the wounded from their position of peril.
None were killed outright, but several were badly bruised and cut. One family was mangled horribly. MRS. NELSON ROW had both legs broken between the knees, and her left foot crushed. This morning she died. FRANK W. ROW, a youth of 18, was injured internally, and now awaits burial. MINNIE W. ROW, a beautiful girl of sixteen, was badly bruised around the feet.

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