Tivoli, NY Train Wreck, Apr 1854


A melancholy accident occurred on the Hudson River Railroad last evening, which was caused by the falling of an immense piece of rock on the track, two miles north of Tivoli, when the 4,45 train from this city was under full headway and within four rods of the place. So sudden was the fall, that the flag man, who was at his post, had signalled[sic] to the engineer of the down train that all was right; but as the train approached, he heard a rumbling noise, which was followed by the falling of the rock. He narrowly escaped, and immediately reversed his signal, but not in time to prevent the accident. The jar caused by the running of the train undoubtedly shook the rock so as to cause it, fall at that moment.

The train was at full speed when the locomotive struck the rock, smashing it and the two baggage cars almost into atoms. So great was the concussion that the passengers were lifted out of their seats and thrown several feet. --- There were five passenger cars in the train, two of which were badly broken, but no passengers were injured.
But the worst features of this accident are as yet untold. Four persons in the employ of the company were so severely injured that it is thought that three of them will not survive.

FRANCIS SCOTT, the Engineer, aged 40 years, a resident of Poughkeepsie, skull fractured and otherwise injured. He was dead, or dying, when the up train left. He was the oldest engineer on the road, and was considered one of the most scientific and prudent in the employ of the company. The locomotive he was running was the new and powerful one called the “St. Clair.”

FRANCIS SHULTZ, the fireman, a resident of Greenbush, was badly injured, but he is the only one out of the four, who, it is thought, would survive.

JOSEPH ALGER, or ALJOE, and CHS. BERTRAND, brakeman, were both severely injured, having been smashed between the cars. Both were insensible, and the former was dead or dying at our latest accounts.
GEORGE SIMPSON, MR. CALDWELL, the conductor, a mail agent, the messenger of Pullens & Virgil's Express, and JOHN YOUNG, the baggageman, were all in the baggage car at the time.

The cars were subsequently taken and burned in the stoves in the cars to keep the passengers warm. Even the stove was broken to pieces, but miraculous as it may appear, all the persons in these cars escaped uninjured, except MR. YOUNG, who received a slight wound on his head.
The rock that fell on the road is said to have been eight to ten feet long, five feet wide and two feet thick, not less than five tons in weight.
The wounded and maimed received every attention, and all that men could do for them was done by the officers and passengers.
The wreck and obstructions were removed, and the passengers which left New York in the five o'clock train last evening reached the city between 3 and 4 o'clock this morning.

P.S. --- We learn from one of the employees of the Hudson River Railroad, who was on the down train last evening when the accident occurred, and who returned to the city on the express train this morning, that the two brakemen died during the night. MR. SCOTT, the engineer, was much easier, and his injuries were less severe than was first reported. Strong hopes were entertained of his recovery. It was thought the firemen, although severely wounded, would recover. The young men killed resided in New York. --- Albany Jour., Sat., April 3.

The Erie Observer Pennsylvania 1854-04-08