Canajoharie, NY Train Wreck, Sept 1889


In the Disastrous Wreck at Palatine Bridge.

Narrow Escape of Two Railroad Presidents From Death--Scenes of Horror After the Crash.

Sad Ending of a Wedding Trip, the Groom Dying a Few Hours After Being Injured in the Collision.

Canajoharie, N. Y., Sept 30.--Four killed and a dozen or more injured is the summary of the terrible railroad accident on the Central railroad, two miles east of Palatine Bridge station, Friday night. The train to which the accident occurred was the St. Louis and Chicago express, bound west, which, owing to the heavy travel, was run in two sections. The first section left Fonda at 11:20, ten minutes late. The sections generally run ten minutes apart, which order seems to have been disregarded slightly. When the first section reached a point opposite Brandywine Rift, in the Mohawk river, engineer Weeks, of Albany, of the first section, noticed a giving out of the steam chest of his engine. He immediately stopped and the hind brakeman of the first section ran back.

It was not over five minutes before the crash came. The engineer of the second section says he made every effort to stop by applying the air brakes, but they did not work, and nothing was left for him to do but brace himself for the crash. He was pitched out of the window of his cab, and landed in such a manner as to break both his legs and otherwise injure him. His fireman, John Slater, went up twenty feet in the air, and landed on top of the Boston & Albany railroad’s baggage car, which was in the rear and which struck with such tremendous force that it was more than half way telescoped with the rear part of the engine.

Baggageman Wilcox, of Syracuse, was thrown into one end of the car and quite seriously hurt about the head. He was the first to come to the rescue of the unfortunate fireman on top of the car, and the latter, though badly shocked, was not seriously injured. The first section was made up of a baggage, mail, express and through passenger car besides a Wagner sleeper, the New Mexico, the private car Kankakee, of President Ingalls, of the C.,C.,C. & St Louis railroad, and the private car of President H. B. Ledyard, of the Michigan Central road. The latter car was on the rear, and is said to be the strongest and most perfect car ever constructed.