Archbold, OH Two Trains Headon Collision, Feb 1976


Archbold, Ohio (UPI) -- Two Penn Central freight trains, unaccountably switched onto the same track, collided headon with a tremendous explosion near this northwestern Ohio community early today. Four crewmen were killed.
Two crewmen on each train were killed, said Howard Gilbert, director of information services for Penn Central, and two other crewmen were injured.
Gilbert identified the dead crewmen as:
W. H. DAVIS, Toledo, Ohio, the head brakeman.
EUGENE O. FULLER, Brooklyn, Mich., the engineman on the eastbound train.
ROBERT E. GREEN, Elkhart, Ind., the engineman on the westbound train.
P. E. SPRAY, Elkhart, Ind., a fireman.
The injured were identified as:
D. L. PHILLIPS, the conductor on the eastbound train.
B. J. FUSON, head brakeman on the westbound train who jumped off just before the collision.
Ohio Highway Sgt. Howard Peeps, a 12-year veteran of the force, said, "When I arrived at the scene both the head engines were engulfed in flames and they were shooting approximately 45 to 50 feet in the air."
"I did observe parts of human bodies laying around the area, a couple of legs and a couple of arms."
Gilbert said he did not know how both trains got on the same track.
"In the operation of a busy railroad you sometimes
switch trains from one track to the other but we haven't any idea what happened," said Gilbert.
"There could be a number of reasons why two trains were on the same track, crossing over and that sort of thing. But that will only come out after a very extensive investigation."
Gilbert said about 20 cars derailed. He said both trains carried general freight. The fire and explosion was caused when a fuel tank on one of the engines exploded, Gilbert said.
The trains collided shortly after midnight EST about five miles east of this community of 3,000, in the northwest corner of the state near both the Michigan and Indiana borders.

Logansport Pharos-Tribune and Press Indiana 1976-02-05