Bryn Athyn, PA Train Wreck, Dec 1921

Continue Search For More Bodies In Wreck Debris

Railroad Crash Thus Far Claims Toll of 25 Lives-More Than Score Hurt

Philadelphia, Dec. 6.-Search was continued for several additional bodies thought to be in the debris of the wreck near Bryn Athyn, 17 miles north of here yesterday which so far has claimed a toll of 25 lives and injured seriously more than a score.

The wreck occurred on the one track Newtown division of the Philadelphia and Reading railway when two passenger trains, Nos. 151 and 156 collided head on, on a sharp curve walled in by high ledges of rock.

Fourteen of the dead have so far been identified. All of the bodies are now at an undertaking establishment in Jenkintown and it was believed more would be uncovered shortly in the wreckage of the two trains.

Three of the injured are believed to be dying.

Identification of some of the bodies was almost impossible because they were burned to crisps when the old-fashioned wooden coaches burst into flames immediately after the crash.

Many of the bodies were so badly mangled that they had to be picked up in pieces in baskets.

Many Roasted Alive.

Very few passengers if any escaped death in the first coaches of both trains. The riders in these coached if not killed outright were roasted alive as the flames overtook them.

Three investigations to fix blame for the accident were carried on today by the coroner, State Public Service Commission and railway officials. The railroad company issued a statement saying that the crew of train No. 151, northbound, “over ran orders.”

No, 151left Reading Terminal here at 6:48 a.m. and No. 156, leaving between Newtown for Philadelphia at 7:30, being late, the first train was to have waited on the siding at Bryn Athyn for the southbound train to pass. Orders to this effect were said to have been handed to Conductor Evans at Bryn Athyn.

Railroad officials said it was the duty of the conductor to communicate these orders to the engineer which was said not to have been done.

The engineer upon being halted at a station in the absence of instruction from the conductor, waits for a definite period and then proceeds.

When No. 151 pulled out of Bryn Athyn without waiting for 156 to pass the station agent, knowing what the orders were, and being too late to stop the train, immediately put in a call for ambulances at nearby hospitals being certain of what was to happen.

List of Identified Dead.
The identified dead:
John Crusen, 6, Newtown.
Elmer Hanson, Newtown.
Dr. Irvin J. Hatch, Newtown.
Miss Elizabeth Shelmire, Southhampton.
Louis Johnson, Southhampton.
Mrs. Katherine Fitzpatrick, Southhampton.
Thomas Gove, Philadelphia, fireman on No. 151.
Edward Vogel, Ryers, fireman on No. 156.
George Potter, Philadelphia.
John Price, Philadelphia.
Voorhees Hogeland, Southhampton.
J.A. Sanders, Philadelphia.
E.M. Brehm, Southhampton.
-- Harrington.

The missing probably among unidentified dead, all but one, and infant dead, so disfigured that identification will be impossible were:
Charles Scott, Southhampton.
Mrs. William Sinkler, Southhampton.
Mrs. Arthur Heaton, Southhampton.
Mrs. Morris Van Hart, Southhampton.

The injured all at Abington hospital were:
James B. Truitt, Philadelphia, internal injuries.
Mrs. Herbert Krusen, Newtown, mother of dead boy, condition far.
[illegible], Olney, engineer of No. 151, condition fair.
Miss Helen Rook, Newtown, engineer of No. 166, broken leg and scalds, serious.
William Bixler, Philadelphia, cuts bruises.
Miss E. M. Hartman, Ivy Lane, internal injuries, serious.
Harold Schneeweis, Churchville, burns and internal injuries, critical condition.
Miss Anna Fitzpatrick, Southhampton, serious.
Ten others not so seriously hurt were taken to their homes.

Wilkes-Barre Times, Wilkes-Barre, PA 6 Dec 1921