Reading, PA Railroad Collision, Aug 1843


Another of those terrific accidents occurred yesterday on the Philadelphia and Pottsville Railroad, which can always be avoided by a simple attention to the duty of a Railroad agent: never start a car when a train from an opposite direction is due; let no persuasion induce you to depart from this rule. Yesterday morning about three o'clock, this collision took place about two miles above Reading, between a train of empty ascending cars and a train of descending burden cars loaded with coal. The up-train started, hoping to reach Mohr's before the down train; but when opposite Mr. Heister's at the deep cut, the two trains came in contact, breaking every thing to splinters! Two men were instantly killed and several others frightfully wounded. The hands on the loaded cars jumped off before the contact and escaped uninjured - but those on the empty cars were the sufferers. MR. GEORGE HECKMAN was instantly killed, and his mangled remains were covered entirely with the frightful wreck, as were those of DANIEL FORNWALT. The father of the latter, GOTTFRIED FORNWALT, had a leg broken, and was otherwise injured so horribly that his recovery will be a miracle. SAMUEL SHULTZE had several of his ribs broken, and CONRAD FEGER was also seriously injured.
The evident cause of this casualty was the carelessness of the agent who allowed the up train to start before the arrival of the burden cars. We say to the Company, let him be dismissed immediately. [Phil. Forum.]

The damage in a pecuniary point of view is said to be very great.

The Voice Of Freedom 1843-08-17