Bryn Mawr, PA Trains Collide, May 1951
PUBLIC HEARINGS SET IN RAIL WRECK PROBE.
Public hearings on the Bryn Mawr train crash start at 10 a.m. next Wednesday at the Bellevue-Stratford, Philadelphia.
Investigators of the Interstate Commerce Commission will conduct the sessions in an effort to determine the cause of Friday's accident in which eight persons were killed and 63 injured.
A three-way probe already is under way, but a Pennsylvania Railroad spokesman said the preliminary inquiry has failed to explain why the Red Arrow, a Detroit to New York flyer, rammed into the rear of the halted Philadelphia Night Express from Pittsburgh.
The ICC, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and railroad have joined in the probe.
15 Still In Hospital.
Of the injured, all but 15 have been released from Bryn Mawr Hospital. Among those detained was WILLIAM MORROW, 51, of 1025 Harvard av., Swarthmore.
Two are considered in serious condition. They are EDWARD BLANCHARD, 49, of Grosse Point, Mich., and B. H. SMALL, 59, of Erie.
The PRR named as dead:
CORNELIUS J. RIDGELEY, 40, of 7119 Lincoln dr., Philadelphia, and engineer of the ITE Circuit Breaker Co.
CHARLES BAGBIE, 51, of 1318 N. 55th st., Philadelphia, a Pullman porter for 24 years.
VINCENT L. DAULTON, 42, of Langhorne, district manager of John A Roebling's Sons Co., Rotebling, N. J.
C. C. VANDEVENTER, of Wilmington, Del., an employe of E. I. duPont deNemours & Co., explosives division.
GEORGE B. STOESS, 37, of Princeton, N. J., an engineer of Roebling's.
C. F. LAUNSTINE, of Indianapolis, Ind., research director of Link-Belt Co.
JOSEPH CAPELL, 37, of Cleveland Heights, O.
MISS MARGARET E. DEAN, 69, of East Cleveland, O.
Tracks Reopened Today.
The Main Line of the PRR was reopened fully at 6 a.m. today. Partial service had been restored Friday night, and wrecking crews worked feverishly to open the two inside tracks for weekend service.
The early phases of the investigation began amid reports that a physician, one of the first at the scene, found the engineer of the Red Arrow "could hardly see anything out of his right eye," due possibly to a cataract condition.
A railroad spokesman said its inquiry showed the engineer, P. B. YENTZER, 63, Harrisburg, Pa., had halted his train at a stop and proceed signal at Radnor 1 1/4 miles from the Night Express which had halted only a quarter mile from the Bryn Mawr station.
Operating employes undergo thorough examinations every three to six months and even if an engineer was temporarily blinded a whistle device in his cab would sound a warning in the event of a slow down or stop signal, the railroad said.
The huge electric locomotive of the Red Arrow slashed through the full length of the last car of the express, a sleeper, grinding sleeping victims to death in their berths and cutting the steel car into ribbons. The engineer and fireman excaped death or serious injury.
J. M. SYMES, operating vice-president of the railroad, said the eastbound express had been halted by a stop signal set off by an equipment bar detector lyink [sic] between the rails which "presumably had been struck ... by something hanging from the train."
SYMES said tentative information showed YENTZER halted his train at a stoop and proceed signal which called for him to proceed at a speed not exceeding 15 miles an hour and he "prepared to stop short of a train ahead."
"But here we are unable to explain," said SYMES, "how, in view of the rules, his train could have been moving, following the stop, at such speed as to cause an accident such as that at Bryn Mawr."
DR. EDWARD CLARK, a resident physician at Bryn Mawr Hospital, where the injured were taken, was reported to have examined YENTZER, a veteran of 25 years service, and found the "he could hardly see anything out of his right eye."
However, CLARK, who used a flashlight for the examination, was said to have noted that "the condition might have been a nervous reaction from the shock of his injuries" including a compound fracture of the nose.
The last of the eight dead to be identified -- the woman victim and a man -- were listed shortly before midnight Friday many hours after their bodies had been pulled from the tangled wreckage and taken to a funeral parlor.
The Chester Times Pennsylvania 1951-05-19