Johnstown, PA Train Wreck, Jan 1909


Second Section of St. Louis Express Plunges Through Rear of First Train---Dead Victims Were Sole Occupants of Chair Car---

Fireman May Die and Engineer Grant Kennedy Was Injured

Johnstown. Jan 23---As a consequence of an early morning wreck on the Pennsylvania Railroad at Summer Hill 11 miles east of Johnstown, three men were instantly killed and 48 others badly injured. The dead:
S.I. Taylor, Brooklyn, NY Employed by Charles E. King [Possibly RING], New York broker.
M.J. Kelly, Jersey City, N. J. Pullman Conductor
Charles Coleman, colored. Philadelphia. Pullman Porter.

The three victims of the accident were the sole occupants of the chair car on the rear of the first section of the St. Louis express, known as Train No. 41. Had the car been filled with passengers, none could have survived.

It is believed that a big rock was loosened by the heavy rain and fell upon the tracks, causing a delay to the foremost train. A flagman was sent to the rear, to protect the train, but in the dense fog his light was not observed by the engineers of the second section, which was running 30 minutes late and approached Summit Hill at a terrific speed.

Engineer J. McCartney, who had the pilot engine of the second section, had no knowledge of impending danger until the red taillights of the first train came into view. A second later, the crash came. The impact of the two heavy engines hurled them through the rear chair car, literally ripping it apart. Even then the momentum of the second train was not spent for the mammoth engines tore through the next coach, a sleeper, where all the injured victims were asleep at the time.
Passengers were hurled in every direction. Some were dashed through windows and others through the battered roof of the wrecked car. That many were not instantly killed was marvelous, but it was another indication of the "Pennsylvania's luck."

Engineers, McCartney and H. G. Kennedy, the latter a Scottdale Pa. man, were badly shaken up as result of the collision, as were Firemen W. B. Kissell and J.R. Freeman. Fireman Kissell was removed to an Altoona hospital and may live.
Among those injured in the collision are these from Pennsylvania: Anthony Cobango, Latrobe; C.C. Springel, Altoona; William Rowland, Johnstown; E. C. Bultuit, Johnstown; Mrs. Helen Hamil, Johnstown; Mrs. Bessy Plitt, Altoona; Joseph Bianchi and wife, Greensburg; Joseph and John Losanski, brothers, Waynesburg; W. S. Johnston, Charles Legu; J. J. Paylor [possibly Kaylor]; Mrs. S. Scott; Mrs. M. J. McCue of Pittsburg.

The Weekly Courier, Connellsville, PA 28 Jan 1909