Hodges, TN New Market Train Wreck, Sept 1904
One Hundred and Twenty-five Injured in Wreck.
COLLIDED AT FULL SPEED
Passenger Trains Crashed Together Near Hodges, Tenn.
Orders Were Not Followed-One of the Engineers Supposed to Have Been Asleep or Dead When Collision Came-Heartrending Scenes at the Wreck-Timber Driven Entirely Through One Woman's Body-Did Not Leave Track.
Knoxville, Tenn., Sept. 24-Running on a roadbed in a high condition of maintenance, and having about them every safeguard known to modern railroading, two trains on the Southern Railway, carrying heavy lists of passengers, came together in a frightful head-on collision, near Hodges Tenn., to-day, killing 54 people and injuring 120, several of whom will probably die. This appalling loss of life and maiming of the living resulted apparently from the disregarding of orders given to the two trains to meet at a station which has for a long time been their regular meeting point. The plea of failure to see either the station or signals cannot be set up by the engineer of the west-bound train, were he alive to enter a plea of defense, as the accident happened in broad daylight, and according to the best information obtainable, he had the orders in a little frame in front of him as his engine rushed by Newmarket. Soon after it came full upon an east-bound passenger train making for New market, in compliance with instructions to meet the west-bound train which carried the sleepers from the East for Knoxville, Chattanooga, and other Southern cities.
The possibility exists that the ill-fated engineer may have been asleep, or that death had suddenly overtaken him before Newmarket was reached. But nothing is known, save that the orders were not obeyed. The trains were on time and not making over thirty-five miles an hour, yet the impact as they rounded a curve and came suddenly upon each other was frightful. Both engines and the greater portion of both trains were demolished, and why the orders were disregarded or misinterpreted probably will never be known, as the engineers of the two trains were crushed to death, their bodies remaining for hours under the wreckage of the locomotives.