Crush, TX Staged Train Collision, Sep 1896
The engines had both been completely telescoped, and, contrary to experience in such cases, instead of rising in the air from the force of the blow, were just flattened out. There was nothing about the cars big enough to save except pieces of wood, which were eagerly seized upon and carried home as souvenirs.
It took the great crowd at least a minute to realize what had happened, and then with a united yell they scrambled over the dead line, through the brush, tearing down barbed wire fences and knocking down wooden ones in a wild attempt to get to the smoking heap of debris.
The ruin was so complete they could not at first believe it. It was only after they had thoroughly investigated the situation that they comprehended in full the breadth and scope of what they had seen, and then began the relic hunting phase of it. Everything that could be carried away was laid hold of and it would be safe to say that of the 30,00 on the grounds 25,000 of them are saving souvenirs of their exciting day's adventure.
The handling of the special trains which carried the crowds to the place of the collision was done with thoroughness and dispatch. There was not a wobble or a delay and the whole programme was carried out just as planned weeks before. For some unaccountable reason, after the day's work was over, there was what seemed to be an unnecessary delay in getting the people home. It was two hours before a single train moved and then the method of loading and caring for the passengers was rather freely criticised.
The engines used in the collision were the 999 and the 1001. CHARLES KANE was the engineer on the 1001 and FRANK BARNES fireman, and F. E. VAUGILDER conductor. On the other engine CHARLES STANTON was in charge of the throttle, with S. M. DICKERSON as fireman and TOM WEBB as conductor. It had been arranged that twhen the signal to start had been given and the engines were in motion all the crew should alight after fifteen exhausts had been made, or, say, a distance of thirty yards from the starting point. This was accomplished without hurt or hindrance to any of the men on the train, and from opposite hillsides they watched the result of the race.
The trains were running at a high rate of spped when the collision occurred. The concussion almost shook the earth. A second later a terrible explosion followed and the boilers were blown to pieces. A regular hail of scrap iron and other missiles filled the air and rained on the earth within a radius of 500 yards of the point of collision. About 100 yards south of the track News representatives, Chief of Police Jim Maddox and Billy Ward and the photographer occupied a platform to obtain a good view.
This raised platform was within the danger line. J. C. DEAN a photographer from Waco, was struck in the right eye by a small piece of scrap iron. The eyeball was cut in twain and MR. DEAN knocked down by the force of the blow.
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