Grand Isle, VT South Hero Train Wreck, Jan 1920


Train from New York Derailed Near Burlington----One Car Plunges Into Lake Champlain


Passengers in Wet Night Clothing Pulled Through Windows In Cold 30 Degrees Below Zero.

Special to The New York Times.

BURLINGTON, Vt., Jan. 31.---More than a score of persons, including a number of New Yorkers, are in the hotels and hospitals of this city tonight suffering from injuries and exposure, received when the New York-Montreal express was wrecked this morning at the Rutland Railroad bridge between Grand Isle and South Hero. Several cars plunged down a thirty-foot embankment, and one of the sleepers smashed through the ice into Lake Champlain.

Passengers were rescued from the sleeper, clad only in their night clothes, these in many cases being wet, and carried long distances in a temperature of 30 degrees below zero. At the hospital tonight grave fears are entertained that pneumonia will develop from the shock and exposure, although every precautionary measure has been taken.

Those at the hospital are William Proctor, George C. Snyder and Miss Hilda Hope Snyder, all of New York; M. Lazarus and wife, Charles Farthing, Mr. Castellani, J. S. Johnson, Mrs. Pierre Garon, C. A. Singleton, C. H. Sprieser, and S. F. Kornberg of Montreal; Dennis Cormier, Brockton, Mass.; G. H. Clark, Ottawa, and J. Hanson, Kingston, Ont.

At the Hotel Vermont are the Misses Nance and Lillian Ronquist, Col. B. K. Scott and L. W. Burnect, all believed to be from New York; F. L. Stanley, Troy, N. Y., and Mr. and Mrs. H. E. Horse of Montreal.

The wrecked train was the sleeper which left New York at 7:38 o'clock last evening. The accident happened about 6 o'clock, when the engineer heard something snap like a broken rail. The engine, baggage car, and one sleeper held to the tracks as the train went bumping along for several hundred yards. The first part of the train was on the bridge when the other sleepers rolled off and down the embankment. The car that broke through the ice was only partially submerged, but most of the passengers were precipitated into the end under water.

Passengers in the other cars dressed and went to the assistance of their fellow-passengers, and chief among those in the rescue work were the Ronquist girls of New York, who went out on the ice and, with ice forming on their shoes and clothing, helped pull other passengers through the car windows. The railroad men also did plucky work in the terrific cold.

The passengers in the submerged car included Mr. and Mrs. Moses Lazarus of Montreal on their wedding trip, and they like most of the others in the car lost all of their belongings. With all the haste possible the sufferers were helped up the steep embankment to the car which remained on the track.

A train containing railroad doctors was rushed from Burlington and arrived in about an hour. Hot coffee was given to those suffering from the cold, with medical assistance, and meanwhile the hospital and hotel had been made ready to receive the injured.

In no case are the injuries of themselves dangerous, the doctors say, but there is grave danger in most cases of pneumonia. This afternoon those who went to the hotel were dressed in clothing furnished by other guests and inmates of the house. Railroad officials said tonight that it would be 24 hours before the track could be repaired. It is broken to bits for a distance of several hundred yards.

The New York Times, New York, NY 1 Feb 1920