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Eau Claire, WI Train Wreck, May 1911

Miraculous Escape.

That the forward crew were not all killed is considered miraculous; as it is they were all badly shaken up.

"Had the engine not broken away from the train," said Barkeman [sic] Huick, "there is no telling what might have been the result.

The engine, "387," was one of the largest in service on the line, and today lies in a tangled mass of iron and steel, in a ditch near the track. W. B. Wells, trainmaster, was on the train, and witnessed the disaster.

Many local people were on the train at the time of the accident, and some were of the opinion that the train was running faster than the law allows in the city limits.

Make Up Time.

The Limited was late in pulling out of Eau Claire, having to wait for passengers from the Chicago Twin City train, but made up the time before reaching the city limits, and according to Brakeman Huick, was running on schedule time when the derailment occurred.  A special train was immediately made up to take the passengers and mail to Duluth.

The train consisted of four cars, mail, baggage, and two passenger coaches, the latter two remaining on the track bed.  The tender of the engine turned over after going a distance of about 200 feet, plowing up a considerable pile of dirt and cinders.  The tracks, from the crossing to the scene of the wreck, were torn up and twisted out of form for a distance of about 250 yards.

The work of carting the mail to the postoffice was immediately looked after under the supervision of Postmaster O. K. Anderson, the last load being taken about 6 o'clock.

A wrecking crew was at once dispatched to the scene, and it was the opinon [sic] of the authorities, that the wreckage would be cleared away in the course of about three hours, the regular trains using the Soo line tracks.

Members of the Wausau and Eau Claire Minny league teams were on the train, several standing on the platform between the baggage and smoker.  Outside of Player Du Chien, who sustained a wrenched leg, they were not hurt.

Thousands of people gathered at the scene of the wreck, shortly after, many of them with cameras.  Every window in the mail car was shattered, and a large hole was driven through the floor of the baggage car.

Duluth News-Tribune, Duluth, MN 30 May 1911

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