Allenton, WI Train Wreck, Oct 1912

Allenton Train Wreck, photo from Allenton Train Wreck, photo from


Soo Express is Wrecked at Allenton This Morning


Chicago to Minneapolis Train Hits Broken Rail With Disastrous Results - Seven People Hurt.

Edward Lueloff, Colby, Wis., slight scalp wound.
Louis Lueloff, Curtis, Wis., contusions in region of back.
T. F. McGee, Minneapolis, foot bruised and back hurt.
R. Mayers, member of train crew, Chicago, bruised.
T. J. Kelly, porter on buffet car, Chicago, bruised about ribs.
Carl Arnold, mail clerk, Chicago, left wrist hurt.

While traveling at a rate of 55 miles an hour, the Chicago and Minneapolis Express on the Soo line, leaving Chicago at 2:15 a. m. and due in this city at 6:31 a. m. was wrecked at the south end of the house track near the Allenton station at 6:40 o'clock this morning, six cars, including a sleeper, buffet car, two passenger coaches, a mail car and a baggage car leaving the track, two of them, the sleeper and the mail car overturning in the ditch.

The wreck was caused by a broken rail, according to information furnished by division officials at North Fond du Lac this morning. It is believed that the rail broke after the heavy locomotive had passed over it, for the locomotive and tank did not, leave the track, only the rear trucks on the tank being off.

That the train crew and passengers, escaped without serious injury is declared by the railroad officials to be remarkable. The speeding train jolted over the ties for its entire length before coming to a stop. The locomotive and tank broke loose from the train and traveled several train lengths before being brought to a stop.

News of the wreck was flashed to the division offices at North Fond du Lac by the Allenton operator and at 7:25 o'clock an equipment special carrying surgeons from this city pulled out of the city station, closely followed by the wrecking train. The equipment special and the wrecker arrived at Allenton at 8:20 o'clock.

There were forty-six passengers on No. 1 when it pulled out of Chicago at 2:15 o'clock this morning. The train was in charge of Conductor George Whitely of Chicago, formerly of Fond du Lac was the fireman.

At the time of the wreck, the train was 48 minutes late and was running at a high rate of speed to make up some of the lost time. The passengers in the sleeping car were astir when the derailment took place.

To the fact that the mail car was one of the new steel type cars recently put in service on the Soo is due to escape of Arnold and Gough, the mail clerks, from serious injury if not death. The crew in the baggage car also had a narrow escape, as the heavy trucks at the back end of the car were hurled through floor and roof when the car bounded over the ties. All of the cars suffered the loss of the trucks. Seven people wee slightly injured in the affair.

Traine [sic] on the Soo was delayed for an hour and a half when the passing track was cleared and the trains sent around the wreck on the main line.

Superintendent C. M. Winter, who was in Chicago when the wreck took place, was reached from the offices at North Fond du Lac by wire and acquainted with the affair. Mr. Winter left Chicago on a special and upon his arrival at the wreck, took charge of affairs.

One of the passengers on the wreck train, who came to this city on the equipment special at 10:15 a. m. declared that he was seated in the buffet car looking out of a window when the cars began to sway and bound around in a manner to strike terror among the occupants. Although it was only seconds, it seemed hours before the sickening lurching and bounding about stopped and there was a mad rush for the door. Upon getting out of the car, the passengers found the train off the track, while the sleeper and mail car were lying on their side in a shallow ditch.

At first it was feared that the occupants of the two overturned cars had been killed, but investigation showed that beyond a few bruises and cuts, the wreck was without any serious results, so far as the passengers and train crew were concerned.

Story of a Passenger.
Oshkosh, Wis., Oct. 24 - George Athearn was the only Oshkosh resident on the "Soo" train that was wrecked early this morning at Allenton. He was in the sleeper with eleven other passengers, and although this car turned over, he was not injured in the slightest.

In speaking of the accident this morning, Mr. Ahern said:"It doesn't seem possible that the fifty-seven passengers on the train all escaped without broken bones. Nobody was seriously injured. The wreck was caused by a defective rail. The engine and tender got over it all right, but, the coaches were tossed off. The mail car turned completely over. The baggage car landed on its side and the trucks of the mail car went through the smoking car, hitting it broadside. The sleeper bumped along on the ties and the right-of-way before it turned over.

Had Narrow Escape.
"There was a lady and her child in a lower berth, and they were on the underside when the car turned over, but neither was injured. It took some time for all of the people to get out of the wrecked cars and coaches, and while this was in progress everyone felt that a desperate situation would confront them when they were released, but as I said, nobody was badly hurt."

Accident Unavoidable.
Mr. Athearn got a severe shaking up, but he was non the worse for the accident at noon. He regards the accident as being unavoidable and says the "Soo" company handled the situation admirably in every particular.

Daily Commonwealth, Fond du Lac WI 24 Oct 1912