Scientific American — November 1, 1890


The force of the wind storms that are a constant menace to some of the Western States is well illustrated in the accompanying engraving, which has been prepared from photographs taken at Fargo, North Dakota, at the time of the disaster, and kindly sent to us by Mr. S. H. Logan. The most extraordinary feature of the storm was the overturning of an entire railroad train, consisting of three baggage cars and nine heavy sleeping coaches. The locomotive and tender alone remained on the track. The through passenger train arrived at the town of Fargo at the same time as the tornado. As the roofs of the railroad machine shop and freight house were carried away, the engineer thought it safer to move out of the station, but was compelled to stop at the crossing of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St.. Paul R.R. He found great difficulty in getting started again, and was moving along very slowly, when suddenly the whole train, was turned over. The rate at which they were proceeding was so slow that none of the passengers was seriously injured, although the fright and the nervous and physical shock was very great. Had the train been running at an ordinary rate of speed the consequences would have been frightful. The train was very crowded, containing a number of ladies and children. One of the cars was a "special," and contained a number of officials of the Chicago & Northwestern R. R. Co. The accident occurred about 3 o'clock in the morning. Very little damage was done to the cars, as may be seen by scanning the trucks, none of which were wrenched from their positions. The terrible force of the wind is well shown by the lateral displacement of the track, which took place before the cars were overturned. The small view in the upper corner shows the manner in which the Plymouth Chapel, of Fargo, was lifted up and dropped some distance from its foundation.

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