Harper's WeeklySeptember 2, 1865
AGAIN we have to record a railroad accident, involving the
wholesale slaughter of passengers, and caused by the carelessness
of the railroad officers.
On the 14th of August the passenger train of the Housatonic
Railroad left Bridgeport about fifteen minutes after 10 o'clock,
a little behind time. An extra freight train had been sent out
in the morning. This latter train broke down, and ,was overtaken
by the passenger train about six miles from Bridgeport. The passenger
train was backed down slowly. The conductor, H. L. Plumb, went
to the rear end of the train, and, standing on the platform, saw
an engine approaching and within ten rods of the train. Palling
the bell for the engineer to stop, Plumb and the President, Mr.
Hunt, who was with him, jumped from the train, and had scarcely
got off before the collision. The car struck by the engine was
nearly annihilated. It was full, having forty or forty-five passengers
on board. The conductor went round, and went in at the front-door
of the rear car, but found the heat so intense that he could not
remain. The engine had penetrated to about the centre of the car,
and the escape of steam was so great as to suffocate and scald
many of the unfortunate passengers.
By this accident five persons were killed outright, and some
others died soon after. One of these was a little boy ten years
old, who was on his way home from a visit, having been recalled
by his mother's death. Anotheran old lady of 71had
just been visiting her son. Over twenty passengers wounded more
or less seriously. The regulations of the road in regard to the
use of red flags were not complied with, and hence the accident.
Is it not worth while to save half a score of lives by taking
the simplest precautions laid down for such case even if it does
require a little painstaking on the part of railroad officers?
15 - copyright 1879
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