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THE HOUSATONIC RAILROAD SLAUGHTER.
Harper's Weekly—September 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. Another—an old lady of 71—had 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?

Railroad Accidents—Chapter 15 - copyright 1879


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