Honda, CA Shriners Train Wreck, May 1907 - Shriners Meet Death


San Luis Obispo, May 11. - Nineteen persons were killed and more than a score wounded, some of them so seriously that they will die, in a wreck that occurred at Honda station this afternoon.

Four cars of passenger train no. 21 on the S.P. Coast line, together with the engine and tender, were hurled from the track, when the rear wheels of the locomotive hit a loose switch rail. Many of those who escaped instant death in the first crash of the wreck were fearfully scalded as they lay pinned to the ground beneath the tons of wreckage.

Piled Up Cars.

Rushing at a high rate of speed over the level stretch of track near the little station of Honda, 65 miles north of Santa Barbara the huge engine suddenly leaped for the track, its rear truck torn from the frame, and dragging after it all but three of the seven cars of the train, piling then in a splintered mass alongside of the rails


Engineer Champlain was seen at his residence here tonight. He arrived in this city on a special train from the wreck and at once walked to his residence. His story of the wreck is as follows.

"We were running at ordinary speed past Honda. As we passed over the switch the engine jerked, the rear trucks taking the switch, throwing the engine on her side. It was just 2:277, as my watch was stopped. The engine plunged forward the water tank being thrown completely over the engine. The baggage car was driven over the engines, while the diner was driven under both cars and was torn to kindling.

The diner was crowded and many were scalded to death at once. I was thrown on the boiler and was forced to make my way out through steam and hot water, by which I received deep scalds on my head and arms. Fireman Lem Thompson was badly hurt and I did not see him. The train did not move six car lengths after the engine took the fatal plunge. The train was made up of baggage, diner and seven coaches. The three last coaches stayed on the track. People from these did great relief work."

Among the injured here are:

MISS AND MRS HEMMEL, Reading, Pa. (Hemmel was killed.) Miss Hemmel had a leg broken, Mrs. Hemmel shoulder dislocated.


A RAFFLE, Bemis Point, Ore, scalp wounds. Mrs. Raffle was unhurt.

H H LEE, Ogdensburg, N.Y., leg broken.

MRS SNYDER, Reading, Pa.

HOWARD HARTZELL, ex-mayor of Easton, Pa, on train, was unhurt.

The injured were taken to sanitariums her in express wagons.

There are six dead here.

Oakland Tribune, Oakland, CA 12 May 1907