Byers, CO Train Wreck, Aug 1897 - Plunged into the Abyss


A Passenger Train on the Kansas Pacific Wrecked by a Washout.


Five Passengers Said to Be Fatally Injured and Others Badly Hurt-Bombs Used on a Tenement House.

DENVER, Colo., Aug 3-The fast passenger on the Kansas Pacific railroad was wrecked about daylight this morning forty miles east of Denver. Two trainmen were killed outright, five passengers are said to be fatally injured and many others badly hurt. The killed are:

JOHN A. WARD; engineer of No. 11, Denver.

W. B. HARRINGTON, baggageman, of Kansas City.

The names of the injured passengers have not yet been learned. The wreck was caused by a washout. The heavy rains of the night flooded the streams and carried out a portion of a small bridge which spans Comanche creek between Byers and Strasburg. The train was on time and running along at the usual speed when approaching the point of the accient [sic]. Without warning the engine plunged into the abyss, followed by the mail and baggage cars, and other cars were piled about in confusion. The engine was completely under water in the middle of the stream and ENGINEER WARD was under it. Strange to say, the fireman escaped death, but he is reported to be badly hurt.

Instantly there was the greatest confusion. The fatally injured passengers were riding in the forward car. Some of the sleeping passengers in the Pullmans were thrown from their berths and more or less hurt, but none seriously. Byers, the nearest town in the wreck, was five miles away, and the conductor hastened to cover the distance on foot. He arrived there at 5 o'clock and the officials in Denver were notified of the accident by telegraph. A special wrecking train, with GENERAL MANAGER DEUEL and other railroad officials and physicians on board, started for the scene of the wreck. Meantime all possible was being done for the wounded at the wreck.

But little additional information could be obtained after the first reports, owing to the distance of the wreck from any telegraph office. ENGINEER WARD was one of the best locomotive drivers in the city. The rainstorm was general in the plains region, and it is feared that many railroad bridges have gone out. The wrecked train was due in Denver at 4:03 a. m

The injured are:

OSCAR INGRAM, fireman.
W. H. RANKIN, Denver.
J E REID, MRS. FRED NASH, Laramie, Wyo.
MRS. C. E. GRAVETT, Blue Springs, Neb.
MRS. C. L. HUBBARD, Abilene, Kas.
W. H. THORTON, Chicago.
L. E. ECKERT, Topeka, Kas.
MRS. JOHN C. TRAIRS, Augusta, Ga., arms and legs cut.


All the seriously injured were taken to St. Joseph hospital in this city.

RANKIN and REID are mail clerks. They were shot up through the roof of the mail car, which was split asunder when the crash came, and cut and bleeding made their way to the bank.

L. E. ECKERT of Topeka was in the chair car asleep when the accident occurred. When the car plunged headlong into the creek he was throw (sic) into an upright position and from this down onto his face in the aisle. His chair was thrown forward against the chair in front pinning the arm of MISS EDELMON between the two. MR. ECKERT says that a crowbar had to be used to separate the two seat far enough to enable the woman to extricate her arm. She was in the water up to her neck. As soon as she was removed from her perilous position under the water, all of the passengers were taken out through the upper door and laded safely on the ground.

DR. E. C. GODDARD of Leavenworth who is a brother of JUDGE GODDARD of this city, temporarily dressed the wounds of all the injured, although he was himself badly hurt.

SUPERINTENDENT DELIN says the cause of the accident was the washing away of forty feet of the bridge over the creek near Strassburg.

The Nebraska State Journal, Lincoln, NE 4 Aug 1897