Manchester, CT Engine Boiler Explodes, Mar 1888



Hartford, Conn., March 28. -- There was a bad accident on the New York and New England Railroad near Manchester at 8 o'clock this morning by which the engineer and fireman of a passenger train were killed. The train was an accommodation between Willimantic and Hartford. The crew was composed of CHARLES A. GRANT, conductor; JAMES E. KELSO, engineer, and THOMAS BOYLE, fireman. It left Manchester with three cars loaded with commuters bound for Hartford. Half a mile west of the station is a high railroad bridge over the Hockanum River. As the train approached the bridge the engineer shut off steam to slow up, when, without warning, the boiler burst. The force of the shock was terrific. The locomotive was shattered and the tender thrown from the track. The momentum of the train was sufficient to push the wrecked engine 200 feet. The front platform of the baggage car was demolished, but beyond that no serious damage was done to the train. With the explosion came a cloud of steam, which enveloped the train. The passengers knew they were near the bridge, and when the cars left the rails they were panic-stricken, fearing they were about to plunge into the river. When the train came to a standstill they found Engineer KELSO near his locomotive unconscious and badly scalded, and Fireman BOYLE a few rods back, dead, with a fractured skull. A physician on the train attended the injured engineer, and found the ribs on his right side crushed. He died soon afterward. He was unmarried and lived in Willimantic. THOMAS BOYLE, the fireman, lived in Hartford, and leaves a widow and three children. The engine had been condemned, and this was the last day it was to run. Had the explosion occurred half a minute later the train would have reached the bridge, and would have been thrown off with frightful results.

The New York Times New York 1888-03-29