NY Train Wreck
August 4, 1899
WRECKED ON THE ERIE.
Freight Ran Into a Landslide and Passenger Train
ACCIDENT DUE TO A CLOUDBURST.
The Engineer and Fireman Killed and Many Injured
– Passengers Hurled Down a Thirty-Foot
Embankment – Fire Added a New Peril – Thieves
From Port Jervis Loot Baggage and Clothing.
PORT JERVIS, N. Y. (Special). -- The Erie
passenger vestibuled train No. 7, for Buffalo
and Cleveland, leaving Jersey City at 7:30
o'clock, was wrecked and burned two miles east
of Lackawaxen, only two cars escaping the
flames. The train consisted of a mail car,
express car, cafe car, and three Pullman cars.
The wreck occurred during a storm which caused a
landslide. An east-bound Erie freight train was
first wrecked, and the passenger train plunged
into the freight wreck. The engineer and fireman
of the passenger train were killed, and fifteen
passengers and a number of the crew of both
trains were injured. The killed are STEPHEN
OATWATER, engineer, and FRANK SELLS, fireman,
both of Port Jervis.
The wreck, which occurred shortly before
midnight, was preceded by a cloudburst and storm
which lasted two hours. A section of the bank
fell on the east-bound tracks directly in front
of the freight train. Several trees went down
with the rocks and the earth, and the freight
cars and engine were turned over directly across
the west-bound tracks of the Erie Road. Sixty
freight cars constituted the train, though only
twenty-two were derailed, and the debris was
piled up on the westbound tracks just as the No.
7 Buffalo and Cleveland express put in an
appearance, running at the rate of fifty miles
and hour. The engine of the express train
crashed into the wreck, and the baggage and mail
car, combination and buffet car, and two Pullman
sleepers were piled up on the tracks immediately
in front of the wrecked freight cars. The first
sleeper was split into two parts as a result of
the accident, and the passengers were thrown
thirty feet down a bank. Fire at once broke out
and four cars of No. 7 and nine of the freight
cars were burned.
Baggage Master BECKER, who found himself
under the baggage car door, recovered
consciousness to discover that he was alone in
the heart of the wrecked passenger cars. He
managed to crawl from his position only to find
a blaze starting in front of him, while half of
a car was somehow braced up immediately over
him. He called for assistance, but there was no
response. Then he saw the passengers who had
been hurled down the thirty-foot embankment,
endeavoring to extricate themselves from the
debris and make their was up the bank. They were
clad only in their night clothing, and many of
them were bleeding and moaning.
At once the uninjured passengers and members
of the crew began a systematic work of rescue.
Blankets were brought in from the Pullman cars
and wrapped around shivering, hysterical woman
and half conscious men. Word was telegraphed to
Port Jervis, a relief train was at once arranged
for, and Dr. Cuddeback, Dr. Swartout, Dr.
Johnson and several trained nurses returned for
the purpose of caring for those needing
immediate assistance. The relief train soon
reached the scene of the accident, and nearly
all of the injured persons were removed to the
Several thieves from Port Jervis, who, it is
supposed, reached the scene of the wreck on the
relief train, ransacked the clothes of the
passengers during the period of excitement. F.
VIEU, of New York, lost clothing containing $800
in bills and a gold watch. F. S. KILPATRICK, of
Denver, lost $100, a gold watch, a diamond pin
and a diamond stud. On the way to the hospital
he noticed a man wearing his trousers. Together
they went through the pockets, but found the
money gone. The man said the trousers had been
given him by one of the trainmen, but claimed
that the money and valuables must have been
taken before he received the present of the
The Cranbury Press New Jersey 1899-08-04
Submitted & transcribed by Stu
Beitler Thank you,
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