Washington, DC Train Through Bridge, Oct 1903
THROUGH THE LONG BRIDGE.
TENDER AND BAGGAGE CAR GO DOWN TOGETHER.
ONE MAN IS MISSING.
ASSISTANT DRAW-TENDER BELIEVED TO HAVE LOST HIS LIFE, AND THREE TRAMPS ARE NOT ACCOUNTED FOR -- LINE NOT OPEN.
Through traffic over the CHesapeake and Ohio and Southern Railway and other lines from the South to and from Washington was interrupted yesterday by an accident to south bound Chesapeake and Ohio train No. 3 Sunday night, whereby an empty or "dead" baggage car plunged through the end of the draw near the Virginia end of the long bridge over the Potomac, connecting Washington with the Virginia shore. The engine had just gotten upon the draw when the end of it just behind the locomotive crashed in and precipitated the tender and the "dead" baggage car into the water.
Fortunately the weight of the engine on one side of the break in the bridge and that of the passenger coaches and three heavy Pullman cars on the other side withstood the wrench of the parting car and tender, and did not follow them through the break. Many alarming rumors spread abroad, but all proved to be groundless, there being no loss of life, so far as can be ascertained, and no other damage than that stated.
The worst feature of the accident is the blocking of traffic to and from the South by reason of the break in the old bridge. Passengers were transferred by trolley cars over the Aqueduct bridge and thence to a south bound train at one end and a north bound train at the other, somewhat delaying, but not seriously inconveniencing, them. The bridge was old, and a new one is building, but had not been completed. At the Chesapeake and Ohio offices in this city yesterday it was stated that the line would be open before or by night.
The following special from Washington last night indicates that traffic will be interrupted for several days, and indicates that there may have been some loss of life:
"Railroad traffic will not be resumed for some days on the Long bridge, the structure spanning the Potomac River that gave way under the weright of the Chesapeake and Ohio Limited last night, and the Southern Railway has hired the steamboat Samuel J. Pentz to transport its passengers between Washington and Alexandria.
A temporary railroad trestle will be constructed to replace the collapsed section."
"RICHARD ECKHARD, assistant draw-tender of the bridge, is missing, and is believed to have lost his life, and three or four tramps who were seen riding on the front end of the blind baggage are unaccounted for."
The Times Dispatch Richmond Virginia 1903-10-20