Belleville, IL Train Roadbed Collapses, Dec 1956

TRAIN PLUNGES DOWN 20-FOOT EMBANKMENT.

TRAIN BOUND FROM ST. LOUIS TO NEW ORLEANS, CRAWLING THROUGH FOGGY, MISTY NIGHT; TWO TRAINMEN AMONG THOSE INJURED.

Belleville, Ill., (AP) -- An Illinois Central passenger train plunged 20-feet down a muddy embankment early today when its rain-weakened roadbed gave way. Two passengers were injured fatally and 18 others were hospitalized.
One of the dead was MRS. ORSON COVELL, North Platte, Neb., on her way with her husband to Jackson, Miss., to spend the Christmas holidays with their son, Richard, and his family. The other was HENRY HUDSON, 67, a farmer from Groverdale, Miss.
The train, bound from St. Louis to New Orleans, was crawling through, a foggy, misty night toward Belleville, just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis.
A shifting roadbed, weakened by recent rains, was blamed by authorities for the derailment which occurred just after midnight.
The 18 injured were taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital and another 16 were treated and released.
MRS. COVELL died three hours after she was taken to the hospital. HUDSON'S death followed hers by a few hours.
Two trainmen were injured, O. B. CASTLEBERRY, 65, of Centralia, Illinois, the conductor, was seriously hurt, and D. L. STERNS, 34, of Carbondale, Illinois, a baggageman, also hospitalized but his injuries were not considered serious.
Two ambulances rushing to the wreck, on the edge of the Belleville city limits, collided. Three men were injured.
Two coaches and one Pullman were among the eight cars which plunged down the 20-foot embankment into mud. E. M. KOOMCE of Mound City, Illinois, a flagman, who was standing on the rear platform talking to a porter at the time, said the train was traveling slowly because it was going over a recently repaired section of track. He estimated the speed at about 10 miles an hour.

Fort Pierce News Tribune Florida 1956-12-21