Royal, IL Train Wreck, Jul 1909

Royal, IL Train Wreck, Jul 1909


Three Are Killed in Wreck Which Happened Near Danville.


Rescue Crew Sent Instantly to Scene of Disaster With Aid.

(Special to the State Journal.)
Danville, July 16. -- Three men were killed, two are known to have been seriously injured and the lives of 100 passengers were endangered early today in a collision of two passenger trains on the Chicago & Eastern Illinois railroad. The trains met head-on at Royal, Ill., a village twenty miles north of Danville.

The Dead.
W. E. Baker, engineer of No. 23, Chicago; instantly killed.
M. O. Paulson, fireman on No. 23, Chicago, body crushed.
F. H. Hollenbeck, express messenger, Chicago.

The injured:
R. Berger, engineer, Villa Grove.
Oscar Thomas, express messenger, Chicago.

Due to Open Switch.
The collision occurred at 3:05 a.m. Train No. 26, which was north-bound, had taken the siding at Royal to wait until the fast south-bound train passed. The switch was left open and the rapidly moving south-bound train crashed into the engine of No. 26 as a result.

There was a panic among the sleeping passengers on both heavy trains, as the engines were lifted into the air, and several of the cars were torn off the rails. None of them was seriously injured, however, according to meager advices received at the Chicago office of the general manager of the road.

The wreckage of the two engines is wedged together almost beyond possibility of being separated. Several cars lie across the tracks, so that traffic is at a standstill.

A wrecking train was dispatched from Danville immediately after the collision was reported. The injured men were taken to that city to be cared for by the company's surgeon.

Engineer Barker, seeing the coming crash, attempted to jump out of his cab window. His skull was fractured and his body mangled in the wreckage of the engine.

Fireman Paulson met death while seated at his post in the cab. His body was burned by the steam that escaped after the collision.

The exact extent of the injuries of the men on the north-bound train which was standing still, have not been ascertained by the railway officials.

The company officials have ordered an investigation into the responsibility for the accident. It is said that it was the duty of a member of the crew of train No. 26 to make certain that the switch closed after the train had taken the siding. This had not been done.

Daily Illinois State Journal, Springfield, IL 17 Jul 1909