Edwardsville, IL Train Wreck, Jan 1909



Runaway Coal Cars Encountered on Curve West of Town.

The first train from Alton this morning over the Wabash-Terminal had a disastrous wreck just west of town. The train consisted of two cars, the first a combination baggage and smoker and the second a passenger coach, pulled by engine 405.

At 7 o'clock this morning the train was speeding for the Junction to make the early morning connection from Chicago. It whirled around the curve at the intersection of the Alton road near the place of Martin Drda, and crashed into four cars of coal. The front end of the engine was smashed, and the first coach [ineligible] in the air and reared across the tender of the locomotive. The first coal car was crushed by the impact and the others were driven a hundred yards down the track.

How the cars came there is a mystery, but it is supposed that they escaped from the yards south of town. It was said at the Litchfield & Madiso office this morning that one of the yard crews had probably been switching there last night, but the office force did not know whether any coal was left for transfer. At any rate the runaways traveled over the "High Line" past Woodlawn, out across the Wabash main line and then across Cahokia creek to the Alton road, where they came to rest. Today's wreck lies directly across the wagon road.

Engineer Andy Herrick, who was on the 405, was painfully hurt, but according to reports received here none of the other members of the crew were hurt, nor were the passengers more than bruised. Inquiry at the main office of the Terminal in Alton failed to develop the fact that they even knew there was a wreck.

There was only one chance of saving the train and it came too late. Martin Drda, who lives in the neighborhood, went out of the house and saw the coal cars just a moment before the passenger struck. He heard the latter coming, but before he could get to the place the crash came.

Ben Bernius, carrier on Route Six, foud[sic] the road blocked by the wreck, so he drove back to the junction and brought the accumulation of mail up town to the postoffice. Express matter remained at the Junction until noon, when it was secured by means of sleighs.

Edwardsville Intelligencer, Edwardsville, IL 13 Jan 1909