Girard, IL Train Wreck, Mar 1887

Down an Embankment.

A Terrible Disaster On A Southern Illinois Railroad.

Virden, Ill., March 12.-The south-bound passenger train on the Jacksonville and Southeastern Railroad, consisting of engine, baggage car, and two coaches, was thrown down an embankment near Girard last night, injuring State Senator E. Southworth so severely that he will probably die, and seriously wounding 12 or 15 other persons. The train was running at a high rate of speed alongside a train on the Chicago and Alton, it being the intention of both trains to gain the crossing at Girard. While crossing the bridge two miles north of Girard the Jacksonville and Southeastern train broke a wheel on the second coach, spreading the rail so that the rear coach followed on the ties, displacing them and tearing the trestle bridge to pieces. Efforts to stop the train by pulling the bell rope failed, and on reaching the further side, both coaches were thrown down an embankment of 15 feet, one coach being imbedded in mud and water. There were nearly 30 passengers in the two cars, and the following were reported injured: State Senator E. Southworth of Litchfield, Ill., injured internally and very seriously; A.B. Wallace, Litchfield, left side bruised, not serious; Mrs. Tifft, of Jacksonville, Ill., an aged lady and invalid, very seriously injured and not expected to live; L.M. Smith, trainmaster of Wabash Railway, Litchfield, left leg cut below the knee; G.E. Conrad, Dorchester, Ill., injured in the head; Representative Fletcher, of Fayette County, serious injuries; Senators Stephenson of Shelbyville, Higgins of Duquoin, McGrath of Mattoon, and Hadley of Edwardsville all injured slightly. A Miss Russell, of Carlinsville, was badly hurt about the feet, legs, and body.

The Chicago and Alton train stopped, backed up, and rendered great assistance to the passengers of the wrecked cars. The locomotive and baggage car of the Jacksonville and Southern train took the wounded to Litchfield, with the exception of Mrs. Tifft, who was left at Girard. Fortunately the coaches were in such a shape that those who were able to move could easily escape. Those who were hurt were injured by the seats, which were broken loose and thrown in every direction. The stoves were held in their position, and the fire which usually comes with a wreck was averted.

The New York Times, New York, NY 13 Mar 1887