Montevue, MD Trolley - Train Wreck, Aug 1912


Failure of Brakes to Hold Wheels on Wet Rails, Assigned as Cause of Smash Near Montevue


One man was injured and over five hundred gallons of milk lost this morning when the 8:30 car over the Frederick Railroad ran into a freight train near the Montevue switch.

Residents in the nearby houses saw the car and the train approaching at a good rate of speed and heard both whistles blow. Neither appeared to slow up, but the struck with a crash.

One passenger, Martin L. Wachter, was on the trolley. He was cut about the face and head but his injuries are not serious. He was brought to Frederick by Col. E. Austin Baughman, who was passing in his automobile. Dr. Franklin Buchanan Smith dressed Wachter's injuries.

Flood of Milk Loosed.

The front of the trolley car was piled up with milk cans consigned to Frederick consumers and dealers. The cans were crushed and smashed in the collision, and their contents, estimated at more than five hundred gallons, poured over the track and road.

Wet Rails the Cause.

The cause of the wreck was assigned this morning by Superintendent I. Paul Smith, of the Frederick Railroad, to wet the rails. It is usual for the train or the car to wait at the switch. This morning, however, the rails were slippery from last night's rain, and the car was unable to stop. Some witnesses say that the car was going at a lively clip and the train was slowing down. There were few people on the road at the time and accounts of the affair vary in details.

After the collision it was found that the train had plowed about five feet into the car. The engine sustained only minor damage, and the six freight cars attached were not damaged.

The trolley was car No. 27.

Wrecking crews were sent to the scene of the accident at once. Traffic was blocked for about half an hour, but at the end of that time the wreckage was cleared up.

Motorman Jumps.

Motorman Emory Biddle, of the trolley car, stuck to his post until the car was about four feet from the engine. Then he jumped. He was not injured. The conductor of the trolley was Clyde Wachter.

The shock broke every window in the car, and the trainmen narrowly missed being injured by flying glass. The seats were thrown into a pile in the forward part of the car. Mr. Wachter was saved from serious injury by running to the rear of the trolley car when he saw a collision was inevitable.

While the track was obstructed passengers were transferred around the wreckage to cars waiting on the other side.

Evening Post, Frederick, MD 29 Aug 1912