Chatham Four Corners, MA Train Blown Off Track, Nov 1855



One of the most singular catastrophes of which we have heard for some time, occurred last night, near Boston Corners, on the Harlem railroad. The Albany express train, consisting of engine, tender, a baggage car and three passenger cars, left Chatham Four Corners at half past 5 o'clock in the afternoon, and about 7 o'clock last evening it was approaching Boston Four Corners at the usual rate, on a portion of the road elevated about 35 feet, when a sudden and violent gust of wind threw the entire train, except the engine and tender, off the track and down an embankment a distance of fifteen feet.
The scene which followed can scarcely be imagined. The cars being turned bottom up, added to the confusion, and it was some time before MR. RATHBORN, paper manufacturer, belonging to Boston Corners, and MR. GAYLOR, a brakeman, were taken out dead.
A considerable number of the passengers were severely injured. A few of them are said to belong to this city, where they did not arrive till half-past five o'clock this morning. The train was in charge of ROBERT WHITE, conductor. No blame can of course be attached to any person in this calamity.
It is remarkable that more of the passengers were not killed. -- N.Y. Com. Adv.

The following additional particulars we copy from the New York Herald.
Yesterday morning, about half past six o'clock, the express train from Albany, in the vicinity of Chatham Four Corners, with one of the most extraordinary disasters it has ever been our lot to record.
It appears the train had left Albany at 4:30, A.M., and arrived at Chatham Four Corners at 5:38, with three passenger cars, and a baggage car. After stopping at Copake, a station about thirty miles from Chatham Four Corners, the train arrived at the place known as the Taconac, or lower range of Berkshire mountains, the boundary line between Massachusetts and New York. This part of the road is very much exposed to a high wind, owing to a narrow valley between two mountains, which, when the wind is east, concentrates it and the most fearful gales are experienced on this part of the road when the wind at other places is even moderate.
During the whole of Monday night the wind was very high, and a heavy rain was falling, as the train was passing, a fearful gust came up from the valley and the doors of the baggage car were blown in, and in a moment the car was hurled off the track, and rolled down an embankment some forty feet deep. The coupling which attached it to the engine snapped in a moment, but the passenger cars were jolted off the track, and were blown by the wind after the baggage car.
The scene that followed was fearful. The cars rolled over three times, and came to the bottom of the embankment with a heavy crash. At this time of the morning it was pitch dark, the rain was falling heavily, and the groans and shrieks of the mutilated passengers were heard with dreadful distinctness above even the noise of the tempest.

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