Boston, MA Terrible Train Wreck At Bussey Bridge, Mar 1887

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Details of the Train Wreck at Bussey Bridge.


Young Working Girls Dashed to Terrible Death.

The Wonder is Than Anybody Was Left Alive -- Six Cars Down Upon Each Other in a Shapeless Heap -- Descriptions of Suffering and Rescue Which Make the Blood Run Cold in the Boldest.

Boston, March 15 -- The recent terrible disaster at the White River bridge, on the Central Vermont railroad, was paralleled, and, with the exception of the fire feature, almost exactly duplicated at Bussey bridge yesterday, on the Dedham branch of the Boston and Providence railroad. At White river four cars were thrown from the track upon a bridge seventy feet above a river, and went down with the bridge, resulting in the death of thirty-two people and the injury of nearly forty more. At Bussey bridge six cars were thrown from the track upon a dry bridge forty feet above the highway, and, with the bridge, crashed down into the street, resulting in the death, according to latest reports, of thirty-two people, and the wounding of from forty to sixty more. At White river the engine and two cars passed safely over the bridge and their occupants escaped as by miracle. At Bussey bridge the engine and three cars passed safely over and their human freight escaped with only a jar.
The scene of this awful calamity is seven miles southwest from Beacon Hill. Between the Forest Hills and Roslindale stations, on the Dedham branch, South street makes a graceful curve, and passes under the railroad, which also curves at that point. The bridge crossed over the highway diagonally, at a height of forty feet, and was 150 feet long. The workingmen's train, consisting of an engine, eight passenger coaches and a smoking car, left Dedham for Boston. WEBSTER WHITE was the engineer. Conductor WEBSTER N. DRAKE, of Dedham, was in charge of the train, and was assisted by Conductors MYRON W. TILDEN, of Dedham, and MR. STUBBS. Immediately behind the locomotive was a passenger car, following next seven other ordinary day cars, most of them of the old fashioned type, two at least with cast iron stoves in the middle of the car, and the rear was brought up by the smoking car -- nine cars in all. Stops were made at Spring street, West Roxbury, Higlands, Central and Roslindale stations, and on leaving the last station about 800 people were on board, mostly workingmen and women, shop and store girls, with lunch bags in hand and chatting and laughing merrily, and a few business men.
At 7:15 o'clock the train rounded the curve and passed upon the bridge. The engine had just crossed the last abutment when Engineer WHITE felt a jar, as if the train had struck something. Glancing backward he saw and heard, as did the engineer of that fated Central Vermont train, the rear cars and the bridge falling with a crash into the abyss below.

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Bussey Bridge

My gg grandfather was also in the accident. There are a couple of interviews with him while still on the scene. He was injured but was fortunate to be in one of the back cars and found a way out. I would love to share what I have and see what info you have compiled as well!

-Bonnie Richardson

Waldo Lailer

Mr. Harlow
I am currently researching the Bussey Bridge accident for a future publication and am interested in any information you might have on Waldo Lailer. I would be more than happy to provide you with the information i have already obtained on him.
Any information you would be willing to give me would be greatly appreciated.
Jeremy Fraine

My Gr. Grandfather died in the wreck

Thank you for the newspaper coverage of the Bussey Bridge Train Wreck. My Grandmother's father Waldo Booth Lailer, a policeman at the time, evidently on his way to work, died in the wreck. I have a picture taken at the scene which has been handed down in the family it is about an 8x10 and mounted on a card. My Grandmother, Harriet Louisa Lailer and her brother William Fessenden Lailer (Uncle Bill) were young children at the time and I have a picture of them together as well. Waldo was from Maine, and he and some brothers, Orlando Lailer was one, moved to the Boston area to join the police department.
David Wood Harlow
Wagoner, Oklahoma