Roslindale, MA Train Wreck, Mar 1897

HURLED TO THEIR DEATHS

THIRTY-ONE VICTIMS OF A RAILROAD DISASTER

BODIES CRUSHED AND MANGLED IN THE WRECK

A BRIDGE ON THE BOSTON AND PROVIDENCE ROAD COLLAPSES AND SIX CROWDED CARS PLUNGE INTO THE GAP----OVER A HUNDRED PERSONS INJURED.

BOSTON, March 14.----Again New-England has been visited with a railroad disaster, and one that has not been exceeded in horror since the terrible at Revere about 15 years ago. The 7 o'clock suburban train from Dedham this morning over the Dedham branch of the Boston and Providence Railroad fell through an iron girder bridge between Roslindale and Forest Hills station, an outlying station of Boston, and about six miles from the city proper. The train comprised nine passenger coaches, six of which, crowded with living freight, were piled in indescribable confusion in the gap below, causing an appalling loss of life and limb. Up to the present time 31 killed have been identified, and the number of injured is placed at over 100, and 70 seriously, while it is a matter of general surprise that any occupant of the crowded coaches escaped serious injury.

When the train reached the fatal bridge there were probably about 300 persons on board, evenly distributed through the cars, with all so well filled that passengers at Roslindale were unable to obtain seats in any but the rear car, which was the smoker. Approaching the "Tin Bridge," at it is called, the train was going at full speed. The engine and first two cars crossed all right, when Engineer Walter White felt a jar, and looking back was horrified to se that his train had parted and that some of his cars had disappeared. He immediately stopped his engine and found that three cars were remaining on the embankment, and the other six were in the highway below. He then sounded the whistle and attracted the attention of the people in the vicinity, who ran to the spot, among them being a police officer whose arrival was most fortunate, as he turned in a fire alarm signal, and brought quickly to the scene the fire apparatus of that section. In the overturned smoking car, in which at least 50 men were imprisoned, a slight fire from the stove showed it appearance when the chemical engine arrived, and this was speedily extinguished. With this exception there was not the least indication of fire to add horror to what was already a most serious matter.

Engineer White said that it felt to him just as if the train struck something when he first noticed the shock. A bolt had given way in the span, and in the roadway under the bridge, in the space of 150 feet between abutment and abutment, there were in an instant piled up the debris of six cars interwoven almost inextricably with the trusses and girders of the iron bridge, and within and among which the passengers were held fast or writhing in distress, some of them crushed almost beyond the semblance of human shape, and one or two of them beheaded.

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