Columbia Falls, MT Train Wreck, Jan 1906

Three Trainhands Die in Montana Smashup.

St. Paul, Minn., Jan. 31.-Great Northern limited No. 1, west bound and passenger train No. 2, east bound, collided head-on one mile west of Columbia Falls, Mont. Two firemen and one express messenger are dead. None of the passengers was injured. It is said the wreck was caused by running past the station without orders.

Iowa City Daily Press, Iowa City, IA 31 Jan 1906

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RAILROADS

NO ONE WAS TO BLAME

CORONER'S JURY DID NOT FIX THE BLAME FOR THE GREAT NORTHERN COLLISION AT COLUMBIA FALLS.

At Kalispell considerable evidence was introduced at a coroner's inquest called for the purpose of fixing the blame for the Great Northern collision at Columbia Falls, when Trains 3 and 2 came together. The verdict of the jury was that the evidence did not warrant them in charging the blame to any particular one.

The bodies of Messenger WURTZACHER and Fireman HANSEN were shipped to Iowa for burial. Fireman WILLIAM KANGLEY was buried at Kalispell and Conductor QUINN was buried at Havre.

A statement was made to a county official at Whitefish, which was not introduced as evidence because both QUINN and BARDEN were in such a miserable condition that the effect upon them was feared. The statement made by this responsible witness was that while Barden was at his engine oiling up preparatory for the start, Conductor QUINN approached and handed him the orders and both being in a hurry did not read them or compare them. QUINN hurried away and BARDEN having his oil can in one hand shoved the tissue paper message into a pocket of his overalls. Completed his inspection of the machine and jumped into the cab at the call of all aboard. QUINN did not read the message to his head brakeman; so the brakeman claims, and it is probable that BARDEN was equally forgetful as his fireman would never have allowed him to pass the meeting point. QUINN first thought of the orders when his brakeman said they had passed Half Moon and probably BARDEN's recollection came when the conductor pulled the cord. He threw on the air and released the emergency brakes but was half a minute too late to avoid a catastrophe.

Grand Forks Daily Herald, Grand Forks, ND 7 Feb 1906