Nashua, NH Train Derails, Nov 1954



Nashua, N.H., Nov. 12. (AP) -- A crack Montreal-Boston express derailed, overturned and smashed into a mass of wreckage at dawn today in the Union Railroad Station yard here.
One passenger was killed, 21 others injured. It was the first fatality to a passenger on the road since 1918.
Cause of the wreck was not immediately determined.
A Boston and Maine Railroad spokesman said the train approached the station -- where it was scheduled to stop -- "at excessive speed." He said brake failure of the spreed could have caused the accident.
The train was the Red Wing, made up of eight cars and a double unit Diesel engine.
Only the foremost of the engine units and a Pullman club car at the rear end of the train remained upright.
The others overturned and demolished the tracks as they skidded to a halt.
The baggage-mail car landed on its roof. Other cars smashed into freight cars standing on a siding, wrecking two of them, and ripping through the concrete and masonry wall of an adjoining building.
The trucks under several cars tore loose and smashed through the wall of a freight shed, coming to scattered rest in the railroad yard.
Taxicabs were pressed into service to help the overworked local police ambulance carry injured to hospitals.
The dead woman was MRS. MARY BUCKLEY, 30, of Manchester, N.H.
She had boarded the train only a short time earlier at Manchester, en route to Boston to take her daughter, CATHERINE, 11, to the Children's Hospital for treatment for an undisclosed ailment.
CATHERINE was one of the first of the injured to reach the hospitals.
Her anguished cries for her missing mother gave police and railroad officials their first clue to the identity of the dead woman, whose body was pinned in the wreckage.
Several hours elapsed before railroad workmen were able to clear a path for a huge wrecker crane which lifted the wrecked coach so the body could be removed.
The train engineer, SAMUEL BURNS, 62, of Saugus, told Nashua police he applied the brakes as he approached the station, adding: "There were sparks, a swish and then everything left the rails."
ALBERT S. BAKER, assistant to the railroad president, told newsmen:
"The train came into Nashua at excessive speed. It was supposed to stop here. Exactly what the speed was we don't know -- but it was excessive, I can't go beyond that."
BAKER added: "I don't know, now, why the speed was excessive."
The railroad will conduct an investigation. New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission agents were on the scene early. An Interstate Commerce Commission board also is to conduct an inquiry.

The Oneonta Star New York 1954-11-13