Troy, NH Train Wreck, Jul 1891



Engineers and Firemen Jump for Their Lives--One Brakeman Slightly Injured--Two Locomotives and Ten Cars Smashed to Pieces--The Blockade Cleared Away Tuesday Morning.

A bad freight train wreck occurred on the Cheshire division of the Fitchburg road between six and seven o'clock Monday evening. The wreck took place near "Farrar's Crossing," just beyond the old pottery on the road from Marlboro' depot to Troy. The collision was doubtless the most violent that ever occurred on the Cheshire road, and although there was not loss of life excepting the premature killing of a dozen or two of fat hogs, the destruction of property must have been large. Old railroad men who have been on the Cheshire division for years, say they never saw a collision which showed such evidences of the terrible force with which the two trains met, and in which so many cars were ground up before the momentum of the on-coming trains was subdued. The lucky escape of employes(sic) from serious injury is a source of surprise as well and congratulation to all.

What the true cause of the accident was is not officially announced by the officers of the road, but the story of all the train men who were at the wreck seems to agree, and leaves no apparent doubt as to what took place. The trains which collided were freights Nos.14 and extra 13. No. 14 consisted of about twenty-four cars, drawn by engine 237, one of the new Cheshire moguls, the train being in charge of Engineer T. A. Bartlett of this city, and Conductor Geo. W. Tobias of Bellow Falls. This train was moving North. Extra No.13 was a heavy hog train of over twenty cars, going South, and in charge of Conductor Dexter Burbee and Engineer Michael Hickey, of Keene, and was drawn by engine No. 233. Extra 13 was following train No.13. Train 14 met the section of train 13, at Fitzwilliam, according to orders, but none of the men on No.14 saw the red signals carried by this train for the second section. They thus supposed the track was clear for them to proceed to Keene. Extra 13 had the right of road to Troy to meet No.14, and was proceeding accordingly. This train thus had the right to be where it was, but No.14 should have awaited its arrival at Troy. The failure of the men on train 14 to ovserve the red signals carried by No.13, caused the accident.

At the point where the collision occurred there are curves in the road. The train from Troy came along through a gravel cut within a few rods of the point of collision, but how much of a curve there is in the track above this cut, we do not know. The engineer of the train going East could not have seen the Westbound train until it was nearly upon him. Persons who live near by say that the two engineers whistled for brakes nearly at the same time. Engineer Hickey applied the air brake with which his train was equipped. This gave warning to the rear brakeman and Conductor Burbee, who were in the saloon car, and to the engine which was pushing. The brakes had brought this train nearly to a standstill when the collision occurred. Engineer Bartlett whistled for brakes and reversed his engine. This train was not equipped with air brakes. The engineers and firemen of both trains then jumped for their lives---and it was fortunate they did so. Conductor Tobias jumped from the top of his train and some and some of the brakemen on each train jumped also. Brakeman Fred Bolio, of Keene, was setting up a brake when the engines met. He was thrown from the cars and received a sprained ankle, a dislocated shoulder and other bruises. He was attended by Dr. Stone, who put his shoulder in place and made him comfortable, and was brought to Keene on the first train.

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