Londonderry, NH Locomotive And Oil Truck Collision, July 1948


Londonderry, July 16 (AP) -- The flaming collision of an oil truck and a railroad locomotive claimed the life of one man yesterday and injured four trainmen.
The victim was identified by authorities as RALPH GILCHRIST, 32, of Derry, driver of the huge trailer truck.
Police said the truck burst into flames when it crashed into the train engine, hurling it into a ditch. The collision occurred at a grade crossing.
The truck was destroyed by fire along with the wooden caboose of the Boston and Maine train. The train consisted of the locomotive, tender and the caboose.
The injured, treated at Derry hospital, were:
Engineer CHARLES L. GILLESPIE, 68, of Methuen, Mass., shaken up.
Fireman ROBERT W. ALBERTSON, 23, of Rockport, Mass., cut knee.
Trainman JOHN SHAUGHNESSY, 27, of Woburn, Mass., cut elbow.
Trainman GEORGE M. GUIBORD, 29, of Salem, Mass.
The engineer and fireman jumped from the locomotive before it overturned. SHAUGHNESSY dragged GUIBORD from the caboose.
Another man was injured helping to fight the fire. ROBERT CUNNINGHAM, 26, of Methuen, Mass., suffered a broken foot when he dropped a fire hose. CUNNINGHAM was driving a car directly in back of GILCHRIST'S tanker.
Traffic created a problem for state police along the heavily-traveled Derry to Manchester highway. The crash tied up the crossing for several hours and motorists were rerouted around the area. Billowing smoke attracted hundreds to the scene.
GILCREAST was making his second trip of the day from Boston to Manchester. His cab was impaled on the left front sheels of the locomotive, but he was tossed out of the vehicle by the impact.
Medical Referee FRANCIS B. KING said GILCREAST was cremated with third degree burns over most of the body. He was burned almost beyond recognition and could not be removed from the inferno until firemen checked the flames.
The train was headed for Derry to pick up freight cars for Lawrence. Shortly before the accident, three tank cars carrying high octane gas were dropped at Grenier field in Manchester, which crewmen said prevented a greater disaster.

Portsmouth Herald New Hampshire 1948-07-16