Delair, NJ train crash, May 1943


Exceeding 15-Mile Limit Spills Engine, 7 Coaches on Curve

DELAIR, N. J., May 24 (AP). - A Pennsylvania Railroad spokesman said Monday that excessive speed caused a crack fifteen-coach Atlantic City-to-New York passenger train to lurch off the tracks on Delair's horseshoe bend Sunday night, carrying fourteen persons to their deaths and injuring eighty-nine others in the railroad's worst wreck in years.

W. C. Higginbottom, general manager of the line's eastern divisian [sic], said a preliminary investigation indicated the engineer was exceeding the fifteen-mile speed limit on the fourteen-degree curve when the locomotive shot twenty-five feet off the right of way and derailed seven coaches, all loaded with servicemen and week-end visitors to the seashore. A total of 1,281 passengers was on board.

Bodies Yet Unidentified

"Early checks show that the equipment and track were in good condition," Higginbottom said, "but definite indications are that the train was moving faster than the authorized speed limit."

Meanwhile, as the work of removing the twisted wreckage continued, the bodies of four women still remained unidentified.

Among those killed was Mrs. Orvetta Allanson, 28, Burlington, N. J., who was returning from Atlantic City after visiting her husband, Pvt. Everett Allanson. Her baby, born during the wreck, also died.

Four members of a New York family, all of whom had been guests at a wedding party in Atlantic City, also were among the dead. They were David Shapiro, his daughter, Mrs. Sadie Mell; his son, Louis, and a brother, Benjamin.

Other identified dead were C. F. Bohr, New York, conductor on the train; H. N. Becker, Trenton, N.J., the fireman,; Christian P. Horn, Trenton, and Miss Dorothy Bennett, Burlington, cousin of Mrs. Allanson.

Six of the injured are in a serious condition.

The Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 25 May 1943