Eatontown, NJ Train Wreck, Jun 1906
Behind the combination car was a day coach. This did not have all the forward force of the locomotive, and it tore over the short curve of the siding, crashed into the freight car filled with vegetables, cut it almost in half, and then fell from the embankment on top of the rest of the wreck. Back of this car was a Pullman. It crashed into the rear of the smoker, which still clung as if by a thread to the ties on the edge of the embankment. It was badly shattered. Its passengers were tossed from side to side, many being thrown over the backs of the seats. An odd thing about this part of the wreck was that not a lamp globe was broken, while the window panes were smashed, and even the steel braces were bent.
The second Pullman stayed on the tracks of the siding and met with little damage.
Hackett, the fireman, was shoveling coal at the time of the wreck. The engine is of the kind known as a "hogback" by railroad men. The cab is forward of the furnace. It saddles the big boiler. This separated engineer and fireman. Hackett told a TIMES reporter that the first he knew of the wreck was when the crash came from overhead. There had been a heavy, downward lurch, and then above him there was a deafening roar. That was when the combination car landed above him.
"Parts of the steel work of the under structure of the car clattered down on me," he said, "and began to pound against my head and the back of my neck. Then I began to sink in the mud which oozed in about me. I never lost consciousness, but I never expected to get out alive. Suddenly I realized that a car had fallen on top of us, and then, through the cracks overhead I saw two men climb out of a broken window and start toward me. They dragged me out, I could never have got out by myself."
Hackett was badly cut and bruised, and so shoceked[sic] by his experience that he lost his nerve for a while. When he got it back he insisted on leaving the physicians who were at work on him and taking a trolley car for Red Bank, a few miles away, where his wife and six children were waiting for his whistle as he sped by for Jersey City.
Egbert, the engineer, had an equally fortunate escape. He was found in the cab seat on the right side of the engine. The left side was caved in and buried deep in the mud. The top of the cab was within an inch of his head, but the glass of the window at his elbow was broken, and he crawled out before the mud engulfed him.
The passengers in the combination car climbed down to the top of the locomotive and slid to safety, many of them having received cuts on the head, face and arms. Those who were not too seriously hurt went to the assistance of those caught in the wreck. Van Duzer was still alive, though dying when his body was found. The woodwork of the car was cut away about the body, but it was nearly an hour before it was released. By that time he was dead.
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