La Joya, NM Train Wreck, May 1920


Passenger Plying Between El Paso and Albuquerque Encounters Serious Accident due to High Water.


Relief Train Held Up By a Washout Just South of Belen, Delaying Its Arrival In Albuquerque.

Twenty-five were injured when Santa Fe train No. 808 struck a stretch of track undermined by the river, telescoping the baggage and smoking car and derailing a chair car at three miles below La Joya, between Belen and Socorro, at 4:30 yesterday afternoon. Passengers in the wreck stated that it was from one to two hours before doctors were brought from Socorro and another hour before a relief train came from Belen, bringing one chair car in which to rescue three cars of injured persons.

A work train left Albuquerque at 8:30 and reached Belen after 10. It was to meet the relief train at the first siding south of Belen, but was barely out of the yards when it also struck a piece of undermined track. The relief train was eventually brought to the new washout, and at 4 a. m. the passengers were unloaded and carried over the washout on what stretchers were available. No food had been supplied the injured and a short stop was made at Belen to enable those able to walk into the Harvey House to get something to eat.

The relief train finally reached Albuquerque at 6:35, fourteen hours after the wreck had occurred, and the injured were at once taken to the Presbyterian hospital in ambulances.

Passengers on the wrecked train stated that in view of the serious nature of the accident, it was nothing short of remarkable that no one was killed. The engine got safely over the undermined track, but the rails spread under the baggage car and the front end sank, telescoping the rear end into the front of the smoker. Two Mexicans who received the most serious injuries were in front of the smoking car. Few were injured in the chair car, which jumped the track. Passengers stated that the baggage and smoking cars turned over into the water and the track was being undermined so swiftly that they supposed that the entire train, with the exception of the engine, was in the water by morning.

The list of injured follows:

Jesus Malo, El Paso, Texas, scalp wound
Miguel Adame, Old Mexico, contused head wound
C. P. Sullivan, Colorado, left shoulder dislocated
F. S. Templeton, Denver, Colo., leg injured
C. A. Fidlar, El Paso, Texas, broken leg
Trinidad Adame, Old Mexico, scalp injuries
Antonio Cordoya, scalp wound and back bruised
Silberto Silva, Old Mexico, back injured
Pablo Parillo, El paso, Texas, severe head injuries. Probably concussion of the brain
Two Old Mexico Mexicans, names unknown, one has concussion of the brain and the other severe head injuries.

The tracks a mile and a half south of Belen station had sunk three feet below the level and water was flowing through at a rapid rate when the injured passengers were carried across at 4 a. m. and although ballast and rock had been thrown in, the current, was too strong to be easily curbed and it will be at a late hour this morning, perhaps, before the work train will be able to reach the scene of yesterday's wreck at La Joya. The track between Belen and Albuquerque had been threatened by currents on both sides, and in one place the water was running over the ties. Water marks along the banks showed that the river was receding, however.

Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque, NM 26 May 1920