Elmira, NY Train Wreck, Dec 1886


Victims of the Explosion of a Locomotive Boiler

A few minutes after 3 o'clock the other afternoon an engine of the Beech Creek Railroad blew up with tremendous force near Elmira, N. Y. Five men were on the engine at the time, and all were instantly killed but one.

The killed are: PHILIP KNIGHT, engineer; ALLEN RAMSEY, fireman; JAMES WARREN, engineer; and JOSEPH FIELDS, machinist. JOHN STAPLETON, machinist who was on the engine at the time, was blown about twenty feet down a bank and escaped unhurt. All the bodies were terribly mangled. At the time of the explosion the steam gauge only showed a pressure of 146 pounds, which leads to the belief that it was not working right, as it is supposed that there were 300 pounds pressure. The dome and wagon top were blown 1,500 feet, and FIELDS went with them. These pieces weighed about two tons and a half. The track for the length of three rails was torn up. Pieces of flesh and iron were found scattered all over the lot. The noise of the explosion was heard twelve miles away. All of the killed were married and had families.

The Cranbury Press New Jersey 1886-12-17