Albany, NY Electric Train Wreck, May 1901


Albany, N. Y., May 27. -- Electric cars racing for a switch while running in opposite directions, at the rate of forty miles an hour, cost five lives yesterday afternoon by a terrific collision, in which over forty prominent people were injured, some fatally and others seriously.

The lobby of the local post office filled with dead and wounded, hysterical women and children looking for relatives and friends, surgeons administering temporary relief and ambulances racing through the city, taking the wounded to hospitals, were the early intimations of the accident.

The scene of the accident was at a point about two miles out of Greensbush, on the line of the Albany & Hudson railway. The point where the cars met on the single track was at a sharp curve, and so fast were both running and so sudden was the collision that the motormen never had time to put on the brakes before southbound car No. 22 had gone almost clean through north bound car No. 17, and hung on the edge of a high bluff, with its load of shrieking, maimed humanity. One motorman was pinioned up against the smashed front of the south bound car, with both legs severed, and was killed instantly, while the other one lived but a few minutes.

Fully 120 men, women and children formed a struggling, shrieking pyramid framed with blood, detached portions of human bodies and the wreckage of cars. Some of the more slightly injured of the men extricated themselves and began to pull people out of the rear ends of the two cars. Almost every one was taken out in this way, and nearly all were badly injured.

With both motormen killed it was hard to get at the real cause of the accident, but it was pretty well determined that it was caused by an attempt of the south bound car to reach a second switch instead of waiting for the north bound car at the first siding.

The cars weigh fifteen tons each and are the largest electric cars built, and so frightful was the crash that both cars were torn almost to splinters. Both cars were filled with Sunday pleasure seekers returning from the new recreation grounds that the railway had just opened.

Rifle Reveille Colorado 1901-05-31