Batavia, NY Train Wreck, Jan 1911



Superintendent Everett Says J. B. LYDELL, of Buffalo, Engineer of Train 23, and For 40 Years an Employe of Railroad, Ran Past Signals – Many Passengers Injured, Several of Whom May Die.

Batavia, Jan. 16 – Four persons were killed and twenty-six injured in a rear-end collision on the New York Central Railroad here last Friday. Some of the injured were terribly burned in the fire that followed the wreck, and will die.

The collision was between the Western Express and the Boston and Buffalo Special. The special was standing at the station discharging and taking on passengers when the express crashed into it, telescoping two sleepers and a passenger coach.

The engine of the express tuned over and rolled along the track for 200 feet, emptying boiling water over the passengers, who had been in the telescoped cars.

Coals from the overturned locomotive set fire to the wreckage, adding to the horror. Two of the dead were found pinned under the upset engine. The others were found in the wreckage. None of the dead has yet been identified.

Body Found Under Locomotive.
One of the unidentified dead was a young man clothed only in his pajamas. His body was removed from under the rear engine about 9:30 o'clock. There was nothing about him to establish his positive identity. On the third finger of his right hand was a gold signet-ring bearing the initials of “J.F.S.” and on the third finger of his left hand a gold band ring set with a diamond.

Another of the dead was a man about 35 years old, apparently an occupant of a sleeping car. He was smooth shaven, of light complexion, with brown hair combed straight back. On the third finger of his left hand was a gold ring engraved on the inside of which was the one word, “Engagement.” The body is at the morgue of H. E. Turner & Co.

The trains were supposed to be running about twenty minutes apart. The Buffalo Special was just getting ready to depart when the Western Express, traveling at terrific speed, crashed into the rear end.

Within a few minutes after the accident practically every hospital ambulance in Batavia was on the scene. Twelve of the injured, who were found lying along the track, were rushed to the Batavia Hospital, where it was said that a number of them were mortally hurt. Nearly every physician in the town was hurried to the scene of the wreck to render medical attention to the injured.

Many in Smoking Car Injured.
Several of the injured were riding in the smoker of the Buffalo Special which crumpled up, the wreckage piling down upon the prostrate locomotive which had been hauling the train. The force of the impact was so great that the forward cars of the special were derailed but did not turn over. All of the passengers were badly shaked [sic] up.

Railroad officials, who arrived half an hour after the accident, made an investigation, after which they declared that the signals had been set correctly. The opinion was expressed that the Western Express was running ahead of its schedule.

Arriving with the railroad officials came two wrecking trains and a special train carrying doctors and nurses. The Batavia Fire Department was summoned to the scene and extinguished the fire, which had threatened to consume the mass of debris.

The body of an unidentified man was removed to Bailey's morgue. He was attired in his night clothes, indicating that he was a passenger in the Pullman sleeper. He appeared to be about 40 years old, smooth face, six feet in height and weighed about 175 pounds.

Another body was taken to Gallagher's morgue. It was that of a man apparently between 50 and 55 years of age. He was about five feet eight inches in height, weighed about 175 pounds and had red hair and a short red mustache.

Blames the Engineer.
Superintendent Everett of the western division of the New York Central made the following statement:

“From such preliminary investigation as I have been able to make, J. B. LYDELL, of Buffalo, engineer on train No. 23, which ran into train 49, was responsible for the accident, in that he had disobeyed signals. MR. LYDELL has been in the employ of the railroad for 40 years, and has been engineman since 1888 with a perfect record.”

Underneath one of the bodies was found a silver locket and a Masonic charm inscribed, “Cassius C. Perrin, 9,581, Mecca Temple, New York.”

Lowville Journal & Republican New York 1911-01-16