Wayland, NY Passenger Train Collision, Aug 1943
INVESTIGATION OPENS TODAY INTO CAUSE OF RAILROAD WRECK.
Wayland (AP) -- Twenty-two of the 27 persons who lost their lives in the wreck of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western's Lackawanna Limited were identified last night.
Railroad and local officials continued trying to identify the others, many of whom were scalded almost beyond recognition in the crash of the passenger train, carrying 500 passengers on a New York-Buffalo run, with a switch engine near the Wayland station at 5:45 p. m. Monday.
Fifty-six of the 150 injured were hospitalized.
HAMPTON BAUMGARDNER, public relations representative for the railroad, announced last night that the company had sent five or six groups of relatives of unaccounted for passengers to the scene to assist in identifying the dead. He said their train left Hoboken, N. J., at 7:40 p. m., Eastern War Time, last night, and was due in Wayland at 2 a. m. today. Meanwhile the State Public Service Commission and the Interstate Commerce Commission launched an investigation into the accident, one of the worst catastrophes in American railroading. The railroad announced it would open its own inquiry today.
With the front end of the switch engine sheared off and its driving cylinder smashed, the engine came to rest alongside one coach of the Limited and steam, pouring from the broken cylinder, swirled through the coach.
The trapped victims crouched on and under seats as they tried to avoid the steam. Some escaped through windows, smashed by rocks from the outside or kicked through from the inside.
Officials at the Lackawanna office in New York said the cause of the accident was known but "the reason for the local freight engine pulling out to foul the main track is not known."
The railroad described the accident as follows:
"The way freight train had been cleared off the main track to await passenger train No. 3, and the crew of the way freight proceeded to do its switching."
"With the main track switch closed, the engine of the way freight for some reason was moved ahead too far, and fouled the main track right in the face of train No. 3.
"Both automatic wayside signals and cab signals are in use on this territory. An automatic wayside signal about 1,500 feet east of the was in a working condition."
"The reason for the way freight engine pulling out to foul the main track is not yet known."
A. T. DRISCOLL, veteran engineer of the Lackawanna line, who was in charge of the freight train, said he understood he had sufficient time to switch before the arrival of the passenger train, which was late. But it had made up so much time it arrived sooner than DRISCOLL expected.
DRISCOLL, who resides in Elmira, N. Y., received shoulder and head injuries and was resting at the Y. M. C. A. at Groveland, N. Y., about 14 miles from the scene of the accident.
JAMES E. LEROY, of Buffalo, engineer of the Limited, said his train was speeding through Wayland when he saw the freight locomotive pull out on the main line ahead. He applied the emergency brakes but his train was going too fast to avert a collision and the locomotives crashed at the switch.
Nineteen of the 27 bodies were removed from the fifth coach which remained on the rails long enough to run up alongside the shattered freight locomotive and stop.
More than 300 feet of track was torn up, but repair men expected to have the line cleared yesterday. Passenger traffic was being rerouted over the Erie line and freight over the Lehigh Railroad.
IDENTIFIED DEAD IN RAIL WRECK
Wayland (AP) -- The tentative list of dead and injured in the Wayland train wreck.
FRED H. MEINCKE, Scranton, Pa., supervisor of locomotive operations for the D. L. & W. system.
CATHERINE ELLIOTT, 21, New York.
MRS. HELEN FOSTER, Binghamton, N. Y.
CLAYTON ROLOSON, 53, Bath, N. Y., employed at the Mercury Aircraft Corp., Hammondsport, N. Y.
MARGARET GRAMBACH, Cleveland, O.
ANNA HEYMAN, Brooklyn.
HENRIETTA SMITH, 23, Brooklyn.
MILDRED COHEN, Jersey City, N. J.
DOROTHY MIDDLETON, 32, Buffalo, N. Y.
ANNE CHELKO, 22, Cleveland, O.
MRS. MAVIS KING, Williamsville, N. Y.
MARGARET SAUTTER, 28, of East Orange, N. J.
MRS. FRANCES RIPLEY, 65, Painted Post, N. Y.
MISS HELEN PFAFF, 16, Ridgewood, N. Y.
WILLIAM CLAYTON DAVIE, 74, Granton, N. Y.
MRS. MARION ELIZABETH ANDREWS, 38, of Nichols, N. Y., and her daughter, BETTY, nine.
MISS MARGARET FLEGG, Brooklyn.
MISS AGNES HODGE, New York City.
MISS MARGARET KONECSNY, 36, New York City.
MRS. MARY EYNON, 84, Cleveland, O.
MARY ANN GAUMBACH, 5, Cleveland O.
Injured (partial listing)
DORIS KUGLER, 19, Bronx.
EDITH SCHEMALLEK, 18, Staten Island.
JULIA RICHMAN, 18, Staten Island.
ALICE RAFF, 27, Bronx.
JEANNE RANKINE, 27, Rahway, N. J.
MRS. ANNA PFAFF, 50, mother of MISS PFAFF.
IDA ROSEN, 22, Bronx.
AGNES HODGE, 30, Bronx.
The Troy Record New York 1943-09-01