New York City, NY Train Accident On Harlem Railroad, Mar 1852


Another of the collisions, which are so prevalent, took place on the Harlem Railroad, on Wednesday evening, the particulars of which we give below, as accurately as could be obtained by our reporters.
The collision took place at 6 1/2 o'clock, on the evening in question, on this road about one mile beyond the station at Williams' Bridge, which it if feared will result in the loss of several lives. The up train that left here at 5 o'clock, was ahead of time some twelve minutes, and soon after passing the above named station, the Dover Plains passenger down train came along at full speed, and before the engineers could reverse the machinery, both trains dashed together, smashing the locomotives and tenders, and greatly damaging some of the passenger cars. The engineers and firemen had their limbs crushed and mangled in a shocking manner, and one or two of the passengers were also dangerously injured.
The up train, bound for Croton Falls, was under the management of MR. JENNINGS, who is charged with culpable carelessness in allowing his train to run ahead of the stipulated time, as laid down in the printed rules and regulations furnished by the Company to each of their conductors, who are always instructed to obey, these orders under any circumstances whatever. Thus the train that was in advance of its running time arrived opposite the "iron bridge," (a curve); the passenger train from Dover Plains came down at full speed, and although it was observed by the engineer, he could not check the speec of his train, and they came together with a tremendous crash. The force of the collision was, however, somewhat broken by the praiseworthy act of the brakeman on the up train, who heard the whistle sounded, instantly let go the breaks and leaped off. Therefore, when the trains struck the up train was driven back some distance, and a fearful loss of life thereby saved, which would have inevitably occurred had the trains met while under so rapid headway, with the breaks screwed up. As before started, the locomotive -- "Thomas Rogers" and "Chatham" -- were literally torn to pieces, and the tenders, milk cars, and baggage cars, were jammed to pieces and heaped upon each other. At the time of the disaster, the passengers were thrown from their seats, and several of them received slight contusions, spraining of their limbs, and other injures internally. Annexed we give a list of the engineers, firemen and other officers of each train, who were severely injured.
JOHN SPENCE, baggage master of the down train, was thrown among the mass of ruins, had his skull badly smashed, and his arms and legs mangled in the most shocking manner. He was not expected to recover. MR. SHARPE, conductor of the Dover Plains train, received a mortal injury to the spine of his back, and probably did not survive the night. EDWARD FATHERLAND, engineer of the Croton Falls train, was jammed between the engines, and, strange to say, was not instanty killed. His arms, legs, and various parts of his body, were terribly injured, and he was extricated in a state of insensibility. WM. SPENCE, firemen of the Dover Plains train, had his thigh broken, and his head badly cut in several places, but will probably recover. A passenger, named STEPHENS, was thrown from the platform of the down train, among a pile of stones, and had a most miraculous escape.
The injured persons were all brought to the city yesterday morning, and place under the treatment of surgeons, who rendered every assistance to alleviate their sufferings, and they were all doing well up to a late hour last evening.
MR. JENNINGS, the conductor, who permitted his train to run out of time, was dismissed in the month of February from the road, for the same negligence, and afterwards employed again. His acts in this case will be thoroughly investigated.

The New York Times New York 1852-03-19