Rosenbaurs Corners, NY Train Wreck, Apr 1899


Three Dead, and a Number Likely to Die from Their Injuries.


The Train Was Going at Full Speed, and the First Car Jumped the Track at Rosenbaur's Corners.

ROCHESTER, April 30.---Two persons were killed and over fifty, of whom a number are likely to die, were injured in a railroad wreck at Rosenbaur's Corners this afternoon. An excursion train, crowded with passengers, on the Rochester and Lake Ontario Railroad, better known as the Bay Railroad, left the track as it was going round a curve at full speed, and two cars were completely wrecked.

The train, which was crowded with excursionists bound for different points along the shores of Lake Ontario in the Irondoquoit Bay District, left the Bay Station in this city at 2:41 o'clock, about fifteen minutes late. Every seat in the coaches was filled and a large number of people were standing on the platforms. The train was made up of an engine, one closed coach , and two open coaches. There is a grade about 100 yards from the corner of North Avenue and Ridge Road, and when this was reached the speed of the train increased perceptibly. Those standing on the platforms clutched the railing and standards, and the passengers in the open cars clung to their hats and caps.

The speed of the train increased almost constantly as it swept down the grade. When the far curve was reached the engine rounded it with starling rapidity. Next to the engine was the closed carriage, divided into two compartments, and when it reached the curve it veered over to the north and rode on the left-side wheels. It had gone round part of the bend in the track when it left the rails and shot straight ahead. There was a sudden crash, as the couplings between the engine and coach was severed, and then it again veered over and plowed through the earth for several feet before dropping on its side in front of the Ridge Road Hotel.

When the first coach left the track the engine sped on down the line. The second car had been drawn off the track by the first coach, and, being tossed to one side, poised in the air as though it were going to follow the other and topple over in the road. But the next instant it struck one of the trucks of the coach already derailed, and the car was thrown back on the track, where it came to a standstill. The engine whirled on down the track, and was not stopped until it had gone nearly a mile.

The closed coach, which was overturned, had in it a partition that divided the front part from the rear. In the front was a smoking compartment, in which were several men, and standing in the entrance were two women and a little girl. These were thrown into a jumbled mass over against the roof of the car, and were pinioned under the seats and the partition of the car, which was torn to splinters.

The scene which followed was a terrible one, the moans and shrieks of the injured filling the air. John Helberg had been standing on the platform between the second and third cars when the crash came, and was caught between the two cars and crushed to death. his body was removed with great difficulty, and taken to the morgue.

When The Associated Press representative reched[sic] the spot a few minutes after the accident, some of the maimed and injured were lying about on the grass crying for help, while railroad men and others were working hard to remove the sufferers from the wreck. Little Emma Teufel was among the first of the wounded taken from the train. She was crying piteously, and said she was sure both her father and mother had been killed. George Brasser, who sustained a compound fracture of the forearm, was found pinned under a heavy beam, and was removed with considerable difficulty. The work of rescue was energetically carried on, and as soon as each sufferer was taken out he was sent to the hospital. Ambulances had been summoned from the city, and although it was a long run, remarkably quick time was made. The ambulances carried extra doctors, so that the wounded were attended to without delay, and the more seriously hurt were hastily removed to the several different hospitals.

Adam Zimmer was the engineer of the train. He stated that the practically lost control of the engine when it struck the grade, and as the air brakes did not work, owing to a leaky valve, he whistled for brakes. But there was such a crowd on the train that the trainmen were unable to reach the brakes before the curve was reached. When the extent of the fatality was learned there were threats of lynching, and the engineer was warned to keep out of the way. He kept away from the crowd for some time, but no effort was made to find him.

The following is the list of the dead and most seriously injured:


HELBERG, JOHN; died at Homeopathic Hospital.

UNKNOWN MAN; died after being removed from the wreck.


BIERSHALL, JOHN; compound fractured of leg.

BRASSER, GEORGE; compound fracture of foreman.




GOODMAN, WILLIAM; severe scalp wound.

HAHNKE, OTTO; legs bruised, bones of hand broken.


LOMBARD, JAMES; injured internally.


SCHRAM, EMIL; bones of foot broken.

SULLIVAN, JOHN; collarbone fractured.

STEINGRABER, EMIL; back injured.

TEUFEL, EMMA; nose broken, face lacerated.

TIERNEY, J; taken to City Hospital.

WERNER, CHARLES; likely to die.

ZIMMER, JOSEPH; probably fatally hurt.

Many others were less seriously injured, whole a number received slight wounds and went to their home without leaving their names.

The New York Times, New York, NY 1 May 1899