Elida, OH Train Wreck, Sept 1887

Defective Brakes

Narrow Escape From a Frightful Disaster Near Lima.

The Pullman Vestibule Train on the Fort Wayne Road Crashes Into a Mail Train While Running at a High Rate of Speed-Prompt Action of the Engineer of the Latter Prevents Fearful Loss of Life-

Lima, O., Sept. 22.-[Special.]-This morning between 3:30 and 4 o’clock another big wreck happened on the Pittsburg, Fort Wayne & Chicago road, this time at Elida, a small station about seven miles west of this city. The second section of No. 10, eastbound, composed of five cars of through mail and express, Ben Skinner, engineer, was making for a switch at Elida to allow the westbound Pullman vestibule train, limited, to pass. Just before the switch was reached Skinner discovered the headlight of the limited a short distance off, and knowing that he could not make the switch he tried to avoid a collision by reversing his engine and backing his train. Engineer William Glenn of the limited saw No. 10 and attempted to stop his train by putting on the air brakes, but they refused to work and the train sped onward at the rate of sixty miles an hour and struck No. 10 as she was retreating at the rate of six miles an hour. The engine of No. 10, No. 139, was forced into the front end of the mail car. Postal Clerks S.C. Clark, James Humphrey and R.A. Montgomery were in the car at work, but saved their lives by jumping. The engineers and firemen also escaped by jumping. Engineer Glenn, whose home is in Fort Wayne, Ind., had his shoulder broken by striking a stone. The entire front end of the mail car was demolished, and three sacks of registered letters and a large number of sacks containing other matter were destroyed. The escape from a terrible loss of life was miraculous. The Pullman vestibule train is the finest train in the world and was well filled with passengers, many of whom were bruised considerably by being thrown from their berths, but not a car left the track. The engines, Nos. 202 and 139, and the front of the mail car were completely demolished. The track was blockaded for eight or ten hours and the passenger trains sent around the wreck by way of the Chicago & Atlantic.

Plain Dealer, Cleveland, OH 23 Sept 1887