Gray's Ferry, PA Train Collision, Dec 1900


Bad Crash Due to a Derailed Freight Car at Gray's Ferry.

Eighteen Were Badly Injured.

Peculiar Accident Occurs on the Pennsylvania Railroad -- Medical Aid Quickly Summoned -- Collision Happened Just Outside of Philadelphia -- Passenger Coach Telescoped -- Side Torn Away of Several Others

Philadelphia, Pa. (Special) -- Eighteen men and women were badly injured, two perhaps mortally, in a wreck on the Pennsylvania Railroad just south of Gray's Ferry, caused by a freight car of one train jumping the track just as the Washington and New York fast express train was passing and badly damaging seven of the Pullman and passenger coaches.
The train struck the derailed freight cars with considerable force. Hardly two minutes elapsed after the wreck had occurred before ambulances and patrol wagons were dashing through the streets to the scene. The express which left Washington at 11 o'clock, carried a baggage car in the lead and four Pullmans and five passenger cars. The smoker was the first of the passenger coaches.
The train left Chester at 1:56 p. m., and was near the tunnel at Gray's Ferry, about a mile and a half from the city proper, and was running at a slightly reduced speed, when a freight train going south jumped the track, a wheel on the rear box car of the freight having broken. The box car diverted from the rails, ran slanting across the roadbed and struck the right hand side of the smoker of the passenger train which was just then abreast of the freight.
The rear of the box-car hitting the side of the smoker well forward wiped away the solid timbers as though they were so much paint. The whole wall of the passenger coach was torn off leaving only the seats many of which were rent and broken. The resistance afforded by the smoker deflected the end of the destructive box-car, so that it merely slid along the side of the second passenger coach until in reached the rear end.
The third passenger coach, every seat of which was occupied, was telescoped. The box-car by the force of the collision, was raised high in the air, and its base plowed along the roof of the passenger coach, tearing it into splinters for a distance of 15 or 20 feet. When this point was reached the gas-tank burst, and a great volume of gas burst through the passenger coach just as the trains stopped and the box-car fell upon the heads of two dozen people in the six forward seats. In less than an hour all the injured had been cared for, and in 15 minutes more the tracks were clear and traffic was resumed. A new train was made up, and, after the injured had received attention, the express proceeded to its destination.

Chateaugay Record New York 1900-12-14

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