Sayre, PA Train Accident, July 1907

Engineer Was Asleep in Cab.

Serious Wreck Occurred in Sayre Yards, the Engineer Being in a Precarious Condition.

Early Sunday morning a serious wreck occurred in Sayre yard, of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. A freight running at a rate of between 30 and 40 miles per hour struck another freight train that was standing on the "leader" track, causing a wreck that blocked the tracks throughout Sunday.

The accident occurred at 3:15 a.m. Engineer Orin Hudson, of Sayre, was in charge of locomotive No. 1,668, which was drawing 15 freight cars. The engineer was asleep when the collision occurred. He was seriously burned and otherwise injured, and lies in a precarious condition in the Sayre hospital.

Two railroad men were it he caboose of the freight train that was standing on the "leader" in the yard. They saw the oncoming train and realized that it was not under control. They climbed to an embankment at the side of the track, and one of them threw his lantern at the window of the cab of the oncoming engine, fearing that the engineer was asleep. A moment later the crash occurred.

The caboose was completely telescoped, and the locomotive continued its mad dash through the next freight car, which was loaded with bags of cement. The engine finally fell over on one side. Daniel Markham was the fireman of the wrecked locomotive. He was coaling up the fire at the time. The firebox door being open, a mass of live coats were thrown out when the collision occurred, and the wreckage was set on fire. Markham was thrown into the air and landed on a track ten feet away, escaping with painful bruises. His escape from death was nothing short of miraculous.

Clarence Moore, a brakeman, was in the left side of the cab when the collision occurred, and was able to crawl out of the cab immediately after the engine settled on the opposite side. He was not seriously injured. Engineer Hudson was under the engine, he being on the side of the cab that struck the ground. When help reached him he asked, "Where am I?" Hudson was fastened in the wreckage and the flames were rapidly approaching him until city firemen reached the scene and extinguished the fire. As quickly as possible the wreckage was cleared away and the engineer released and hurried to the hospital.

The locomotive was so badly wrecked as to be almost useless. The caboose was smashed into kindling wood and several freight cars were badly broken. Two cars just behind the wrecked engine were filled with slate, which scattered in all directions when the crash came.

The Sayre wrecking crew was working some distance up the line from Sayre, and there was a delay in getting back to the yard. After it did reach the scene of the wreck, the foreman decided that assistance was needed and the Coxton wrecking crew, with its mammoth steam crane, was hurried to Sayre. By 2:30 o'clock Sunday afternoon the big locomotive had been replaced on the track, and by seven o'clock in the evening the other wreckage had been cleared away.

-- Pittston Gazette (Pittston, Pennsylvania), 30 Jul 1907 (Tuesday), Page 1. Found at


28 July 1907

Since the article above was published on July 30, a Tuesday, the actual accident happened on July 28 (Sunday).