Laurel Run, PA Train Wreck, Dec 1903 - Sixty Three Dead



Disaster Near Dawson, Pa., -- The Duquesne Limited From Pittsburg to New York Crashed Into Timbers From Disabled Freight.

In a wreck as terrible as any ever known in railroad history, the Duquesne flier of the Baltimore and Ohio, from Pittsburg for New York, was hurled to utter destruction Wednesday night at Laurel Run, two miles from Dawson, its locomotive and six cars sent plunging in a tangled, rended heap over an embankment and into the Youghlogheny [sic] river.

The death list of the awful horror has reached the appalling figure of sixty-three, almost half of the 150 persons who were on the train. The number of injured is not so large.

The train left Pittsburg early in the evening, running a few minutes late, in charge of Engineer WILLIAM THORNLEY of Connellsville. When passing Laurel Run, which is a particularly fine piece of roadbed, the train was running at a high rate of speed. Suddenly the passengers were thrown from their seats by the lightning like application of the air brakes, and a moment later there was a terrific crash.
The wreck was caused by the breaking of the castings on a car load of bridge timbers on a westbound freight train which had passed Laurel Run not more than fifteen minutes before the ill-fated passenger train.

Ogdensburg Advance and St. Lawrence Weekly Democrat 1903-12-23